From the ground up

Virgil Abloh and Nike’s “The Ten” collaboration was the biggest sneaker release event of 2017, and Highsnobiety readers voted Abloh the most influential person of 2017, also electing his Nike Air Jordan 1 “Chicago” design as the best sneaker of 2017 in the annual Highsnobiety Crowns awards.

In an unprecedented move, “The Ten” included sneakers from Nike, as well as Nike-owned brands Converse and Jordan. Held from late October to early November 2017, the first release was 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. The supplementary “GHOSTING” pack included a Nike Air Max 97, React Hyperdunk, Air Force 1, Zoom Vaporfly, and Chuck Taylor All-Star.

Abloh himself spoke about “The Ten” by saying, “It’s larger than design culture. These 10 shoes have broken barriers in performance and style. To me, they are on the same level as a sculpture of David or the Mona. You can debate it all you want, but they mean something. And that’s what’s important.”

The collaboration was teased on Instagram months ahead of its release, leaving sneakerheads hotly anticipating the release date of the deconstructed kicks, after they were heavily co-signed on social media by some of the biggest musicians and celebrities in the industry, including A$AP Rocky, Drake, even Kim Jones and Naomi Campbell.

Senior Swoosh staff like Nike Senior Design Director Nate Jobe, and VP of Nike Footwear Design Andy Caine were heavily involved in the project from the beginning, working with Abloh to realize his designs. Caine himself participated in OFF-CAMPUS events held in North America and Europe, where guests like Bloody Osiris, Tremaine Emory and many others talked about the cultural importance of the collaboration. Limited merchandise was available at OFF-CAMPUS, including T-shirts and tote bags. You can find select footage from the OFF-CAMPUS events on YouTube.

From Uptown to Long Beach, FORCE is coming to ComplexCon. #af1

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To supplement the sneaker release itself, Nike and Abloh also released a comprehensive 258-page book, documenting Abloh’s design process and revealing key facts about each of the shoes in the collaboration. You can find a digital version of that book here.

Below, we go into more details on each silhouette from the collaboration.

OFF-WHITE x Nike Releases

Virgil Abloh x Nike Air Jordan 1

Highsnobiety / Bryan Luna

Release Date: Friday, October 27, 2017
Price: $190

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.”

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.

Virgil penned individual slogans like “AIR FLACKO” for A$AP Rocky and “AIR CANADA” for Drake on the midsole of pairs that were gifted to celebrity friends.

Two years in a row, Virgil wore his Air Jordan 1 designs to the Met Gala in New York City, rocking the “Chicago” version in 2017, then lacing up the “UNC” colorway in 2018.

Virgil Abloh x Nike Air Force 1

Highsnobiety / Eva Al Desnudo

Release Date: Saturday, November 4, 2017
Price: $170

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 to dissect the shoes, and markers to draw on them, then gifted the sneakers to OFF-WHITE staff to wear. “By the time I made my first trip to Beaverton, I immediately wanted to make something,” stated Abloh to Nike.

“In my brain I’ve seen every iteration or color of an Air Force One. So where does that leave you?,” Virgil mentioned to GQ. “I wanted to make something that stops you from mindlessly scrolling.”

Abloh’s “GHOSTING” Air Force 1 design was released in Berlin via a Nike SNKRS scavenger hunt, where SNKRS app users could use augmented reality to unlock and purchase the shoe.

Virgil Abloh x Nike Air Max 90

Highsnobiety / Asia Typek

Release Date: Sunday, October 29, 2017
Price: $160

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.

Early on, Virgil gifted his DJ “mentor” Benji B with a pair, among others.

Virgil Abloh x Nike Air Presto

Highsnobiety / Asia Typek

Release Date: Sunday, October 29, 2017
Price: $160

Our first decent glimpse of the remade Presto came courtesy of A$AP Nast on Instagram, before Frank Ocean wore the kicks during music festival Panorama NYC.

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

Highsnobiety / Eva Al Desnudo

Release Date: Thursday, November 2, 2017
Price: $250

As the VaporMax was Nike’s big technology story of 2017, it was no surprise to see this revolutionary design 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

Highsnobiety / Asia Typek

Release Date: Friday, October 27, 2017
Price: $130

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.

A pair of the sneakers with samples tags was originally leaked by Huffington Post contributor Michael Tommasiello.

Virgil Abloh x Nike Air Max 97

Highsnobiety / Eva Al Desnudo

Release Date: Saturday, November 4, 2017
Price: $190

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. Abloh’s 97 design came as an “Ultra” version with a seamless one-piece upper and lightweight fit.

Virgil Abloh x Nike React Hyperdunk

Highsnobiety / Eva Al Desnudo

Release Date: Tuesday, October 31, 2017
Price: $200

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

Highsnobiety / Eva Al Desnudo

Release Date: Thursday, November 2, 2017
Price: $170

The Nike Zoom Vaporfly silhouette was first shown as part of Nike’s Breaking2 initiative. The Zoom Vaporfly offers a carbon fiber plate in the sole, providing a rebound effect to improve response when running.

In September 2017, Virgil Abloh sat down with Kenyan runner Eliud Kipchoge to discuss stamina, innovation and the overlaps between fashion and running. In the summer of 2017, Kipchoge nearly ran a record-breaking marathon wearing the ZoomX Vaporfly Elite.

Virgil Abloh x Converse Chuck Taylor All-Star

Highsnobiety / Asia Typek

Release Date: Saturday, May 13, 2017
Price: $130

Nike folded in 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.

Virgil Abloh x Nike Air Force 1 “AF100” (ComplexCon Exclusive)


Release Date: November 3-4, 2017, 2017
Price: $150

This reworked Air Force 1 silhouette was part of an “AF100” pack that was created to celebrate the 35th anniversary of the Air Force 1 back in 2017. Other sneakers in the pack were designed by Don C, Travis Scott, ACRONYM’s Errolson Hugh, and Roc-A-Fella. Abloh’s edition released exclusively at the second annual ComplexCon in Long Beach, California.

MoMA x OFF-WHITE by Virgil Abloh x Nike Air Force 1


Release Date:Saturday, January 27, 2017
Price: $175

To celebrate the opening of Items: Is Fashion Modern?, the Museum of Modern Art linked up with Nike and Virgil Abloh to drop a new collaborative Nike Air Force 1. First making its appearance at Miami Art Basel 2016, the all-black Nike Air Force 1 released through the MoMA Design Store with limited edition socks.

Virgil Abloh x Nike Air Jordan 1 “White” (EU Exclusive)

Highsnobiety / Asia Typek

Release Date: Saturday, March 3, 2018
Price: $190

To follow up on the original “Chicago” version, a white colorway arrived in March as a European-exclusive. The shoe showcased the same design ethos as Abloh’s first Air Jordan 1, featuring an adjusted color scheme, which included a blue zip-tie in place of the standard red version.

The white colorway also appeared in Abloh’s FW18 OFF-WHITE runway show in Paris.

Virgil Abloh x Nike Air VaporMax “Black”

Other / Kane Holz / Sneakersnstuff

Release Date: Saturday, March 30, 2018
Price: $250

Continuing to push the VaporMax, Nike and Abloh tweaked the original version to create this black colorway, which dropped in March after being seen extensively on the feet of Abloh.

Virgil Abloh x Nike Air VaporMax “White”

Other / Kane Holz / Sneakersnstuff

Release Date: Saturday, April 14, 2018
Price: $250

Yet another follow-up came in mid-April when a clean white version hit shelves, marking the third collaborative VaporMax to release from Abloh and Nike.

Virgil Abloh x Nike Air Jordan 1 “UNC”


Release Date: Saturday, June 23, 2018
Price: $180

The third and (so far) final Air Jordan 1 to be worked on by Virgil Abloh, this iteration came in University of North Carolina colors, where Michael Jordan honed his craft before making the jump to the NBA.

Where to Buy OFF-WHITE x Nike

Sneakers from Virgil Abloh and Nike’s ongoing collaboration are globally available at select stockists, with the exception of the European-exclusive white Air Jordan 1. Key retailers for the Virgil Abloh x Nike collaboration include the following retailers.

END. Clothing

Lane Crawford
mita Sneakers
Sports Lab by atmos

North America
A Ma Manière
Notre Shop

Stadium Goods

Upcoming OFF-WHITE x Nike Releases

More colorways are slated to drop through the rest of 2018, including update versions of the Blazer Mid, Air Jordan 1 and others.

Virgil Abloh x Nike Blazer Mid

“SAMPLE” 📸: @onusofficial #hskicks

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Virgil Abloh x Nike Presto

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Virgil Abloh x Nike Air Max 97

Virgil Abloh x Nike Air Max 90

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Vancouver-born, Berlin-based writer with a steady hand on the keyboard.

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