At this point, Virgil Abloh has certainly solidified his credentials in streetwear and fashion. Abloh is regularly covered in Vogue, and his fashion brand OFF-WHITE shows on the Parisian runway at fashion week, so a collaboration with Nike is totally within reason considering the current streetwear climate.
Although sneaker leaks abound on social media, neither Nike nor Virgil have officially confirmed that a collaboration is taking place, but we’re placing our bets that an announcement is coming sooner rather than later. From what we’ve seen, Virgil’s Nike builds favor a deconstructed approach with ironic spec sheet-style details reading “AIR” and “SHOELACE,” along with lateral stamps that show the address of Nike’s global headquarters in Beaverton, Oregon. This style of branding is identical to what we’ve seen from Virgil’s “MERCHANDISE” tour gear for Travis Scott.
Twitter account @soleheatonfeet reported that the upcoming OFF-WHITE x Nike project will comprise 10 different co-branded sneakers, and aside from the five that have already leaked, OFF-WHITE versions of the Nike Air Presto, Air Max 1 Ultra, Cortez, Air Jordan III and others will be forthcoming.
Here’s what we know so far.
Air Force 1
It would be awfully strange if the OFF-WHITE x Nike Air Force 1 didn’t release at this point, mostly because we’ve actually spotted Virgil rocking a pair at fashion week, and he shared on-foot images on Instagram. From what we’ve noticed on social media, others in Virgil’s circle, like A$AP Bari and Heron Preston have also been gifted pairs. A white version of the shoe was also spotted on the feet of LeBron James.
Additionally, it’s the 35th anniversary of the Air Force 1 this year, and an OFF-WHITE take on the iconic basketball sneaker would be a perfect follow-up on the popular VLONE version, as well as the bespoke A-COLD-WALL* edition that we spotted at LCM in London. Key details on the OFF-WHITE version include a red zap strap threaded through the top lace eyelet, and an asymmetrical “Nike Air” tag on the tongue.
Air Jordan 1
At the recent Met Gala in New York City, Virgil was photographed wearing a pair of the OFF-WHITE x Air Jordan 1 in a classic Chicago colorway with contrasting neon green laces, which might be included as an extra set. Again, we’d guess these will be releasing imminently as Virgil actually teased them himself and shared the look on his personal Instagram.
Based around previous leaks on social media, we can see the deconstructed approach continues here, with “AIR” branding on the midsole, as well as an orange hit on the heel, which seems to imitate a price sticker. The lateral Swoosh also appears to be pinned onto the upper instead of fully stitched.
During Paris Fashion Week in June, Abloh took the opportunity to seed out pairs of the Jordan 1 to influencer friends like Luka Sabbat, Theophilus London, Travis Scott, A$AP Rocky, A$AP Illz, A$AP Bari, Tremaine Emory, Ian Connor, and even Michael Jordan himself, as well as Louis Vuitton’s Kim Jones, who proudly rocked his pair after the fashion house’s SS18 show. Virgil penned individual slogans like “AIR FLACKO” and “AIR VLONE” on the midsole of each pair.
Check out more detail shots here.
The mid-top Blazer is one we know less about, but has still been shared around social media, revealing the same quoted branding as on the Air Force 1 and Air Jordan 1. Nike’s Swoosh logo is also exaggerated, extending onto the shoe’s midsole.
Virgil didn’t gift the Blazers as widely as he did with the Air Jordan 1, however certain members of his circle like Wiz Khalifa and Ian Connor did receive pairs. Connor even staged a treasure hunt of sorts, hiding a pair in a fountain in Paris for one lucky sneakerhead to discover.
A pair of the sneakers with samples tags was originally leaked by Huffington Post contributor Michael Tommasiello.
Air Max 90
While the Air Force 1 and Air Jordan 1 align more with what we know about Virgil’s personal sneaker tastes, the prospect of an OFF-WHITE x Air Max 90 comes as a bit of a surprise. The same design story continues here with Nike’s Beaverton address prominently shown on the lateral side, along with “SHOELACE” branding again.
While a set of low resolution images was first to leak, more detailed images arrived later. Virgil also gifted his DJ “mentor” Benji B with a pair, as well as RSVP Gallery buyer Easy Otabor.
This OFF-WHITE x Nike VaporMax rounds out the set of unconfirmed releases that we’ve seen so far, encompassing early basketball models and ’90s running silhouettes, leading right up to the latest example of Nike’s constant experimentation with visible air soles. This version of the VaporMax features a heel tab, chunky stitching around the Swoosh, and more of the same touches like an orange price tag detail and shipping address text.
The images above come courtesy of another Instagram leak, this time from @chickenwop_.
Given the runaway success of last year’s Air Presto collaboration between Nike and ACRONYM, it seemed only natural that Abloh, too, would fancy having a crack at the lightweight sneaker. Our first decent glimpse of the model came courtesy of A$AP Nast, before Frank Ocean wore the kicks during music festival Panorama NYC.
Alongside the usual OFF-WHITE arrow branding, we can also see a stamp which reads “The Ten,” leading to speculation that Abloh has nine other irons in the fire with Nike. The sneaker itself subscribes to the same reconstructed design methodology of those we’ve previously peeped, with Abloh again throwing in some guerilla “AWGE” and “NAST” customization tweaks for good measure.
Stay posted for more information as it arrives.