The Significance Behind the Supreme x Nike Air Force 1 Low "Box Logo"

A simple shoe that poses complex questions.

By
Footwear 
90,376 Hypes 45 Comments

When it comes to impact, influence and omnipotence in the greater street culture space, few brands or entities can compete with Supreme and Nike. One’s an influential-yet-still irreverent brand birthed of the brash ‘90s NYC skate scene, the other is a colossal athletic conglomerate with deep roots in a smorgasbord of the world’s most influential subcultures. Now, they’re continuing an extensive partnership with two new Air Force 1 Low collaborations. Although their latest effort may be simple in style, its straightforward build belies its vast depth — an ocean of cultural commentary is ensconced in the familiar design lines.

Supreme and Nike’s shared power is exactly what makes the longtime co-conspirators’ latest effort on the Air Force 1 so enthralling. In the past, the two have experimented with everything from military-issue NYCO fabrics (FW12) to bold, in-your-face branded motifs (FW14) and dropped Swooshes with COMME des GARÇONS (FW18), but the dynamic duo’s sixth AF1 collaboration enters uncharted territory by going back to basics. It uses the Air Force 1 Low’s two most iconic colors, all-white and all-black, each equipped with a simple-yet-significant modification: Supreme’s signature box logo delicately debossed on the lateral heel.

When this stripped-back design was officially revealed in February it was immediately divisive, garnering strong opinions, both positive and negative, from Supreme and the Swoosh’s loyal legions of fans. Supporters lauded it as a logical choice, noting the beauty in its simplicity and the inherent power in its recognizable motifs. Detractors derided it as lazy and underhanded, seeing it as little more than a low-effort cash grab.

Whether your personal feelings on the collaboration are favorable or foul, the shoe’s timeless design and pervasive style is undeniably significant. The Supreme x Nike Air Force 1 is, in classic Supreme fashion, a clever commentary on the power of branding. It’s a nod to masterful motifs, enduring design, and iconic color palettes, all wrapped up in a straightforward, no-nonsense silhouette. Maximum results, minimum alterations and embellishments. It’s also somewhat simple — the loudest piece is an optional set of Supreme-printed laces.

“[The Supreme x Nike Air Force 1 is] clever,” states Byron Hawes, author of Supreme anthology books Object Oriented and Art on Deck. “A triple white Uptown (Air Force 1 in New York slang) is essentially a white tee for your feet. A blank canvas that your fit projects upon. And this shoe, then, is an OG white box logo tee.”

This collaboration is Nike’s most famous lifestyle sneaker in its two most recognizable colorways, equipped with the most-known logo in the entire world of streetwear. It’s the amalgamation of a shoe and a logo you’ve seen everywhere, fused in the most straightforward, blunt and brutally effective fashion possible.

Collaboration usually serves a specific purpose: to introduce one brand’s audience to another brand, either tapping into the authentic air offered by one of the parties or the network provided by the other. This Air Force 1 however, does neither of those things. Supreme and Nike’s audiences are so intertwined that this is more an acknowledgement than an innovation. Collaboration is the new norm, and that’s fully proven here.

Supreme added jet fuel to the fire when it announced that it would restock both styles “regularly throughout seasons,” as stated by the brand in the Instagram caption above. Although the Air Force 1 is certain to sell out during the inaugural release — and will likely continue to do so as it’s replenished — this decision puts it on a level of ubiquity that’s close to Supreme’s universal Hanes boxers, socks and tees, season-after-season releases that date back to the early 2010s. This is undeniably fitting: in its own way, the AF1 just as much of an archetypical streetwear product as those basic garments or other notable Supreme products like camp caps and hoodies.

The choice to make these Forces more widely available is also significant in that it goes against Supreme’s standard collaborative protocol, especially when it comes to sneakers. Anyone who’s dragged themselves out of bed or waited in line on a chilly Thursday morning in NYC knows the drill: collaborations are extremely limited, they release once and once only, and are then gone forever. It’s a simple case of supply and demand, and for almost three decades the demand for Supreme’s products has vastly overshadowed the supply.

“[Supreme is] already a worldwide phenomenon and global juggernaut in streetwear, and it’s interesting to see them lean into that” says Grailed Brand Director Lawrence Schlossman. “Whether they like it or not, they’ve created a movement, a lifestyle, and propped up an entire genre. What’s significant [about this collaboration] is that it seems like they’re finally accepting this by using their position to create a tasteful product that will be available to a lot more people than usual. Supply is meeting demand at a fair equilibrium.”

This level playing field between supply and demand poses questions both simple and complex to Supreme’s diehard consumers: with the rarity stripped away, is the shoe good enough that you’ll fiend over it even when it’s more accessible? Will it continue to be a staple product in the years to come? Is Supreme beginning to loosen its famously tight production runs? Or as Hawes asks, “Is it a sign of things to come in a post-Carlyle Supreme world?” Only time will tell, but we’ve got a hunch that Supreme and Nike already know the answers. After all, their respective track records would certainly indicate as much.


The Supreme x Nike Air Force 1 Low in white and black releases on Supreme’s webstore and at its flagship stores today, March 5 at 11 a.m. EST for $96 USD. Restocks are planned for the remainder of the SS20 season and for seasons to come.

For more from Supreme, check out its signature SS20 looks spotlighted in THEM Magazine‘s recent editorial.

Read Full Article

Supreme x Nike Air Force 1 Low

More Details in Drops →

What to Read Next

Casablanca Looks to Summer With SS20 Campaign
Fashion

Casablanca Looks to Summer With SS20 Campaign

Featuring silk shirts and a New Balance collaboration.

Waldo & Sango's Visual for "God Nem" Is Full-Fledged Michigan Energy
Music

Waldo & Sango's Visual for "God Nem" Is Full-Fledged Michigan Energy

A highlight from Waldo’s recent ‘Grove.’

Ghostly International Recruits Garbstore for 20th Anniversary Apparel, Playlist
Fashion

Ghostly International Recruits Garbstore for 20th Anniversary Apparel, Playlist

Intricate embroidery, playful patterns and a special playlist.


The Marathon Continues for Hit-Boy
Music 

The Marathon Continues for Hit-Boy

The superproducer talks his GRAMMY win alongside Nipsey Hussle, the state of hip-hop, and how he’s coming for the next decade.

Bang & Olufsen Debuts Powerful New Beosound Balance Speaker
Tech

Bang & Olufsen Debuts Powerful New Beosound Balance Speaker

Designed with Benjamin Hubert from LAYER design agency.

YMC & Farah Celebrate Rude-Boy Culture for SS20
Fashion

YMC & Farah Celebrate Rude-Boy Culture for SS20

Complete with a campaign from Harris Elliot.

More ▾
 
Subscribe to our Newsletter

Gain access to exclusive interviews with industry creatives, think pieces, trend forecasts, guides and more.

By subscribing, you agree to our Terms of Use and Privacy Policy.

Help us serve you better

We appreciate your support in allowing HYPEBEAST ads, where we can share contents from the latest fashion, to those culturally relevant. In adding HYPEBEAST to your ad blocker's whitelist, ads on our sites will show while you continue to browse.

Help Support Us

We need ads to keep the lights on and to continue providing free news to our readers. We’d appreciate your support by whitelisting HYPEBEAST on your ad blocker. That way you can keep reading all the great stories for free.

If you have already whitelisted us, simply refresh this page. To find out how to whitelist us, click the button below.

Back

Add Us to Whitelist

We appreciate your support in allowing HYPEBEAST ads. Most ad blockers have similar whitelisting steps and settings. If you need assistance, please contact us.

Adblock Plus

  1. Click on the red ABP icon in the upper right corner of your browser.
  2. Click “Enabled on this site” to disable ad blocking for the current site. In Firefox click “disable on HYPEBEAST”.
  3. Refresh the HYPEBEAST page that you were viewing.

Adblock

  1. Click the AdBlock hand icon.
  2. Click “Don’t run on pages on this domain”.
  3. A new “Don’t run AdBlock on…” dialog may be displayed in the middle of the screen.
  4. Move the “Site” slider to the right. After that, click “Exclude”.
  5. Refresh the HYPEBEAST page that you were viewing.

uBlock

  1. Click the uBlock icon.
  2. Click the large blue “power” button in the menu that appears to whitelist the current website.
  3. Reload the HYPEBEAST page that you were viewing.

Firefox Browser

Firefox Tracking Protection may activate our whitelist notice, which can be disabled temporarily for a browsing session by clicking the shield icon in the URL bar and following the instructions.

Disconnect

  1. Click the Disconnect icon.
  2. Click “Whitelist site”.
  3. Refresh the HYPEBEAST page that you were viewing.