After speculation, rumors, and a plethora of Instagram leaks, Virgil Abloh x Nike “The Ten” is finally confirmed.
The collection of ten sneakers is split into two packs of five, and each silhouette ties back to Nike’s two big claims to fame – running and basketball. In the “REVEALING” pack, we find the Air Jordan I, Nike Air Max 90, Nike Air Presto, Nike Air VaporMax and Nike Blazer Mid, which will be pre-released at NikeLab locations during SS18 fashion week in New York (September 9-13), London (September 18-22), Milan (September 21-25) and Paris (September 26-30).
The supplementary “GHOSTING” pack includes a Nike Air Max 97, React Hyperdunk, Air Force 1, Zoom Vaporfly, and Chuck Taylor All-Star produced by Converse-owned Nike, available together with the “REVEALING” pack in November at NikeLab stores and select retailers worldwide.
Virgil Abloh x Nike Air Jordan 1
In a way, Virgil’s Air Jordan 1 design could be considered the flagship sneaker of the pack. Speaking with Nike about himself and his childhood friends, Virgil revealed “We were enamored with Air Jordans. Michael Jordan was larger than life — he was Superman to me. My entire design background and ethos came from the ‘90s.” Speaking on the design, Abloh went on to note “The Jordan I was done in one design session. I work in a very like dream-like state. I see it, and it’s done.”
At the 2017 Met Gala in New York City, Virgil was photographed wearing a pair of the Virgil Abloh x Air Jordan 1 in a classic Chicago colorway with contrasting neon green laces. Previously, Virgil actually teased them himself and shared the look on his personal Instagram.
The shoe features “AIR” typography 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.
Virgil Abloh x Nike Air Force 1
According to Nike, Virgil rebuilt a pair of triple-black Air Force 1 Low shoes during his first visit to the brand’s Beaverson campus. He used an X-ACTO knife markers to draw on them, then gifted the sneakers to one of his staff to wear.
“In my brain I’ve seen every iteration or color of an Air Force One. So where does that leave you?,” Virgil mentions to GQ. “I wanted to make something that stops you from mindlessly scrolling.”
Originally, a black pair of Virgil Abloh x Nike Air Force 1 started the rumor mill, when Virgil showed off a pair at fashion week, as well as on-foot images via Instagram. From what we’ve noticed on social media, others in Virgil’s circle, like Heron Preston were also 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 follows up in a timely way on ACRONYM’s Downtown version, as well as the bespoke A-COLD-WALL* edition that we spotted at LCM in London.
Virgil Abloh x Nike Air Max 90
While the Air Force 1 and Air Jordan 1 align more with what we know about Virgil’s personal sneaker tastes, a Virgil Abloh 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.
Virgil Abloh x Nike Air Presto
Given the runaway success of last year’s Air Presto collaboration between Nike and ACRONYM, it seems 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,” originally leading to speculation that Abloh did in fact have 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.
Virgil Abloh x Nike Air VaporMax
As the VaporMax is Nike’s big technology story of 2017, and many are describing it as a rival to the adidas Ultra Boost, it’s no surprise to see this pair as part of “The Ten,” alongside two other silhouettes from the Air max range.
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.
Virgil Abloh x Nike Blazer Mid
For the OFF-WHITE Blazer Mid, Nike’s Swoosh logo is once again exaggerated, extending onto the shoe’s midsole. Speaking with Business of Fashion, Abloh explained “That shoe exemplifies making a product interesting by only changing a design element by three percent. The swoosh logo of that shoe overlaps the sole without it detracting away from the iconography, which makes it more interesting and wearable.
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.
Virgil Abloh x Nike Air Max 97
Rewind 20 years prior to the release of Nike’s Air VaporMax and Zoom Vaporfly 4%, and you’d be in 1997, the year the Air Max 97 was introduced. The 97 has been a big initiative for Nike in 2017, as the famous “Silver Bullet” and “Metallic Gold” versions were both re-introduced for sneakerheads young and old, and even an “Ultra” version of the 97 was released, featuring a lightweight design and seamless upper.
Virgil Abloh x Nike React Hyperdunk
According to Nike, “Abloh was inspired by the cutting-edge cushioning innovations of Breaking2’s Nike Zoom Vaporfly Elite running shoe and basketball’s React Hyperdunk 2017, and decided to introduce an evolution of the reveal called “GHOSTING” using translucent uppers.”
Virgil Abloh x Nike Zoom Vaporfly SP
A personal favorite of Virgil Abloh this summer, the Nike Zoom Vaporfly silhouette was first shown as part of Nike’s Breaking2 initiative. “AIR” branding is replaced by typography reading “FOAM.” This year’s releases of the Zoom Vaporfly have included a carbon fiber plate in the sole, providing a rebound effect to improve response when running.
Virgil Abloh x Converse Chuck Taylor All-Star
Similar to how we see Nike fold in the Converse Fastbreak into a Jordan pack this year, Nike acknowledges its sub-brand Converse by including OG basketball silhouette the Chuck Taylor All-Star. With “VULCANIZED” branding on the sole, the high-top silhouette gets the OFF-WHITE treatment, complete with branded hits on the laces and an OFF-WHITE zip-tie.
Design Tutorials and Workshops
Virgil’s Nike sneakers will also come with design tutorial and workshop access via the World Wide Web. For now, this is all we have on the interesting tidbit, but you’ll of course want to stay tuned for more.
To stay updated, follow @Highsnobietysneakers on Instagram.
- Main & Featured Image: Bryan Luna / Highsnobiety.com
- Body Images: Nike