Cart is empty

Go to SF Shop

A Brief History of Skepta’s Sneaker Collaborations

a brief history of skepta's sneaker collaborationsa brief history of skepta's sneaker collaborations

A godfather of the UK grime scene, is still hailed as one of North London’s greatest musical exports.

Fundamental in shift from pirate radio to the mainstream, Skepta is still busy dropping new tracks in 2024, balancing his music career with running his fashion label MAINS and dipping his toes into sneaker colabs. Born to Nigerian parents, Skepta’s love of travel has not only inspired his prodigious music career, but also his coveted sneaker collaborations. From Morocco to Paris, New York City to London, Skepta continues to imbue his sneakers with heartfelt storytelling and symbolism.

Having debuted his first sneaker with Nike in 2017, Skepta went on to drop a number of pairs with the Swoosh before it was announced that he’d signed a long-term deal with in 2022. Now about to debut his first signature silhouette, the , we thought it was only right to take a look back at Skeppy’s impressive sneaker career so far!

Nike Air Max 97 Sk (2017)

Inspired by Skepta’s travels throughout Morocco and 1999’s Nike Air Tuned Max, Skepta’s first colab – an Ultra – landed in September 2017. Making the most of the -designed silhouette’s rippled construction, the pair was characterised by warm-toned, iridescent-style uppers that have since gone on to influence the artist’s later projects.

‘When designing the Air Max 97 Sk, we took the colour palette of Morocco into consideration, but also the palette of the 1999 Air Tuned Max.’ Skepta told Nike. ‘That was the first shoe I ever saved up money to buy, so I wanted to bring its magic to the 97 – the magic that made me first love Air Max when I saw it as a child.’

Combining the legendary DNA of the Air Tuned Max with Morocco’s unique colour palette hit a home run for Skepta, and the collaboration is arguably one of the best in his fledgling catalogue.

Nike Air Max 97/BW

Skeppy dropped the Air Max 97/BW for his second collaboration with Nike. Paying homage to his first release, this pair saw the uppers get combined with an Air Max 97 Air unit.

A tri-coloured ode to Skepta’s love of Paris, the Air Max 97/BW is built in pristine ‘Summit White’, ‘Hyper Cobalt’, and white. Paris was the first place Skepta truly broke-out after the UK, and the collaboration was officially announced by Nike Paris back in 2018.

Speaking on his relationship with the BW itself, Skepta said, ‘When I was younger, the Nike Air bubble was the flex’, says Skepta. ‘The bigger your air bubble was, the more people knew you were stepping well.’ But although BW stands for Big Window, the addition of the 97s full-length Air unit took the flex to the next level.

The BW also had a storied history within music – most famously within the Gabber scene. Skepta also cites Dizzee Rascal as a central inspiration behind the collaboration, as Dizzee is seen with a pair of BWs on his first album cover, Boy in da Corner.

Nike Air Max Deluxe (2018)

Inspired by his breakout single ‘That’s Not Me’ and his relationship to New York City, Skepta’s third Swoosh project, the hit shelves in 2018. The project was a reissue of the 1999 silhouette, which was inspired by Eastern European rave culture, but still managed to embody the DIY attitude and energy of grime. As a result, the Air Max Deluxe was reportedly one of Skepta’s favourites, and a shoe he’d been wanting to see the Swoosh resurrect.

The VHS static emblematic of the ‘That’s Not Me’ music video informs the uppers, while the single’s release date (June 8, 2014) is printed on the sneaker’s lateral side. The sneaker was first teased by Skepta on his Instagram Stories, and the ‘NEVER SLEEPS ON TOUR’ emblazoned on the medial side references the UK MC’s long nights spent on the road and the ethos he employed to get through them. The shoe also featured the MC’s remixed version of the Tuned Air logo, which appears on the outsole.

Nike Shox TL (2019)

First laced in the ‘Bullet From a Gun’ music video, Skepta’s Nike hit shelves in September 2019. Driven by his experience of receiving a chieftainship in the state of Ogun, Nigeria, Skepta expressed a desire to make others believe they can also feel like royalty.

Embodying the idea of the manifestation of dreams, the Shox was the fourth heavyweight collaboration between Skepta and Nike. Given the Shox’s long and complicated , the pair was the perfect way to tell the story of struggle, hard work and eventual success.

Leaning into a grimy 00s aesthetic, the Skepta x Nike Shox TL was suitably stealthy. It was manufactured with black synthetic textile and a full TPU cage, and reflective swooshes provided a callback by adding iridescent styling to the mechanised silhouette. Bringing a moulded heel for stability and a signature blast of red on the modified Waffle rubber outsole, Skepta’s Shox is still one of his most sought-after sneakers on the secondary market.

Air Max Tailwind 5 ‘Bright Blue’ (2021) and ‘Bloody Chrome’ (2021)

Debuting around the same time as Big Smoke’s burgeoning grime career, the first launched in 2000. Featuring quilted uppers and those status-cementing head-to-toe Air bubbles, the Tailwind 5 found favour with Airheads, but the lineage was put on hold until the introduction of the Tailwind 5 Plus in 2020. Once again, Skepta pulled from the shoe’s archival status to create something that was a natural fit within the grime scene.

This time, Skepta utilised the idea of metamorphosis for the Tailwind. The first pair, ‘’, came with uppers that were dressed in a beautiful ‘Hyper Blue’-like shade and featured a phosphorescence pattern reminiscent of butterfly wings. Skeppy later followed up with a second colourway, decking out the same silhouette in a shade akin to his previous Shox colab.

Paying homage to Skepta’s previous collaborations with Nike and his music career, both Tailwind colourways featured chrome Swooshes (a nod to his Shox) and a thermographic heel counter – a reference to the Ignorance Is Bliss album art.

SK Phantom GT Elite FG (2021)

Not content with shutting down the sneakersphere, Skepta also decided to take a run at the industry in 2021. Swapping the stage for the soccer pitch, Skepta dropped the football boot ahead of the 2020 Euros, which had been postponed until the following year because of COVID.

Dropping alongside the ‘Bloody Chrome’ Tailwind 5s, the SK Phantom saw Skepta apply the colour scheme to the Phantom GT Elite FG boot. It came decked out in rich red and deep navy, with the pairs finished off with chromed-out Swooshes, iridescent heel tabs, and a black pattern across the forefoot that was reminiscent of the Tailwind’s butterfly-inspired design. SK Phantom branding hit the heels, insoles and sidewalls.

The boot itself was an evolution of Nike’s Phantom football boot, built with uppers and All Conditions Control tech, especially for elite players. Underfoot, the boot’s studs came in a blade-style configuration, which led to improved traction and added support for rapid changes of direction.

Skepta x PUMA Skope Forever

Skepta announced that he’d be leaving the Swoosh for the Big Cat in 2022, which means his next collaboration has been in the works for a couple of years. After a giving us a sneaky glimpse at the pair at his MAINS show last year, he’s now ready to drop the sneaker. The PUMA Skope Forever is Skepta’s first signature silhouette, and was inspired by a trip to PUMA’s archive where Big Smoke came across the PG Patent Golf sneaker, which features a similarly panelled upper.

The sneaker, which is set to drop alongside a matching apparel collection, continues Skepta’s iridescent motif, with the theme taking over the upper overlays in their entirety. These overlays are also reflective, which allows the uppers to pop against the sneaker’s black mesh base. Once again tying his previous collaborations together, the pair features chrome detailing seen on the midfoot shank, tongue tab branding and heels.

Latest Videos

Subscribe to our Newsletter