Sneaker News

Nike x Off White ‘THE TEN’


First things to know about this collab

  • The Ten is a collab between Nike and Off White on 10 Nike silhouettes.
  • The shoes were then divided into two themes, one being called ‘REVEALING’. This being designed to look accessible: hand-cut, open-source and not to forget a reconstructed look. This side of the collab includes the Air Jordan 1, Nike Air Max 90, Nike Air Presto, Nike Air VaporMax and not to forget the Nike Blazer Mid.
  • The second theme being called ‘GHOSTING’. This was designed with translucent uppers to reveal and unite the second set of silhouettes through common materials. This side of The Ten included the Converse Chuck Taylor, Nike Zoom Fly SP, Nike Air Force 1 low, Nike React Hyperdunk 2017 and the Nike Air Max 97.

About the designer behind the collab

Virgil Abloh’s Relation towards Nike began a long time before he first visited the headquarters in October back in 2016 to start this beautiful collab. As a teen living in Rockford, Illinois, Virgil, and his friends sketched designs of shoes and mailed them to Nike. They were in love with the Air Jordan models and Michael Jordan was superman to him, Abloh says. Abloh’s early design education—divergent from traditional fashion and architecture programs, he says—is informed by athletic footwear, hip-hop, and rock album covers and graffiti. Now a successful creative director and founder of the brand OFF-WHITE, Abloh blurs the lines of various creative processes, rewriting the rules of fashion and design with humor and DIY elements injected into his practice.

When he made his first trip to Beaverton he really wanted to create something. He didn’t wait all those years just to have some meetings at Nike. During his first visit, he rebuilt a pair of triple-black Air Force 1 Low shoes using a knife and drew on them with markers. He then presented the one-of-a-kind shoes to his staff at Design Miami, where he also presented OFF-WHITE furniture.

Abloh wanted the tongue’s inner foam exposed, a silver Swoosh with thick, obvious stitching and text nodding to the shoe’s origins in Beaverton, Oregon. The 12-pair capsule was handmade by Matt Kilgore (Matt is the son of Bruce Kilgore, who designed the Air Force 1 back in 1982) at Blue Ribbon Studios from Nike.

To fulfill a life-long dream, designer and streetwear icon Virgil Abloh helped establish the reconstructed design language that would ultimately lead to The Ten–a collaborative exploration of 10 Nike footwear silhouettes.

“What we’re talking about here is larger than sneakers, it’s larger than design culture,” says Abloh. The shoes in The Ten collection have broken barriers in performance as well as style.

The collab with Virgil Abloh was one of the fastest collaborations Nike has ever done. They made 10 shoes in 10 months from ideation to the release. Abloh began the project by reimagining five Nike footwear icons–the Air Jordan 1, Air Max 90, Air Presto, Nike Air VaporMax and Blazer Mid. “Most of the creative decisions were made in the first three hours,” recalls Abloh, “while actual design and iteration took two to three days.” The Jordan 1 was done in one design session. “I work in a very like dream-like state,” says Abloh. “I see it and it’s done.”

Same as the Air Force 1 the knife was central to the design process. He used it to reveal the foam in the shoe, as well as move the swoosh placements and sometimes enlarge them. Also, he added some extra colors to it with orange tabs in various locations throughout the shoe.

The ‘REVEALING’ side of the collection came with some text placements such as the ‘AIR’ on the side of the shoe referring to Nike’s technology such as seen on the Nike Air VaporMax, Air Jordan I and Air Presto and ‘SHOELACES’ on the end of the laces.

Although the shoe’s design looks complex, Abloh says he wants his process to show and reveal the innovation within the shoe and that even you can make this design with tools you have at home.

In 2017, designer Abloh worked on five shoes for Nike: the Nike Air VaporMax, Nike Zoom Fly SP, Nike React Hyperdunk 2017 and two versions of the Nike Air Force 1 Low. These shoes were part of a collection called “REVEALING,” and Abloh used translucent uppers to unite the sneakers’ 94-year history.

After The Ten collab

The Ten was a great success in the sneakercommunity and had a great impact. All shoes were sold out immediately and if you want one today you are going to pay a premium price.

But it didn’t stop there with Virgil Abloh and Nike. After this collab, they were still making and designing new silhouettes and colorways. They even made some new Nike x Off White Jordan’s such as the Jordan 5 and a Jordan 4 in the ‘Sail’ colorway.

After this success, they came up with a dunk collection With 50 different dunks. All were numbered 1 through 50 with every number having another color on the number plaque on the heel as well as a different color of laces and Off White tag. Except number 1 and 50, these were different from every other dunk with number 1 being all white with a gum sole and silver swoosh and number 50 being black looking like the Nike x Off White MoMa Air Force 1.

While the release of The Ten was in 2017 the hype around all the sneakers is still here to this day.

Unfortunately we lost Virgil Abloh in 2021, but his legacy will forever live on through the sneakers he created and all his work he has done in the fashion industry.

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