The Obscure Nike Models that CDG Helped Revive
Rei Kawakubo’s legendary Comme des Garçons caused a seismic effect when their avant-garde garments hit the runways of Paris in 1981. Four decades later, they’ve transcended their status as a cult-followed behemoth, solidifying themselves as a force to be reckoned with. Today, the CDG universe houses countless sub-labels, off-shoot brands and the massive retail empire: Dover Street Market. Within the sneakersphere though, they’re known for their upmarket collaborations, with their diffusion lines and countless alumni showing off their crep creativity.
Most notably, CDG’s Nike linkups hold plenty of collaborative cachet, their name has helped resurrect some of Team Swoosh’s most obscure silhouettes. From the SHOX TL to the Mowabb, they’ve been able to inject them with the special Comme sauce, catapulting them into the spotlight and daily footwear rotation of many.
Here are just some of the obscure Nike models that CDG helped revive through collaborations.
Comme des Garçons x Nike Shox TL
Nike’s Shox tech took the world by storm in Y2K! A few years later in 2003, the Shox TL was born, boasting a full-length spring unit down below. Far from a household name, its resurgence happened in 2019 when it strutted down the runway for Comme des Garçons’ Spring/Summer show. In classic CDG style, they added their own avant-garde embellishments, with a branded gaudy gold chain and frayed material edges.
Following the 2019 CDG collaboration, there was an influx of Shox TL colourways that found themselves on the feet of the more fashion-forward crowd. Was it a coincidence? Or the CDG effect? Later, we felt the trickle down, with the silhouette becoming a mainstay within the modern-day sneakerscape.
Comme des Garçons x Nike Air Mowabb
Up until recently, the ACG Air Mowabb got minimal attention from Nike and the sneakerhead community as a whole (aside from the true ACG aficionados). Especially to the younger generation of sneakerheads, the Mowabb was somewhat elusive, rarely seen or talked about.
The OG ‘Rattan Birch’ returned this year to much fanfare, but its way was paved by the 2018 Comme des Garçons x Nike Air Mowabb. Letting the silhouette speak volumes, they left pretty much everything intact bar a few material changes. The all black and all white colourways shed light upon the once-obscure ACG shoe, thrusting it into the limelight.
Comme des Garçons Homme Plus x Nike Carnivore
This year, Comme des Garçons’ Homme Plus sub-line dug into the Nike archives and pulled out the Carnivore! A hardcore cross trainer from 1993, that for the time, was ultra-technical with neoprene bootie and Air-injected midsoles. It made a retro return in 2010 and later, in 2015 a slew of Nike Free Huaraches used it as inspiration. Even by today’s standards, the Carnivore would make you do a double take.
CDG’s versions were available in black and white, it gave heads a chance to tear into the Carnivore once more. And, with Nike going to all the effort for the Comme comeback, we’re looking forward to seeing what the future holds. Will the Nike Carnivore make a ferocious return? Only time will tell.
BLACK Comme des Garçons x Nike Night Track
Nike’s Night Track was created for disco! A lesser-known silhouette within the Team Swoosh catalogue, it was inspired by the sprawling 70s disco scene. Rocking an LDV running upper, it’s the shoe that you want to be wearing while having a boogie.
Ever since the original release of the Night Track, the elusive silhouette has barely been touched. It returned in 2012 with a very small allocation and in 2018 it was tracked-down by Comme des Garçons’ BLACK diffusion line. Completely ‘murdered-out’, it had bold white CDG branding on the rear, allowing nostalgic disco fanatics and newer sneakerheads to rediscover the 70s Swoosh icon.
Comme des Garçons Homme Plus x Nike Air Presto Foot Tent
The Nike Air Presto Foot Tent is probably the most obscure out of this bunch! Tinker Hatfield-designed and originally released in 2002, it’s one outré piece of footwear. Essentially, the shoe was not meant to touch the wearer's feet, it was suspended by rods and inspired by actual tents. In an interview with Sneakers, Hatfield actually called it ‘one of [his] worst projects of all time’ and when he heard they were coming back he said, ‘Please don’t.'
Almost 20 years later it was discovered by Comme des Garçons Homme Plus. Not much was changed in terms of the shape, probably because it’s already pretty avant-garde. Nevertheless, it made a nice addition to their Spring/Summer 2019 presentation and allowed a whole new generation of sneakerheads to discover this enigmatic gem.
Comme des Garçons Homme Plus x Nike Foamposite One
The Nike Air Foamposite isn’t necessarily an obscure sneaker, however its popularity has slowly declined over the past few years. The 2012 ‘Galaxy’ joints and 2014 Supreme collaboration were the peak. As of late, it’s flown under the radar aside from the core Foam audience who’ve remained true to the polyurethane sneakers.
Now, we’re gearing up for the CDGs, that are set to hit shelves on November 5 ahead of the November 26 Japan drop. Unlike the previous silhouettes listed, they made a conscious effort to drastically change the tooling, with a textured rippled pattern added throughout the top half.
Will CDG spearhead the Nike Air Foamposite One Revival?