“Off-White” x Nike Might Actually be Doing Too Much

If the Shoe Fits…

With Co-editor of The Circle Sports, Michael K. Conway

             Founder and creative director of popular streetwear brand Off-White, Virgil Abloh has been making his mark on the sneaker world in a big way. Coming off one of the biggest collaborations with Nike, “The Ten” was a creative masterpiece like we have never seen before.

            Putting his deconstructed spin on ten famous Nike silhouettes, Abloh’s reinvented collection has quickly become some of the most coveted looks in the current sneaker game. Nike’s permission for Abloh to write on, deconstruct, and manipulate the shoes the way he did was a revolutionary new concept in sneaker collaborations.

            “The Ten” included iconic looks the Nike Air VaporMax, Nike Air Presto, and of course the coveted Air Jordan 1 amongst others. The release was super limited and its exclusivity had led to some of the most outrageous (yet incredibly appropriate) resale prices that the sneaker community had ever witnessed. With the lowest average resale price sitting somewhere around the $500+ mark and some of the most popular silhouettes reaching upwards of $1,000 those who wanted the kicks where shelling out big time.

            Virgil’s success and somewhat overnight popularity with the collaboration has brought about a nouveau wave of sneaker design, pioneered by the collab and continued to be put forth by Abloh himself. His recent efforts with the Swoosh have produced a Nike Air Force 1 x MoMa x Off-White collab who’s exclusive release was a great follow up to the hype of the original ten.

            Abloh finds himself back in the sneaker spotlight with even more collaborations with Nike, including a new makeover for the Air Jordan 1 and even a move over to Nike soccer cleats. The new Off-White x Air Jordan 1 “Triple White” had an original release in Europe, but now rumors of a possible US drop come sometime this April will help American hypebeasts get their hands on the updated Off-White x Air Jordan 1 collaboration. Abloh’s more recent ventures includes a pair of Nike Mercurial Vapor 12 Elite soccer cleats and another Nike Air VaporMax look.         

            Most recently, another iteration of the Nike Air VaporMax x Off-White collab hit retailers where lucky winners via the Nike SNKRS app rejoiced at their lucky snag. Now months after the inthrall success of the “Off-White” line is doesn’t seem to be slowing down. With more leaked colorways and Off-White sneaker concepts hitting Twitter and the blogs, it almost seems like there are too many Nike x Off-White pieces. The original collab was hailed (and envied) for its exclusively but now it seems every month Nike and Virgil are rolling out more and more, leading to a possible over saturation of the market and worse; desensitizing of the original hype that came with the collab and the thought that the new stuff is boring and has already been done.

            In the fast paced world of sneaker releases, Nike is beginning to beat a dead horse with the Virgil Abloh collaborations. While they are historic, cool, hyped, and on trend there are too many in such a short span of time. With no real window to truly appreciate what is going on our attention is immediately being switched to what’s up next, forcing us to abandon what had just happened to look forward to what is to come. In the case of the people versus Nike x Virgil Abloh, in order to retain the sneaker’s fandom, they have to pump the brakes. Allow for hype and  suspense to build and relish in the satisfaction when a new release finally drops. Seeing the same “Off-White” concept over and over again will naturally devalue the idea and cheapen the product. If “Off-White” x Nike wants to last the test of time, they need to understand that in a world overflowing with sneaker releases and collaborations, less is more.