Stüssy's history of collaborating dates back to 2000, when it released two versions of the Nike Air Huarache exclusively in its London flagship store. Contrasting the detailed partnerships of today, the brand kept it simple; there were no Stüssy logos or design alterations, just clean color schemes as imagined by Michael Kopelman, an original member of the Stüssy tribe.
Many years and Nike models later, the streetwear label has upheld its relationship with the Swoosh, debuting a co-branded sneaker at the beginning of each year. As 2022 approaches, Stüssy has prepared its own iteration on the classic Air Force 1 Mid. Leaked images show the sneaker, like collaborations past, opts for simplicity.
Basic or minimal? — At a glance, the shoe looks like any other Air Force 1 Mid: Its Swooshes, panels, and Nike “Air” branding all remain intact. Anyone familiar with Stüssy partnerships, however, knows to look closer — for the streetwear label, it’s all in the details.
Beyond a black and white color palette, the sneaker offers a tumbled leather upper, replacing the shoe’s typical smooth leather. Stüssy branding appears at the strap and tongue tag, while on the toe box, perforations have been realigned to appear as the label’s interlocking “S” logo. The same motif is seen on the heel, in the form of a bedazzled double “S” charm.
If you know, you know — With a minimal makeup, the sneakers may not see as much hype as Nike’s other collaborations, which often gain hype through celebrity endorsement. Still, Stüssy’s innovative branding — as well as its history in streetwear partnerships — makes the Air Force 1 Mid a clean classic. And after the shoe’s eventual release, we’re sure the likes of Drake and Lebron will be repping pairs of the collaboration. You can’t go wrong with something simple.
The minimal Air Force 1 Mid is anticipated in early 2022; for reference, this year’s annual Nike x Stüssy collaboration launched in February. And as an official drop date approaches, more details on the sneaker’s design should surface, adding a deeper meaning to the partnership. Perhaps the shoe isn’t as black and white as it looks.