Supreme x Nike Air Max: Reaching Grail Status
The history of the highly sought after Supreme x Nike Air Max sneaker collaboration goes back to April 2016 with the Air Max 98.
Considered by some as the sneaker equivalent of The North Face streetwear collaboration to the New York streetwear brand, the Supreme x Nike Air Max collaboration has given us some of the most sought after Air Max releases to date. Up there with the likes of OFF-WHITE, UNDEFEEATED & Patta, the origins of the Supreme x Nike collaboration goes back a lot further than their very first Air Max release in 2016. The street appeal of the Nike Air Max trainer across certain parts of Europe & the US, like London & New York, made perfect sense for the Brooklyn brand to stamp their box logo on. As far as Air Max collaborations go, it’s certainly up there as one of the most talked about on the “visible Air” sneaker scene. In this feature we take a look at the complete history of the Supreme x Nike Air Max collaboration over the last 5 years.
Working on a range of classic Nike Air Max styles from the Nike Air Max 98 to more recently the Nike Air Max Plus, the sought after sneaker collaboration has seen everything from snakeskin uppers to some of the most vibrant colourways you’ve probably ever seen. The revival of OG Air Max styles over the last 5 years has a lot to thank for the very special Supreme collab which doesn’t look like it’s going to stop any time soon.
The first Nike Air Max x Supreme release goes back to April 2016 with the Nike Air Max 98 x Supreme collection. Utilising the chunky, late 90s Air Max silhouette, the collection featured four colourways which included, snakeskin, varsity red, obsidian & black. Featuring a glossy patent leather & mesh uppers, the collaboration also featured ‘WORLD’ to the left heel & ‘FAMOUS’ to the right heel. The release would ignite a love for the late 90s visible air silhouette.
Other highlights of the 2016 sneaker release included a Supreme heel tab, classic latest 90s ‘air max’ branding to the tongue & Supreme branding to the toe box. Also included in the release was a collection of 3 panel hats in matching colourways in typical Supreme fashion with some OG Air Max branding to the front & classic swooshes to the rear.
3 years later in March 2019, Supreme New York & Nike teamed up once again with the Nike Air Max Tailwind 4 trainer, an OG Air Max silhouette which was originally released 1999. Available in two exclusive colourways, university red/white & black, the Supreme x Nike Air Max Tailwind 4 featured static mesh uppers with suede & leather overlays.
Later in the year, Supreme teamed up with the swoosh brand again for November 2019 with a premium lux take on the Nike Air Max 95. The Supreme x Nike Air Max 95 trainer drew inspiration from an early noughties Air Max 95 release which featured Italian leather. Boasting full Italian leather uppers, as oppose to the usual mesh of the Air Max 95, with a laser etched logo to the sides the drop featured 3 colourways, black, red & royal blue. Other highlights of the release included ‘Made in Italy’ tags to the laces, Supreme branding to the tongue and custom insoles.
The next Supreme x Nike Air Max collaboration featured the late 90s Air Max Plus, or TN trainer as it is commonly referred to, drop in a trio of exclusive & colourful colourways for October 2020. The Nike Air Max Plus, or TN as it is also known, has enjoyed a massive resurgence thanks to its recent re-release back in late 2018. The TN originally gained a cult following on the streets of Europe from London to Lille throughout the late 90s and early noughties, usually worn with tracksuit pants, baseball caps and other colourful sportswear from the era. The bold colourways of late 90s sportswear have become a signature trait to the Sean McDowell’ designed silhouette which is exactly what Supreme went for.
The exclusive Supreme Air Max Plus TN trainer drop featured 3 exclusive colourways; hot pink/red/black, green/orange/blue & white/red. Features included mesh uppers with a raised TPU logo at the tongue & heel, suede side & heel panels, polyurethane foam to the midsole & Tuned Air cushioning. Finally the exclusive release featured reflective panelling and collaboration branding to the foot bed.
January 2021 saw Supreme stamp their signature snakeskin print across the Nike Air Max Goadome trainer, an OG sneaker-boot from the early noughties from ex-ACG designer, Carl Blakeslee. A big hit in US cities like New York, the rugged Nike boot seemed like the perfect choice for the next collab. Highlights of the drop included waterproof leather uppers in a snakeskin print, mini swooshes and the ACG inspired Air Max sole unit.
Supreme & the Swoosh brand teamed up again in 2021 with the revival of the lesser known 90s silhouette, the Nike Air Max 96. Replacing the mesh panelling on the uppers for translucent windows, the drop featured 3 different colourways which included camouflage, black & silver. Other details included Supreme branding to the heel & tongue.
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