After an exciting 2016 with countless releases & events, the future looks bright for 2017. The start of the new year marks the beginning of our #BragAbout feature, where we focus on one specific brand and cover a wide array of topics ranging from the past year to the upcoming year. With many brands increasingly gaining popularity, we asked ourselves one question: What can these brands brag about? Don’t forget to check out Part 1 of the #BragAbout feature!
Regardless of what you might have heard throughout this past year, Nike had an outstanding 2016. The premier brand in the sneaker industry may have been overshadowed by the rise in popularity of competing brands, but in no shape or form did they disappoint. They had arguably the hottest collaboration of the year in their project with Acronym on the Air Presto Mid, as well as a highly sought after project with Supreme on the Air Max 98.
It wasn’t just through collaborative projects that Nike made an impact on classic models, they were able to incorporate their ever-popular Flyknit material onto more classic silhouettes. The Ultra Flyknit Presto Mid became one of the go-to summer shoes for many individuals, and we also saw the Ultra Flyknit Air Force 1 Low & Mid, as well as the Ultra Flyknit Air Max 1 & Air Max 90. To go along with the modern updates to these classic models, we were also lucky enough to see the return of other classic silhouettes such as the Air Zoom Spiridon.
We also saw another strong performance by Nike Basketball in 2016 with their four signature athletes all having releases throughout the year. Kobe Bryant’s signature line this year reflected his retirement at the end of the 2015-2016 NBA season evident through the “Fade To Black” pack to commemorate his amazing career. The “Fade To Black” pack was separated into four different time periods: the Pre-Championship Years, the Olympic Gold & Back-to-Back Championship years, the Low-Cut Era, and capping off with the Flyknit Era. Along with the retirement pack, Kobe also released two models of his signature numbered series with the release of the Kobe XI, as well as the Kobe A.D. which may be seen as the Kobe XII.
Although we did not see the next iteration of the LeBron numbered series, we did see the release of the LeBron Soldier X that made LeBron the only athlete with two signature series that reached ten models. The LeBron Soldier X even His Cleveland Cavaliers teammate, Kyrie Irving, saw the follow-up to his first signature model with the release of the Kyrie 2. Nike Basketball’s fourth and final signature athlete, Kevin Durant, also saw the continuation of his signature numbered series with the release of the Air Zoom KD9. Nike Basketball also turned back the clock with the release of the cult-favourite, Air More Uptempo OG in an original colourway.
Nike Skateboarding paid homage to its first four series of boxes with the launch of the Nike SB Dunk “Box” Collection. Each model was designed after the first four, and also most iconic, Nike SB boxes: Orange, Pink, Silver & Black. This collection was a great look for the Nike SB brand as the SB line was not the powerhouse that it once was, but this collection helped bring many former SB heads back as these four models were seen to many as must-cops.
The most innovative sneaker release of 2016 also goes to Nike with their introduction of their self-lacing system on two silhouettes, one model that has been seen in the past and another that was completely new. The self-lacing Nike MAG was first seen on Marty McFly in the Hollywood film, Back to the Future Part II, and public was teased with the release of the MAG in 2009 without the self-lacing system. Fast forward seven years and Nike made dreams come true for many as they released 89 pairs of the self-lacing MAG through an online draw with all proceeds going towards to The Michael J. Fox Foundation in effort to speed a cure for Parkinson’s disease. For those who lucked out on the MAG draw, Nike also released a brand new silhouette with the self-lacing system called the HyperAdapt 1.0 and the buzz behind both models were incredible.
2016 can also be seen as the introductory chapter to 2017’s 35th anniversary of the Nike Air Force 1, evident by the retro releases of a few of the most popular Air Force 1 Low models of all-time: the “Linen/Atmosphere” exclusively released at KITH Miami during Art Basel, and also the City series featuring L.A., Chicago, and New York City, all released in the respective cities. A new iteration of the Air Force 1 also released in 2016 that would have made Bruce Kilgore very proud, with the introduction of the Ben Kirschner designed Special Fields Air Force 1.
2017’s 35th anniversary of the Air Force 1 began with the release of the supremely light Air Force 1 Ultra Force Mid to kick off the year. We are also expecting some amazingly clean Air Force 1 Low models in the beginning of the year with the “Nai Ke Jade” in men’s & women’s, as well as a bunch of the premium material NikeLab models as well. We will also be seeing more of the Air Force 1 Ultra Flyknit models, as well as some super clean monochromatic Air Force 1 Mid colourways such as the upcoming “Legion Green” release. There will also be a continuation of the SF-AF1 model as we are expecting more colourways throughout the year, beginning with the “Binary Blue” colourway.
2017 will also see more collaborative projects as we’ve been teased with a few Air Force 1 collaborations with higher-end fashion brands in A-Cold-Wall and Off-White c/o, as well as a rumoured re-release of the extremely sought after VLONE Air Force 1 Low. Nike has already started the hype train in January with the teasers of the upcoming Supreme collaboration on the Air More Uptempo silhouette, as well as the retro release of the Atmos Air Max 1 which is supposedly being released alongside an Air Jordan 3. We also can’t forget about one of Nike’s most underrated relationships with the designer of the Japanese brand Undercover, Jun Takahashi, and their GYAKUSOU collection which will see a NikeLab release of the Flyknit LunarEpic Low 2 silhouette in 2017.
Not only does this year mark the 35th anniversary of the Air Force 1, it also marks the 20th anniversary of the first Penny Hardaway signature model, the Air Foamposite One. We are expecting to see the return of some classic colourways such as the “OG Royal” & “the Copper”, but also a premium take on the Air Foamposite Pro with the release of the “Silver Surfer” model.
We are only beginning the year, but we can also expect to see some brand new silhouettes with the launch of Nike Basketball’s twenty-first signature athlete in Paul George and the release of the PG1. We can also expect the launch of two other brand new silhouettes, the Aparte & the Air VaporMax. In addition to the new silhouettes, we can expect to see some brand new colourways of the now classic Flyknit Racer models, as well as more colourways of the Tinker Hatfield designed Air Max Zero, as well as the Ultra Flyknit iteration of the Air Max Thea, an extremely popular Air Max designed specifically for the ladies.
With all of these releases already in the works for Nike in 2017, we cannot imagine what this entire year will be like. Congratulations Nike, you did it again.