The end of June marked the very first Bespoke Air Max 1 Course offered by the guys at London Sneaker School (LSS). The five-day intensive course began on Monday the 22nd of June and wrapped up on Friday when the three shoemaking students unveiled their final products to a crowd of onlookers. I was lucky enough to be invited down to the workshop over the course of the week to meet the guys, snap some photographs and get a feel for how LSS conduct their sneaker construction lessons. The experience as a whole was so much fun and I learnt a lot just from watching and listening, despite not participating myself.
Prior to the start of the course, London Sneaker School provides you with a template of an Air Max 1, as well as a list of materials which are on offer to use. This gives you an opportunity to become familiar with some of the leathers and other materials which you will use during your time at LSS. It also means you can come up with some design ideas before stepping into the workshop.
Upon arrival, I was shown through the schedule for the week to follow as well as the impressive underground workshop located in Hackney, London. The three students; Morgan, Danny and Damon each had their own ideas about the direction they were heading in with their own AM1 designs. While for some it was solely an idea in their head, others had exact mockups of what they wanted their shoes to look like.
Every component of the Air Max 1’s you create during your course at LSS is fully customisable meaning you have complete creative control over your finished sneaker. Even the colour of the outsole, midsole and air bubble can be selected to fit your preferences, achieved by using Nike ID (or By You) soles as donors for your handmade pair.
Some materials available, for example, more stretchy leathers, can be harder to work with, which can prove problematic if it’s your first time using them. However, as part of the course, you first assemble a practice upper of an Air Max 1. You do this in the same fashion as you would if you were making your final piece, serving as a tester to experiment with materials and processes which you will rely on further in the week.
‘Piet Mondrain’ Nike Air Max 1’s by Damon (@Damonma1)
During the five day course, students are taught everything there is to know about how a sneaker is assembled by hand. This is perhaps the feature of the course which piqued my initial interest, as not only do you end up with your own bespoke’s, but you learn about the fundamentals of shoemaking. The guys were directed through everything from material selection, cutting and sewing, stitching and clicking panels, lasting and sole bonding by Thomas and Jase.
‘Horween Beast’ Nike Air Max 1’s by Morgan (@Morprime)
While previous experience may play a factor in the outcome of your shoe, it is not necessarily important. The three shoemaking students each had a varying experience when it came to shoemaking, yet each of them left the course with a sublime pair of Air Max 1’s assembled from scratch. While there may be some glue marks or imperfections, this is to be expected. Any handmade product is more than likely to have a few flaws here and there, especially if you haven’t done anything like it before. But these ‘imperfections’ only add to the character of one’s shoe and, in my opinion, serve as a reminder of the experience as a whole.
‘Kickin’ Off’ Nike Air Max 1’s by Danny (@Dannychillman)
Both Thomas and Jase are excellent teachers and their knowledge of shoemaking is clear from the moment you meet them. After witnessing the course first hand and seeing the final products come off the last I am even more keen to jump onto the course myself. If you share the same excitement as I do and would like to learn how to construct classic sneakers yourself, head over to the London Sneaker School website. At the time of writing this there are three upcoming sessions in the near future which are as follows:
Furthermore, the guys at LSS are currently running a giveaway in collaboration with @Morprime giving you the chance to win a spot on their Air Max 1 course for free! Follow the link below to London Sneaker School’s Instagram to enter:
In light of the recent collaboration between two of the pillars of modern streetwear, I wanted to take a look back at where it all began and provide you with a brief history of Stussy’s deep history with Nike.
2000 – Stüssy x Nike Air Huarache Le
Work between the brands began in 2000 with an unofficial release of a Stüssy x Nike Huarache Le. The partnership arose as a result of a special project in Europe between Michael Koppelman and Fraser Cooke. The unofficial nature of the project resulted in very limited numbers of the shoes being produced and they were hence very hard to get your hands on. With the Huaraches being sold exclusively at Stüssy’s London location, you would have to fork out nothing short of top dollar to own a pair today. This is one for the Stüssy enthusiasts and the scarcity of the shoes makes them that much more valuable.
2001 – Stüssy x Nike Dunk High
Stüssy’s next Nike collaboration came just a year later. It marked their first official collaboration with the Swoosh and in fact the first-ever official collaboration between Nike and any clothing brand. This release also saw Nike use speciality fabric on the swoosh of a shoe for the first time. Two pairs of Dunk Highs were released, the first, a black pair with a snakeskin swoosh and the second, a brown pair with an ostrich leather swoosh. The release of these sneakers was made exclusive to Stüssy Chapter stores in New York, London, Tokyo and Los Angeles and limited to 24 pairs a day (12 brown & 12 black). This was the first time a drop had happened in this manner and it created a buzz around the shoe for those how had the intel on the release. Lines outside of Chapter stores lastest for about two weeks before stocks of the Dunks were exhausted.
2002: Stüssy x Nike Blazer Mid
In 2002 Stüssy dropped a Nike Blazer Mid which propelled the model to newfound fame. The collaboration became an instant classic and the model received much more attention from Nike as a result. The Blazer was created as a basketball sneaker in the early ’70s but became popular amongst skateboarders subsequently to this release. Once again, the collaboration was produced in very limited numbers and remains one of Stüssy’s more sought after Nike models.
2003: Stüssy x Nike Air Huarache Light
Originally released in 1993, the Nike Air Huarache Light was one of the more slept on 90’s runners throughout the decade. Nonetheless, the model was reissued in 2002 and then worked on by Stüssy in 2003. The collaboration featured two colourways of the Huarache Lights both made up of mesh, nylon and leather. 2003 marked yet another first in the history of collaboration for Nike Sportswear. Alongside the GR release of the shoes, Nike also produced several promotional pairs which incorporated an embroidered Stüssy logo on the side of the shoes. This was the first time that Nike had used another brand name on one of their models which created a lot of red tape in the way of getting the duel branded sneakers to market. Due to the dramatic change and the early nature of this collaborative innovation, the pairs featuring the Stüssy logo were never cleared for resale. The co-branded pairs of Huarache Lights were given away as promotional pairs making them perhaps the most sought after Stüssy x Nike shoes ever.
2005: Stüssy x Nike Court Force XXV
In celebration of Stüssy’s 25th year anniversary, Nike released a commemorative pack of four Court Force’s in 2005. This pack of shoes focused on Stüssy specific details as a nod to the long history of the brand. Each shoe featured crocodile textures on the swoosh, toe guard and heel and had the Stüssy cities printed around the heel and on the footbed. As well as this, the tongue was dressed in Stüssy’s vintage ‘Tom Tom’ print. Originally these four sneakers were meant to have song lyrics printed on the heel however this was never cleared for production. The XXV pack was released alongside other commemorative collaborations with other brands such as New Era, Alpha Industries and Levis for the anniversary.
2005: Stüssy x Nike Dunk SB Low
The Stüssy ‘Cherry’ Dunks, as they are commonly known are one of the more recognised Stüssy x Nike collaborations. Designed by team member Robbie Jeffers, the Dunk SB’s take their inspiration from Neapolitan Ice-cream, in particular, the flavours of strawberry, chocolate and vanilla. The pair features an image of a cherry on the tongue tab with the Nike SB branding found below. The Cherry Dunks are given the status of grail by SB Collectors and sneakerheads alike and will cost you a fortune to get your hands on 15 years later.
2006: Stüssy x Nike ‘World Tour Collection’
The World Tour project in 2006 involved 40 artists from around the world coming together to do their own rendition of Stüssy’s famous World Tour T-shirt. To accompany the project, Nike released a nine pack shoes dubbed the ‘World Tour Collection’. The nine shoes were made up of three different Nike models; the Nike Dunk High, Nike Free Trail 5.0 and the Nike Trainer Dunk Low.
2008: Stüssy x Neighbourhood x Nike ‘Boneyard’ Collection
In 2008 Stüssy joined forces with Japanese streetwear heavyweight, Neighbourhood, to unveil their ‘Boneyard’ collection. Alongside an extensive collection of apparel and accessories, the brands teamed up with Nike on the Nike Blazer and Nike Terminator. The pack consisted of three Blazers and three Terminators. The Blazers featured a custom Boneyeards print on the side of each, delivered in three colours; blue, red and white. The second shoe from the collection, the Terminator, shares a similar history to that of the Blazer, traditionally designed for Basketball performance. The pack also comprised of three colourways, each with a perforated swoosh and a crossed anchors Boneyards logo.
2010: Stüssy x Nike All Court Mid ‘XXX’
The ‘XXX’ pack marked Stüssy’s 30th Anniversary and was made up of two Nike All Court Mid’s. With a premium leather upper and snakeskin accents on the swoosh, this was a luxurious release. A third pair dubbed the ‘Mysto’ edition was also created for Friends and Family made out of a royal blue canvas. All three pairs feature the Stüssy SS logo on the tongue.
Stüssy x Nike All Court Mid ‘XXX’ Pack by @sneakerish
2011: Stüssy x Nike Sky Force 88 Mid
A bit of a sleeper amongst the Stüssy x Nike lineup, the Sky Force 88’s were released in four very wearable colourways in 2011. The standout feature on these sneakers is the embossed logo on the tongue. The logo is Stüssy’s take on the classic Sky Force 88 logo, which encorporats their SS stamp.
2012: Stüssy x Nike ‘SNS Off Mountain Series’
The S&S Collection aimed at bringing together elements from sand, snow and street influences to create a pack of three models built for resiliance. The first of the series was an updated Nike Dunk High, dubbed the Dunk High OMS, which combined the silhoutte of a classic basketball sneaker with Nike Free technology for a winterised interpretation. The second, a piece of footwear designed for beach-wear, was named the Lunar Braata OMS and made use of Nike’s Lunarlon technology making them a lightweight, durable shoe. The final silhouette used was the Morgan II OMS, a shoe with a wafflle outsole for added traction during everyday urban life. Each model was available in two colourways.
2013: Stüssy x Nike Trainerendor Low
Nike unvieled their first Crosstrainer in 1987, a shoe designed to be a multidisciplinary, rugged sneaker for a variety of sports and activties. In 2013, Stüssy took a similar approach to the design of their latest collaboration with the Swoosh, producing the Stüssy x Nike Trainerendor Low. This sneaker took influences from skateboarding and snowboarding subcultures and were engineered to withstand harsh conditions whereever you are. The Trainerendor Low is an updated, lightweight version of the original Crosstrainer, which pays homage to the classic in terms of aestheics and performance.
2015: Stüssy x Nike Air Max 95
2015 marked yet another anniversary but this time, not just for Stüssy. While Stüssy were celebrating their 35th Anniversary, one of Nike’s most innovative sneakers from their Air Max linage was turning 20 years old. This was of course the Air Max 95, a robust sneaker designed by Sergio Lozano who designed the shoe with the human anatomy as his main inpiration. The model was the first in the line to have two Air bubbles, the second at the forefoot of the shoe. To commemorate their joint anniversaries, Stüssy and Nike joined up again this time releasing three minimalistic colourways of their collaborative Air Max 95’s. The pack consisted of a green pair, navy blue pair and black pair, each with a white midsole and outsole, and the classic SS logo on the tongue. Its crazy to think that this release was five years ago now, it seems so much more recent!
2018: Stüssy x Nike SB Blazer Mid and Low
The Nike Blazer was added to Nike’s SB programme in 2005 under pro-skateboarder, Lances Mountain’s guidence. Despite working on two Nike Blazers before, 2018 was the first time Stüssy created an SB Blazer desgined specifically for skateboarding. They unvieled two SB Blazers, one lowtop dubbed the ‘KT’ for team rider Kevin Terpening, and a midtop which celebrated Lance Mountain’s longevity within skateboarding.
2020: Stüssy x Nike Air Zoom Spiridon Cage 2
This year we were treated to an absolute gem of a collaboration from the streetwear giants. The Nike Air Zoom Spiridon Cage 2 was originally released in 2003 and hasn’t seen too much sun since then. Despite having been very popular with runners and Japanese fashion enthusiasts, the Spiridon Cage 2 never really caught on in the mainstream sneaker scenes. In fact the shoe has been greatly overshadowed in recnet years, especially with the name ‘Spiridon’ being associated with the more popular ‘Air Zoom Spiridon’ originally released in 1997. Nonetheless, Nike pulled the underappreciated model out of the vault this year for a refreshing collaboration. Stüssy produced two colourways of the Spiridon Cage 2’s both of which dropped in April this year. Both colourways were knockouts but one certainly stole the limelight. Available in a ‘Pure Platinum’ rendition as well as a ‘Fossil’ colourway, the later proved to be the more popular pair, and its easy to see why. The pair has an upper consisting of mesh and woven textile overlays, sporting a bold black swoosh. Stüssy branding can be found on the tongue, heel and outsole of the sneaker. This pair is perfect for the warmer months to come and is somewhat of an understated heater! Aethetics aside, the technology used in the Air Zoom Spiridon Cage 2 was well ahead of its time when it deuted in 2003. The model has a caged Zoom Air Unit in the heel and a full-length foam midsole, making this technical runner a good everyday runnaround. Since the Stüssy collaboration, Nike have began to push out more Spiridon Cage 2’s in a variety of colours, a few of which I have my eye on. This collaboration was the perfect way to reintroduce one of Nike’s more obscure models back into sneaker culture.
I hope you have enjoyed reading about Stüssy’s history and it’s Nike collaborations from the first to the last. Stüssy’s importance in sneaker history should not go unnoticed as they have been paramount to pushing innovation in collaborative ways since the get go in 2000. They were the first clothing brand to ever have an official collaboration with Nike and the first company to have their own logo on a Nike product. The work done by the duo has laid the foundations for sneaker collabortion today, which becomes so much more apparent when looking back at their longstanding partnership.