IDK Presents His Nike Air Max 95 & 97 “Free Coast” Collection

The multi-dimensional artist shares a preview of the F&F-exclusive kicks, his inspiration behind the designs and the connection to his upcoming album ‘F65’.

Footwear 
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A veteran of the rap game, IDK continues to shine brighter each day as the stars align for his much-anticipated fourth studio album — F65. Fresh off of a high-intensity set at Coachella, the British-American artist continues to see the fruits of his labor as his intricately-orchestrated rollout nears its apex.

In anticipation of the new release, Hypebeast sat down with IDK as part of our Sole Mates series to discuss his love for the Air Jordan 4, his sneaker journey thus far and what is to come. Shortly thereafter, he went on to reveal his collaborative Nike Air Max 97 “Free Coast” at the high school he attended, along with now sharing exclusive imagery of four Air Max 95 “Free Coast” sneakers.

Looking closer at the Air Max 97 “Free Coast,” its layered build takes on an off-white hue across a majority of its upper with black detailing offering key points of contrast. Most notably, the shoe taps into the collection’s signature gradient that blends colors from the flags of Ghana and Sierra Leone — a nod to each region’s history, with Ghana being the country where slaves were largely taken from Africa to be transported to America and Sierra Leone as the place where many were liberated. Final touches are offered via the lateral toe’s thematic text, an F65 foil wrap and custom shoe box.

Taking the stage at Coachella, the album’s racing theme was brought to life with IDK appearing in a custom Lanvin race suit. Tying the shoes into the performance, the Air Max 95s were exchanged from one colorway to another with his “pit crew” making the speedy swap. Not only have the two looks been prepared on the silhouette, a total of four have been assembled by the duo.

Two unique builds come in two flavors, combining canvas and leather options with black and off-white finishes. All four pairs feature removable race-inspired shrouds at the lacing system, branded shoe trees and a custom shoe box. A checkered pattern touches down on the leather iteration’s upper, further connecting it to the theme while the canvas version sees its primary color accented by its opposing hue, creating a stripe across the shoe.

While all five of these kicks are exclusive to family and friends, IDK shared via his Discord that a limited amount of the Air Max 97s will be up for raffle — utilizing an elaborate system that prioritizes his top fans.

Hypebeast: What would you like to share about the upcoming album and how it relates to the shoes? 

IDK: F65 is an album based on my understanding about how the changes we want as human beings come from dialogue that feels good, even when certain things within that dialogue aren’t always positive. And so, because of that, I took jazz music, which feels good, and fused it with a conversation that doesn’t feel as good in order to get to a common ground — as a person of color — with people who may not be able to relate to that story. These shoes are a vessel for that conversation. The shoes, everything I’m doing, I’m taking the things we all love, want and consume — and using them as a canvas to tell the things that we all need.

Why did you choose the Air Max 95 and the 97 specifically? 

I have a love for the 97 and the 95. I’ve always loved the 95s because I remember The Game referenced them in a song — “Hate It or Love It” — and ever since then I always had my eye on them. 

What prompted your color selections?

It comes from taking the Ghanaian flag and Sierra Leonean flag and putting them together, and it just created a color gradient which is the “Free Coast” flag. So, Ghana being home of Cape Coast and then Sierra Leone with the capital being Freetown, I’m taking both towns, putting them together and fusing those flags to create a conversation that educates people on the history of transatlantic slavery. 

 

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What inspired you to add shrouds to the Air Max 95s? 

I wanted to create something that looked different. Something that looks like a racing shoe but was still classic — nothing like the modern-day racing shoes. It was my way of creating an identity, and I wanted to take a risk. 

Why did you want to work with Nike? 

Ultimately, my dream was always to do stuff with Nike since I was a kid. My first pair of shoes I remember requesting were Nikes. Culturally speaking, it’s embedded in a lot of us and if I’m gonna use a brand as a vessel for conversation, there’s no better sneaker brand than Nike to do that with.

How do you want the shoes to be appreciated? 

I want people to wear it and feel like they need to ask questions, because that’s what my brand IDK is about. 

Which is your favorite of the shoes revealed? 

The cream checkered Air Max 95s because they resemble a racing flag. 

There’s canvas and leather versions of the Air Max 95. Any reason you’re including both variants? 

So, the canvas shoe is supposed to be the practice shoe. That’s how we practice with the pit crew, putting on and taking off the shoe. And the leather shoe is the actual shoe. 

How did it feel to perform in the shoes at Coachella? 

Amazing. The way we revealed it with the pit crew was the best part about it. Y’know, I come out in white Air Max 95s and then the pit crew surrounds me for six seconds, then they’re gone and there’s a new shoe. We practiced a lot, and we got the best timing during the actual show. It felt good that this random idea to do a pit crew change really came to life.

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