An architect turned streetwear mogul; Virgil Abloh is the man responsible for bridging the gap between luxury and street with his Off-White label. Celebrities love to rock it, and China loves to produce counterfeits of it.
In 2017, Virgil took on a project that’s probably one of his biggest yet: the Off-White x Nike “The Ten”. He dug up 10 shoes from Nike’s archives, and sought to redesign them; rebuild them from the top down, inside out.
The result was certainly a breath of fresh air, and the collection is 2017’s most hyped and talked about sneaker collaboration. This came at the right time, as Nike reportedly lost a chunk of market share to rival Adidas. Virgil’s involvement in this project will hopefully allow Nike to gain back some street cred.
But what do you know about the history behind these sneakers? This collection is so hyped that a lot of buyers probably don’t even know what kind of shoe they’re getting. They’re just in it for the cool factor.
Hey, nothing wrong in that. Fashion is all about staying on top of the newest and coolest trends. But even if you’re a hypebeast, at least try to be a knowledgeable one.
I’m here to give you a quick rundown of what each shoe is all about, so that if you’re lucky enough to get a pair and your friends ask, you can dazzle them with some historic facts.
First released in 1985, this was the shoe that forever defined the future of the sneaker culture. The first signature shoe of the great Michael Jordan, it was originally banned from the NBA because apparently, the colours didn’t comply with the uniform policy at that time.
The banned colourway was a black and red pair, aptly dubbed as “breds”. This only placed more attention on the sneaker, and now it’s one of the greatest sneakers of all time.
This shoe came out in the year 2000, and it recently made a comeback with Nike releasing a plethora of colourways for it. But none will surpass this Off-White pair.
Marketed as a “T-shirt for the foot”, the Prestos originally came in sizes of XS to XL; it didn’t comply with the traditional sizing system. It’s designed like a sock to provide maximum flexibility
The name “Presto” was also supposed to depict a magician completing a magic trick.
Legendary Nike designer, Tinker Hatfield, designed this shoe. It was initially called the Air Max III when it made its debut in 1990.
The name was then changed to Air Max 90 in year 2000 to reflect the original release year of the sneaker. The original orange or “infrared” colourway is now the quintessential Air Max 90.
A true classic, the Air Force 1 was first introduced in 1982, and it was the first basketball shoe to have Nike’s Air cushioning technology.
Designed for basketball but made for the streets, the sneaker is now a staple for sneakerheads worldwide. It is available in high, mid, or low-top, and there have been so many iterations of it, with some being able to fetch thousands of dollars on the resale market.
The shoe is also named after the United States President’s airplane. That is one heck of a name, isn’t it?
The newest sneaker in the collection, Nike’s Air Vapormax was only unveiled in 2017, packing the highest volume of Air in the sole unit of any Nike shoe.
The shoe is a perfect blend of style and functionality. It’s a celebration of the 30th anniversary of Nike’s Air Max line of sneakers, which was first released in 1987.
Way back in 1973, NBA star George Gervin wore this basketball sneaker on the hardwood. Initially designed for basketball, the shoe evolved and appealed to skateboarders for the exceptional traction and grip.
Now, the Blazer is known more as a skate shoe that collaborated with other famous brands like Comme des Garcons, Fragment, and Supreme. Talk about hype.
This running shoe made headlines when Nike challenged a group of runners to complete a marathon in under two hours. This was a whole campaign launched by Nike to market the sneaker.
The marathon took place in Italy, and one Kenyan man, Eliud Kipchoge, almost made it; he came in a little short with a timing of two hours and 25 seconds. A pity indeed, but the intention of the marathon was to sell shoes, and I guess it did just that.
When rain falls into a pond, it creates ripples. That’s the inspiration behind the design of the Air Max 97.
It debuted in a silver colourway in 1997, apparently taking cues from mountain bikes and Japanese bullet trains. It was the sneaker of choice for celebrities like the Spice Girls.
Another new kid on the block, the React Hyperdunk 2017 was released in, you guessed it, 2017. As a basketball shoe, it appeared in the 2017 NBA finals on the feet of Draymond Green.
Nike’s Hyperdunk series was massively popular back when it first released in 2008. You could’ve spotted them on the feet of virtually every NBA player. Okay, maybe that was an exaggeration, but you get the point; a lot of players were wearing them.
Probably the best player of them all was Kobe Bryant, who wore the shoe during the 2008 Olympic games. What more endorsements do you need?
If you didn’t already know, Converse is a subsidiary of Nike. The Chuck Taylor is also a shoe that everybody is familiar with. I’ve been rocking them since I was in primary school, and everyone you know probably owned a pair as well.
A true classic that has its roots in basketball, the company was founded in 1908, but only made the Chuck Taylor in 1917. Known for its canvas upper and rubber sole, the shoe has seen many significant upgrades over the years.
Nike revamped the sneaker in 2015, giving it a Lunarlon cushioning system and tweaking some materials to enhance comfort. Now, the Chuck Taylor is the go-to casual sneaker for everyone, from celebrities to common folks like us.
There you go, now you have some quick facts to drop on your friends if they ever ask about that pair of fresh Off-White x Nike sneakers on your feet.
Of course, this was just a very brief description of the 10 sneakers. Some of the shoes here have histories that go way back and they can be quite interesting, seeing as how they evolved and changed over time. Maybe this list can get you interested and you’ll want to find out more. If so, then I welcome you to the awesome world of sneakers.
Oh, and if you entered a raffle for any of these bad boys, good luck!