Drake's Ultimate Sneaker Highlights
Despite being a toenail from an adidas defection in 2018 (a clandestine deal blown-up by longtime rival Pusha T), the 6 God and his OVO imprint (October’s Very Own) continue to burn through classic and niche Jumpman models. With the impending release of the Nike Hot Step Air Terra under Drake’s newly launched NOCTA label, we thought we’d take a look back at Champagne Papi’s ultimate sneaker highlights.
Keep the champagne flowing, Papi!
Air Jordan 3 ‘Drake vs Lil Wayne’ (2014)
Made to commemorate their joint tour in 2014, the Air Jordan 3 ‘Drake vs Lil Wayne’ is still one of the 6 God’s most coveted sneakers. Hitting the auction block in 2015 for an eye-watering $25,000, the unreleased collaboration came in both black and white colourways. Emblazoned with the duo’s signature Street Fighter-inspired logo, the AJ3 landed amidst the epic 31-stop tour in the summer of 2014.
Revealed less than one year after Drake inked his maiden deal with the Jumpman, the AJ3 would kick-start a huge five-year period for the high-profile partnership.
Air Jordan 3 ‘Anaconda’ (2014)
Created by Nike designer Mark Smith, the Air Jordan 3 ‘Anaconda’ is another rare gem from the vault. Worn by Drake in Nicki Minaj’s ‘Anaconda’ music video, the sneakers looked as deadly as its co-stars, with the iconic uppers remixed in Anaconda-print. Never getting an official release, the Air Jordan 3 ‘Anaconda’ was unfortunately a PE for Champagne Papi, so the closest we’re likely to get to the Jays is by rewatching the neck-cranking 2014 clip (now viewed over 1 billion times).
Air Jordan 3 'Gold' (2014)
Debuting at OVO Fest in August 2014, the Air Jordan 3 ‘Gold’ was another solid bounty for the chart-smashing rapper. Blasted with '6IX' branding on the tongues (a reference to his home city of Toronto and to his album, Views), the gilded pair capped off a colossal year for Drake, the AJ3 megafan celebrating his new deal as only Drake could. Reportedly, there are only five pairs in existence.,
Air Jordan 10 ‘White OVO’ and ‘Black OVO’ (2015)
The Jumpman and Drake finally gave fans the opportunity to take flight with the new partnership in 2015, the Air Jordan 10 receiving two clean monochromatic makeovers retailing for $225.
First teased during ‘Drake Night’ at a Toronto Raptors home game in 2014, the two pairs gave the Air Jordan 10 a much-needed pop-cultural shot in the arm (the Jordan 10 has remained a niche choice among Jordanheads).
Air Jordan 12 ‘White OVO’ (2016) and ‘Black OVO’ (2017)
Releasing in 2016 and 2017 respectively, the Air Jordan 12 ‘White OVO’ and ‘Black OVO’ is another supremely-executed lesson in Drake's design restraint.
Both made available via the Nike SNRKS app and at OVO’s flagship stores in L.A. and Toronto, the murdered-out rendition of Drake’s AJ12 again made its debut over All-Star Weekend – this time in New Orleans, 2017.
Complete with OVO branding on the outsoles and insoles, both versions of the Air Jordan 12 were of course rendered in classic stingray overlays. Still, most sneakerheads were stung on release, the OVO x Air Jordan 12 another incredibly elusive drop.
Air Jordan 8 'Calipari Pack' (2017)
Paying homage to Drake’s love of the Kentucky Wildcats and their head coach John Calipari, Drake’s affectionately dubbed Air Jordan 8 ‘Calipari Pack’ was first revealed in 2017.
Featuring both home and away colourways (one in nubuck and the other in leather), Coach Cal revealed that only around 80 pairs exist, making this another one of Drake’s most exclusive blue-chip collaborations.
Hit with Drake’s signature OVO owl on the heels and blue accents reminiscent of the Wildcats uniform, the ‘Calipari Pack’ recently made its way to consignment stores for a staggering $40,000.
Air Jordan 4 'OVO Splatter' (2017)
Another casualty from Drake’s nigh adidas defection, the Air Jordan 4 ‘OVO Splatter’ was originally teased by Drake back in 2017.
Actually taking cues from a rare unreleased Air Jordan 4 sample in 1989, the Air Jordan 4 ‘OVO Splatter’ left fans hot under the collar. But time passed, and nothing materialised.
In 2020, the sneaker landed at Sotheby’s with an eye-watering $32,000 selling price. Belonging to a collection of rare hip hop items, the OVO-branded sample featured owl logos inside the heel tabs and insoles emblazoned with OVO/6 God insignia.
Don’t have a wad of cash lying around? We can always pin our hopes on a future GR release.
Air Jordan 8 ‘White OVO’ and 'Black OVO' (2018)
Released in two colourways in February 2016 during NBA All-Star Weekend, the Air Jordan 8 ‘OVO’ marked the return of Drake Grails after a brief hiatus from the sneaker spotlight. Following up the from Air Jordan 10 and Air Jordan 12 releases, the Air Jordan 8 ‘OVO’ again sticks to Drake’s patented white, black and gold formula.
Another ultra-limited release, the AJ8’s most salient design choice was undoubtedly the choice of royal gold-trimming, Drake’s signature wide-eyed owl again sat perched on the pull tabs.
Air Jordan 4 'Drake/Raptors' (2019)
Embroiled in controversy and speculation surrounding a potential move to adidas, Drake’s Air Jordan 4 ‘Drake/Raptors’ should’ve been an easy chip (championship ring) for the Swoosh. Scheduled to arrive alongside Travis Scott’s Air Jordan 4 ‘Houston Oilers’, both releases were intended to pay homage to the superstar duo’s beloved sports teams. Instead, Drake’s Air Jordan 4 was shelved, and a GR release celebrating the Toronto Raptors landed at retail stores.
The Drake version of the Air Jordan 4 (featuring Drake’s signature sketched below the Jumpman logo and on the tongue tags) did eventually release in 2019, but the heat had well and truly died down by then, with the sneaker releasing just one month before Kawhi’s Machiavellian move to the L.A. Clippers.
Air Force 1 'Certified Lover Boy' (2021)
Revealed in the lead-up to Drake’s sixth studio album, the Drake x Nike Air Force 1 ‘Certified Lover Boy’ has left us on ‘read’ for months now.
Replacing the classic ‘AIR’ branding with elegant ‘Love you forever’ embossing on the midsoles, the Air Force 1 looked to utilise a more premium material than the standard GR AF1. Heart molding at the toe in place of the AF1’s traditional star traction pattern also gives the collaboration a loved-up vibe.
Still, if you love us forever, why are you making us wait so long?
NOCTA x Nike Hot Step Air Terra (2021)
A collaboration with Drake’s NOCTA label (a reference to his nocturnal creative spirit), the upcoming NOCTA x Nike Air Terra was first glimpsed on his ‘Laugh Now Cry Later’ music video featuring Lil Durk.
Featuring a throwback running-inspired aesthetic, Drake has already been spotted in various renditions of the Air Terra on his Instagram, including a murdered-out remix and deadly snakeskin version.
Composed in tumbled leather and panelled uppers, the Air Terra is again elevated by Drake’s use of metallic silver accents.
While we’re still on-hold for the Air Terra, make sure to keep it locked to Sneaker Freaker for updates!
In the meantime, why not check out the collaborations we'd like to see if Kanye and Drake finally squashed their beef!