What comes to mind when you think of the word “collaboration”?
The words “joint effort” or “combination” might come to mind—but what about “greatest”?
For us, collaborations are all about greatness. They bring together different skill sets to create something new and exciting. And when you look at some of the most incredible sneaker collaborations in history, that’s precisely what happened: some were made by companies already established in their respective markets; others were made because two companies wanted to show off their unique skills and talents.
But no matter how they started, these notable collaborations created something extraordinary for us—and we want to share with you some of our favorites!
- Supreme x Vans
- Jil Sander x PUMA
- Stüssy x Nike
- Nike SB
- Bape x Adidas
- Undefeated x Nike Air Jordan 4
- Kanye West X Nike
- Kanye West x Adidas
- Travis Scott X Nike
- Off-White x Nike
- Tiffany and Co. x Nike
Supreme x Vans
Perhaps the collaboration that kicked off a trend was between Vans and Supreme, who designed three pairs of Old Skools. They made skateboarders’ favorite shoes distinctive by giving them a West Coast spin!
With its slim and low-profile design, the Old Skool was revolutionary in a skate shoe market dominated by over-padded models. However, it perfectly reflects how New York City has contributed to skate culture and is at the heart of everything Supreme.
The two brands have collaborated on multiple projects over the last 20 years, including their 2008 “Supreme x Bad Brains x Vans” and the famous “Power, Corruption, and Lies” collection in 2013.
Jil Sander x PUMA
In 1998, Jil Sander and the sportswear pioneer PUMA joined forces in an all-German collaboration. The collaboration was significant since it marked the first time a luxury designer partnered with a sports equipment firm.
The King football cleat and Easy Rider jogging shoe were presented in lifestyle versions by Sander, who used a subdued color palette of blacks, whites, and creams. Sander’s re-imagining of Pelé’s iconic boot initially turned off many football supporters and members of PUMA, but the vision proved ahead of its time.
The collaboration also paved the way for a partnership between PUMA and Alexander McQueen, making possible future collaborations that combined the worlds of sports, fashion, art, and design.
Stüssy x Nike
The Huarache has experienced a surge in popularity, with many global fashion wearers taking notice of its growing appeal.
Nike and Michael Kopelman joined forces in 2000 to create a limited edition Air Huarache, unveiled at Stüssy’s London flagship shop. Although this first Nike collaboration did not advertise itself as a “Stüssy x Nike project,” it set the stage for future collaborations between the brands.
In 2001, before the popularity of Nike SB shoes, Nike partnered with Stüssy for its first brand collaboration—the Dunk. They released three colorways, two highs and one low. The team has more recently collaborated on various sneakers, including the Blazer and Air Max 95s, proving how important it is to work together to advance shoe partnerships year after year.
Sandy Bodecker brought the Nike skateboarding division back from the brink of extinction when she took over in 2002, and her approach to collaboration was simple but groundbreaking. She connected with local skate shops and developed products with them—a straightforward tactic that no one else had tried.
A group of four skateboarders—Gino Iannucci, Reese Forbes, Danny Supa, and Richard Mulder—were the first to collaborate on SB Dunks. For years, this concept produced some of the most coveted sneakers, including Supreme’s 2002 shoes featuring an elephant print. It launched a craze that prompted many other companies to release their versions of the popular style.
The SB Dunk, which came to prominence in the 2000s as a blank canvas for street art and skateboarding culture, has been reinvented by everyone from Virgil Abloh to Travis Scott.
Bape x Adidas
From the beginning, BAPE was known for its imaginative branding. The Nike Air Force 1 and Adidas Superstar were two iconic shoes that Nigo loved—so much so that he made his versions of them, BAPESTA and SKULLSTA.
In 2003, Adidas and BAPE recreated the Super Ape Star, a version of their original collaboration, through an official partnership. The upper was decorated with the brand’s current catchphrase, “The Respect is Mutual,” and its iconic ape-head camouflage print.
Although BAPE’s partnership with Adidas has produced popular releases recently and delved into running, basketball, and football—many people believe that Nigo’s tenure at the company before 2011 was when its collaboration with Adidas reached new creative heights.
Undefeated x Nike Air Jordan 4
Undefeated attracted several famous customers, among them basketball legend Michael Jordan. After discussions with Nike, Undefeated created a unique Air Jordan line based on its designs.
The main issue with the collaboration was that altering a masterpiece whose colors have become as iconic to fans as the shoe itself and Retro+ releases had generally played it safe in the early 2000s.
Undefeated chose a color palette modeled after the MA-1 Flight Jacket, designing the Jordan 4 in a flight-jacket style with an olive nubuck upper with accents of black and orange. The shoe also includes a unique Velcro tongue patch that enhances its appeal as a street-wear statement piece.
The Undefeated x Nike Air Jordan 4—limited to 72 pairs—was the first authentic Jordan collaboration, perhaps paving the way for Eminem’s “Encore” Jordan 4 and other high-profile sneaker collaborations.
Kanye West X Nike
The Nike Air Yeezy was created in 2009 by shoe company Nike as a collaboration with rapper Kanye West. It is the first time Nike has officially worked with an entertainer rather than a professional athlete to create one of its signature shoes.
In 2009, Kayne previewed his collaboration with Nike at the Grammy Awards by wearing never-before-seen shoes. The Air Yeezy 1 was unveiled to the public as a result. The three Air Yeezy 1 colorways released were “Net,” “Black/Pink,” and “Zen Grey.”
The Air Yeezy 2, released in 2012, featured a jagged spine down the shoe’s heel. On its tongue was an image of a falcon, representing the Egyptian god Horus.
In February 2014, Kanye West surprised everyone when he released “Red October,” a pair of all-red tennis shoes. It was the last collaboration between West and Nike before it became public that he had formed a partnership with Adidas, picking up where he left off while working with Nike.
Kanye West x Adidas
In February 2015, the brand unveiled the Adidas Yeezy Boost 750, a high-top sneaker made from soft suede and featuring side zips. The forefoot strap gives it extra support, while an innovative boost midsole provides unmatched cushioning for your feet. In 2020, Forbes called Kanye West’s rise to fashion prominence one of the greatest retail stories of all time.
In 2022, Kanye West made several anti-Semitic comments on various media outlets and in interviews. Adidas stated in October that they had ended their partnership with the rapper after he boasted publicly that the German clothing company was powerless to stop him from saying whatever he wanted.
Travis Scott X Nike
When Kanye left Nike in 2013, many feared that Nike would suffer a significant loss. But when Houston-born rapper Travis Scott, closely connected to the city’s swagger-filled culture, joined Nike, the Swoosh team made a considerable comeback. Together they created Travis Scott x Nike Air Force 1 “AF100,” celebrating the 35th anniversary of their iconic Air Force 1 model.
Since its launch in 2017, the Travis Scott x Nike line has significantly grown to include well-known sneakers like the Travis Scott x Nike SB Dunk Low “Cactus Jack” and some of Michael Jordan’s most iconic basketball shoes—including his Air Jordans 1, 4 and 6.
The Travis Scott x Air Jordan 1 Low OG “Olive” – the latest product from rapper-turned-fashion icon and Nike – will be available on March 25, 2023.
Off-White x Nike
In 2017, the Off-White x Nike “The Ten” by Virgil Abloh was one of the most sought-after releases. The partnership was unveiled gradually, with hints dropped by A$AP Rocky, Drake, and supermodel Naomi Campbell, creating a lot of excitement in the fashion world.
The project paired ten pairs of Converse Chuck Taylor All-Stars with ten classic Nike shoes that had been disassembled and updated with Off-White patterns—particularly the symbolic zip ties that appeared in Virgil Abloh’s previous work.
After “The Ten” became popular, Abloh continued collaborating with Nike until 2021 to debut 50 Dunks in a series called “Dear Summer,” which was only available for purchase by selected users of the SNKRS app. This collaboration was another important first in the history of sneaker projects.
Tiffany and Co. X Nike
Although 2023 is just beginning, we have already started a collaboration that will be recorded in history. The Tiffany and Co. x Nike Air Force 1 Low, which launches on March 7, features a black suede upper with “Tiffany Blue” Swooshes and co-branded silver embellishments.
With its blend of elements from the hit “sneakers 2023” menu, Tiffany & Co.’s collaboration with Nike—the Air Force 1 Low—seems to be an ideal shoe for this quick-paced, hype-driven era.
And that’s it for our list of the most significant sneaker collaborations in history! We hope you enjoyed this trip down memory lane with collaborations between brands and artists, athletes, and other personalities.
And we are excited to see what exciting and unexpected collaborations will come next.