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At Nike, Virgil Abloh Lives Forever

Somehow, it’s already been a year since the world lost Virgil Abloh. In a moment that saw the fashion and creative industries at large unified in shock and grief, we reflected on one of the most groundbreaking careers ever seen.

From Pyrex Vision to Off-White, Nike, and Louis Vuitton, Virgil’s influence and love of design have spanned the globe; and, even in his passing, has remained a prominent, visceral part of our lives.

In celebration of the life and legacy of Virgil Abloh, we take a look at all of the sneaker silhouettes (released, upcoming, and samples) that have kept his presence in sneakers alive.

Louis Vuitton x Nike Air Force 1

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First seen in the summer of 2021 and again at Virgil Abloh’s final LV runway show, very few sneaker releases have come close to the level of hype surrounding the Louis Vuitton x Nike Air Force 1 pack. 

Nothing short of iconic, this sneaker selection was a bold statement to just how far Virgil had come in his career since the days of Pyrex Vision. With huge demand came huge prices, with initial auction prices at Sotheby’s topping $25.3M.

A quick look at StockX shows that each of the monogrammed colorways released has continued to fetch upwards of $5,000. Wild.

Off-White x Nike Air Jordan 4 “Bred”

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Arguably one of, if not the most popular Air Jordan 4 of all time, the “Bred” is an instantly recognizable finish. Having owned four pairs myself over the years, I was extremely excited at the prospect of an Abloh-designed version.

Taking on the unmistakable aesthetics of the AJ4 “Sail,” popularized by “The Ten” collection, the sneaker was a blend of old and new, raising a new style worthy of icon status.

Unfortunately, these won’t be making their way to market as they were made just for the exhibition at MCA Chicago.

Drake’s 1-of-1 Off-White x Nike Air Force 1 Low Sample

Drake, always one to get his hands on something that nobody else has, found himself in the possession of a 1-of-1 pair of AF1 Lows. Unlike the other Forces mentioned in this list, this sample pair takes on an aesthetic not too dissimilar to that of a general release pair.

Off-White x Nike Blazer Low

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This two-piece drop marked a departure from the usual silhouettes that have fallen from the house of Off-White Nikes. Switching out the bulkiness of an AF1 for the sleek low-top construction of the Blazer Low was welcomed by fans, especially given how heavy on detail the silhouette was.

Designed at a time when Virgil looked to mix “languages for a new signature,” the sneaker borrowed from the Terra Humara to deliver one of the collaboration’s most intriguing styles to date.

Off-White x Nike Air Force 1 Mid “Pine Green”

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Perhaps due to the huge popularity of the Louis Vuitton AF1 Low, a series of Air Force 1 Mids stepped out of the shadows throughout 2022.

There’s no doubting Abloh’s love of the silhouette, and its continued celebration with new colorways would suggest there’s a whole host more to come.

Although the details applied to the Off-White AF1 mids are a far cry from anything that Nike has ever done with the silhouette, they still feel somewhat retro, thanks to the references found in the color blocking and branding hits.

Futura x Off-White x Nike Dunk Low

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Capitalizing on the huge popularity of “The Ten” and the world’s renewed adoration of the Dunk Low, “The 50” arrived at the perfect time. Released at far higher quantities than any Off-White x Nike product before it, this was the first time that huge swaths of Virgil’s fanbase would get the opportunity to buy into his work with the Swoosh.

Once the fifty-piece collection had come and gone, images of a Futura-branded version of the collaborative Dunk Low surfaced. Unfortunately, despite heavy rumors and speculation, these never made it to market, and it’s unlikely they ever will.

Off-White x Nike Air Force 1 Mid Grafitti Sample

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Borrowing from the hip-hop and basketball references that were found throughout Louis Vuitton’s FW22 Paris Fashion Week show – the final showing of the late designer’s work – this sample, which shows no signs of an official release, celebrates graffiti culture.

Although all Off-White Nikes to date have included graphic elements, none has been quite as bold as this pair.

Off-White x Nike Air Force 1 “Brooklyn”

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The Air Force 1 Low has played an integral role in the Off-White x Nike story, both pre and post-Virgil’s passing. It’s received several updates, many of which have been decorated with block colors.

This design direction has been maintained over the past year. First, “Brooklyn” matched the energy of the “University Gold” release by dressing the sneaker in a bold green hue. It’s a simple finish, yet one that’s highly effective.

Off-White x Nike Air Force 1 “Paris”

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Once again taking on a single block color, the upcoming “Paris” AF1 opts for a greyscale finish, resulting in a moody palette that’s a stark contrast to the romantic spirit of the city from which it takes its name.

While official release details remain a mystery, the pair is expected to arrive sometime between the end of 2022 and the start of 2023.

Off-White x Nike Air Terra Forma

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Per Ibn Jasper, the Air Terra Forma is the first original Nike sneaker design from Virgil. Blending the radical, seemingly track-and-field-inspired design cues applied to the Air Force 1 Mid, the boot-like sneaker plays into the hands of Gorpcore trends.

While Nike has continued to drip-feed fans new colorways of existing silhouettes, this is the first time we’re seeing something completely fresh, which is an exciting prospect for the future of Off-White x Nike releases; because who knows what else is lurking in the archive awaiting its time in the spotlight?

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