Supreme has another Nike shoe coming out, but it’s not just any sneaker, it’s a white/white Air Force 1. The only difference? There’s a subtle Supreme box logo embossed on the heel.
As with everything Supreme x Nike, it’s going to have people talking. So what did we do? We talked about it. Me, the grumpy, old man in the office, who skated in the 2000s, and my colleague Mike DeStefano, who’s younger than the brand itself.
Here’s what we think.
What’s your connection to Supreme?
Matt Welty: I didn’t get into Supreme through sneakers, or at least that’s not how I first noticed it. Instead, I recognized Supreme by skateboarding in the early 2000s and seeing guys like Rob Welsh wear it. Older guys I knew, who was East Coast OGs, were into Supreme. Switch heelflips, frontside noseslides, and 5-panel hats. I’ve never owned a lot of Supreme, I’ve admittedly only bought a few hats and left it at that. I don’t want to go through the hassle of getting things on the release date, although I’ve tried, or pony up the bucks for the collaborations I actually like.
Michael DeStefano: When I first really got into streetwear as a freshman in high school, Supreme was like the holy grail. Brands like Stüssy, The Hundreds, and Diamond Supply Co. were among some other personal favorites that I actually attained, but Supreme felt like it was in another tier for whatever reason. It hadn’t reached the insane mainstream attention it currently possesses just yet.
A very low percentage of people in my town could even tell you what it was probably. Over the years, I’ve owned pieces here and there, but was never somebody obsessing over everything they released or copping items from every drop. There will always be certain pieces I would like to own, most of which resell for way more money than I’m willing to pay. Regardless, Supreme will always hold that status as one of the most important brands in streetwear. Consistent customer or not, it is impossible to avoid its impact and presence.
Do you like the Supreme x Nike Air Force 1?
MW: This sneaker is really boring, but I get it. It feels like something you’d buy in an NYC souvenir shop for hypebeast. Something issued to shop for employees to wear year-round. Shoes you get entering James Jebbia’s apartment to not dirty his immaculate floors. It’s too simple for many. It feels lazy, uninspired and an easy layup. But it makes sense. It’s no different than putting a box logo on a white T-shirt. It’s the most iconic New York streetwear logo plastered on the most iconic New York sneaker. So why not? It’s also a sneaker that’s going to resell for too much money in a few years’ time.
MD: Quite honestly, I’m not a fan of the latest Supreme x Nike Air Force 1 at all. It just seems lazy. Supreme knows flocks of people will be trying to cop these on release day regardless. In all likelihood, they are going to sell out anyway. Stamping a tiny red Box Logo on the heel just seems like they didn’t really even think about it. Sure, other iconic Air Force 1s like the “Roc-A-Fella” follow the same formula, but this one just feels different to me. Maybe if it was a friend and family pair Supreme made for its employees or something it would be fine. But releasing this as collaboration is just disappointing to see given the track past work the brand is responsible for.
What do you think of Supreme x Nike collaborations as of late?
MW: Supreme x Nike has been different lately. There haven’t been as many hits. The concepts aren’t as creative, although the brand is working on not-as-obvious sneaker models. Tailwind IVs. Zoom Streak Spectrum, etc. I do like some of them, but the hype isn’t the same as the Foamposites, Air Force 1 Highs, Air Jordan Vs, or any of the earlier Dunks. Even the Air Max 98s. I want to see Supreme doing something really great with Nike, because, well, it’s Supreme x Nike. And everyone needs the partnership to work. I did like the 95s, though, even if they were $500.
MD: I guess the reason the leaked photos from this collaboration are so disappointing to see is because of the reputation Supreme has established over the years with its numerous Nike projects. Pairs like the Dunk Lows from 2002, luxury-inspired Blazers from 2006, or more recently the trio of Air Jordan Vs have all remained coveted by collectors for good reason. Perhaps a victim of its own prior success, the newer collabs just haven’t hit quite the same. It’s always cool to see Supreme put a spin on more obscure models like the Air Humara or Air Max Tailwind IV. But for each well-executed example, there is an Air Force 1 Mid covered in NBA logos or lackluster trio of Dunk Lows. The offerings just aren’t consistent, especially when you consider how foolproof a Supreme x Nike announcement was for so many years.
Are you still excited by Supreme?
MW: I guess? It’s my job to be excited by Supreme. There are hits and there are misses. I was excited by the brand working with Aquascutum and Stone Island over the past few years. Should have picked some of it up. Might still do it someday. The brand isn’t the same as it was years ago, but the branding is still the same, there are still good things being released, and the potential is always there. I like how, to a certain extent, that Supreme, no matter how many assholes get into it, how many 14-year-old virgins flock to it, doesn’t change. Even if they’re purchased by a company that supports a whole bunch of nefarious shit, if resell prices boom or plummet, if some ideas become too obvious (like this shoe), it’s still Supreme. And you need to respect that.
MD: Supreme is an interesting spot. Its legacy in streetwear is unmatched, but so is it mainstream level of notoriety at this point.
What James Jebbia has been able to transform a skate shop on Lafayette St. into across its 25-year history is incredible.
Like many customers, I’ll always be scrolling through a new season preview the day it is announced just because. There will always be certain items and collabs that I will make an effort to get. The season’s have always been a mix of hits and misses to me.
Like I previously said, I was never heavily buying Supreme to begin with. So this isn’t really necessarily an indictment on their product. The excitement is sort of inevitable at this point, but that doesn’t mean Box Logos are going to be filling up my closet because of it, especially the ones on this 2020 Air Force 1 collab.