ARTICLE BY Boon

Virgil Abloh's Greatest Off-White x Nike Sneakers

virgil abloh air jordan 1

Say what you will about streetwear designer Virgil Abloh, but the sneakersphere really hasn’t been the same since the debut of ‘The Ten’ in 2017. The collection has redefined hype as we know it and, three years on, the Off-White x Nike juggernaut continues to blaze a trail, despite a sea of new contenders trying to prise away Virgil’s vice-like grip.

With its foundation built on ‘The Ten’, the Off-White x Nike inventory has grown to encapsulate various iconic silhouettes, transcending cultures and sports along the way.

Disruptive and deconstructed, these are the sneakers that have defined Virgil Abloh’s partnership with the Swoosh. 

Off-White x Nike Air Presto 'The Ten' (2017)

Admittedly, not all sneakers from ‘The Ten’ were created equal. Widely regarded as one of the standouts from the Class of 2017, Virgil’s Air Presto brought a stark contrasting aesthetic to the lineup. Deconstructed down to its skeleton, the sneaker dialled down the layering of the Presto, replacing the sleek look with a lightweight black mesh upper and a bold ‘Sail’ lace cage. We can only imagine how amped ‘heads would’ve been had this colourway dropped as a standalone release.

off-white x nike hyperdunk on foot
via @slamkicks

Off-White x Nike Hyperdunk 'The Ten' (2017)

Virgil’s zip-tied take on the Hyperdunk was the perfect clash of performance and panache. At the time of release, the silhouette was one of most popular sneakers in the NBA, so it was no surprise to see a number of players bring the hype to the hardwood. The sneaker had all the Virgilism we’ve come to expect, but thankfully, the Flyknit upper and React midsole were retained, ensuring the on-court prowess wasn’t compromised.

Off-White x MoMa x Nike Air Force 1 '07 (2018)
via Stadium Goods

Off-White x MoMa x Nike Air Force 1 '07 (2018)

Shortly after the release of ‘The Ten’, Virgil finessed an exclusive Air Force 1 rendition for ComplexCon. The sneaker was a refreshingly minimalist take on the iconic silhouette, with clean white leather, a silver Swoosh, and “AIR” midsole text. It remains one of the most sought-after Off-White sneakers ever, but Virgil dialled up the exclusivity a few months later with the release of this uber-rare collaboration with the Museum of Modern Art.

Based on the ComplexCon colourway, the MoMA AF-1 wore a sleek black upper, and was exclusively released in limited numbers at the museum’s official Design Store. The release coincided with the Items: Is Fashion Modern? exhibition which explored the present, past and future of 111 items of clothing and accessories that had impacted the world in the 20th and 21st centuries. Virgil also personally designed a pair for MoMA’s Senior Curator of Architecture & Design and Director of R&D Paola Antonelli, handwriting the Helvetica himself.

Off-White x Nike Air Max 97 Queen Serena Williams

Off-White x Serena Williams x Nike Air Max 97 'Queen' (2018)

In 2018, Virgil created an Off-White x Nike Air Max 97 worthy of Serena Williams’ GOAT status. Releasing on SNKRS prior to 50th US Open, the release was a refreshing departure from the now-familiar Abloh aesthetic. Highlighted with a stunning Elemental Rose/Barely Rose sole unit, the colourway exemplified Serena’s on-court energy, bringing a distinct femininity to the Off-White x Nike cannon in the process.

Air jordan 1 off-white
Air jordan 1 off-white

Off-White x Air Jordan 1 ‘The Ten’ (2017)

Simply put, the Air Jordan 1 from ‘The Ten’ is the one. It’s the sneaker which encapsulates Off-White’s influence on the culture, displaying all the trademark tropes which have seen Virgil become arguably the most notorious collaborative force in the game.

Making no secret of its ‘Chicago’ influence, the colourway infuses Virgil’s love of hip-hop into one of the most iconic sneakers of all time. Naysayers will be quick to discredit the collaboration, questioning the originality behind the design. However, Virgil has made no secret that this coveted AJ1 is a heartfelt homage.

‘Off-White for Nike Air Jordan 1, Beaverton, Oregon, USA © 1985.’

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