Shoe History: Nike x Off-White

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There have been a lot of amazing sneaker collaborations released throughout the course of shoe history. Nike, Adidas, Reebok, and all of the other top sneaker brands have linked up with fashion designers, streetwear staples, hip-hop artists, and more to create some epic collabs that have gone down in sneaker history.

But you could make the argument that Nike and Off-White have come up with the very best sneaker collaborations in shoe history. Nike and Off-White had everyone wanting to buy shoes from them when they first came together to begin putting out sneakers. And several years later, people are still trying to purchase shoes from their expansive collection.

Do you know the history of the Nike and Off-White collaboration, though? Unless you’re a hardcore sneakerhead, there is a good chance that you don’t. So before you go and pick up a pair of Nike x Off-White sneakers, you should learn all about it.

Here is a brief overview of the shoe history that Nike and Off-White share.

2012: The Off-White Brand Is Founded

If Off-White had never been founded, Off-White and Nike obviously wouldn’t have ever had the opportunity to make shoe history. So prior to talking about the sneaker history that Off-White and Nike have in common, we want to go way back and talk about how Off-White got its start.

Off-White was originally called PYREX VISION. It was a streetwear brand that was founded by Virgil Abloh, who was known for working closely with none other than Kanye West prior to the launch of PYREX VISION. Abloh founded PYREX VISION in Milan in 2012 before later deciding to re-brand his company as Off-White.

2016: Off-White Takes Part in Its First Collaboration With Levi’s

For the first few years of its existence, Off-White didn’t participate in many collaborations. But that all changed in 2016 when Off-White decided to take part in a collaboration with Levi’s.

Abloh helped to design 11 silhouettes for the Off-White x Levi’s collaboration. As anticipated, they all sold out quickly and made the Off-White x Levi’s collaboration a success.

This success would lead to a lot of other collaborative opportunities for Off-White in the years that followed. Off-White would eventually collaborate with a wide range of companies, including Jimmy Choo, IKEA, Warby Parker, Sunglass Hut, Timberland, and, of course, Nike.

2017: Off-White Links Up With Nike for the First Time for “The Ten”

Long before Abloh launched Off-White, he dreamed of re-imagining the designs for some of the most classic Nike sneakers of all time and putting his own twist on them. In an interview that was done a few years ago, he revealed that he used to send designs that he came up with to Nike. But Nike wasn’t interested in them at the time.

That changed in 2017 when Nike finally gave Abloh his chance to shine. They agreed to team up with Off-White for a collaborative collection called “The Ten” that allowed Abloh to put his own spin on a handful of Nike classics, including the Off-White x Nike Air Jordan 1, the Off-White x Nike Air Max 90, and the Off-White x Nike Air Force 1.

“The Ten” was a massive success for both Off-White and Nike. Celebrities and sneakerheads alike were quick to gobble up the sneakers from the collection.

And according to Abloh, it wasn’t just because of all the hype that surrounded them. It was also because of what they meant in the grand scheme of shoe history and the art and design world as whole.

“These 10 shoes have broken barriers in performance and style,” Abloh said at the time. “To me, they are on the same level as the sculpture of David or the Mona [Lisa].”

2018: Off-White Puts Together a Nike World Cup Capsule

Following the success of “The Ten,” Off-White and Nike would continue to do work together. In 2018, Off-White was invited to create a special Nike World Cup Capsule for the 2018 World Cup—and Abloh once again delivered.

Some of Off-White’s creations even made it onto the pitch that year. French soccer star Kylian Mbappe was just one player who was seen rocking them with pride.

2018: Off-White Creates Special Nike Sneakers for Serena Williams for the U.S. Open

Serena Williams didn’t end up winning the U.S. Open in 2018. But she did look good as she made her way to the finals before losing to Naomi Osaka.

Serena was spotted wearing sneakers from the special “Queen” collection that Off-White created specifically for her. It features sneakers like the Off-White x Nike “Queen” NikeCourt Flare 2 PE.

2017-2020: Off-White Continues to Release Limited-Edition Nike Sneakers

Ever since the release of the Off-White x Nike “The Ten” collection, sneakerheads have been clamoring for new Off-White x Nike sneakers. Thanks to this overwhelming demand, Off-White and Nike have put out a whole bunch of collaborations that are inspired by the original ten sneakers that they put out together.

Some of the best Off-White x Nike sneakers of the bunch include:

  • MoMA x Off-White x Nike Air Force 1 (released in January 2018)
  • Off-White x Nike Air VaporMax “Black” (released in March 2018)
  • Off-White x Nike Zoom Fly Mercurial Flyknit (released in June 2018)
  • Off-White x Nike Blazer Mid “Grim Reaper” (released in October 2018)
  • Off-White x Nike Air Max 90 “Bright Mango” (released in February 2019)
  • Off-White x Nike Dunk Low (released in December 2019)
  • Off-White x Nike Air Jordan 5 (released in February 2020)
  • Off-White x Nike Air Jordan 4 (released in July 2020)

Sadly, Abloh died in November 2021 after a private battle with cancer. But it’s clear that he managed to make shoe history prior to his death, both with the help of Nike and on his own.

If you’re interested in picking up a pair of Off White Nike sneakers today, you should do it to pay tribute to Abloh’s legacy.

Off-White and Nike Have Made Shoe History Over and Over Again

It remains to be seen whether or not there will be any more Off-White x Nike sneakers released in the future. Virgil Abloh’s death has seemingly put a lot of the plans that Off-White and Nike had on hold.

But even if Off-White and Nike don’t ever put out another sneaker together, it’s obvious that their collaboration is now a part of shoe history. It may have taken Abloh a little longer than he may have liked to land a collab with Nike. But all of the waiting that he did paid off in a big way.

Want to find out more fun sneaker facts and learn all about sneaker history? Get some additional shoe facts by reading through the other articles found on our blog.