After many disappointing seasons, the fortunes of the Chicago Bulls began to turn around the night of June 19, 1984, when they drafted a 21-year-old from Wilmington, North Carolina named Michael Jordan. By the end of the 1984-85 season, the dazzling rookie had become the talk of the league and helped the Bulls break through to the playoffs. Now more than 30 years later, Jordan’s impact on the game of basketball is unmatched. The same can also be said for the effect of his Air Jordan on the sneaker industry. Read more
When Jeff Staple's name comes up, talk inevitably turns to the Pigeon Dunk. In 2005, Staple collaborated with Nike SB on a Dunk Low whose design was inspired by the omnipresent New York City bird. After that, nothing was the same. When the sneaker released at Staple's Lower East Side boutique Reed Space, it sparked a frenzy, as customers scuffled to try and secure a pair. The incident was reported on the front page of the New York Post. In many ways, the moment signaled a sea change, not just for Staple, but for sneakers in general, as they transitioned from a niche subculture into something much larger.
But while Staple is closely identified with the Pigeon Dunk (a black version of which was released in 2017), he is much more than a one-shoe wonder. Staple has been contributing designs to brands such as Nike since before the era of "collaboration" even began. The "Navigation Pack" was the first collection he released with Nike, in 2004, and consisted of three silhouettes (Air Burst, Shox NZ, and Air Max 90) that paid tribute to New York, London, and Tokyo. And as the excitement around the recent "Black Pigeon" Dunk showed last year, Staple's relevance has not diminished over the ensuing years.
There are a vast number of artists and creatives that Nike has collaborated with over the years. But the funnel gets considerably narrower when you start looking for people who have worked with the brand on multiple models across multiple eras. New York City graffiti artist STASH is one of the few members of that select group.
Whenever STASH collaborates on a sneaker, he brings a distinct POV. While he has become widely associated with a blue palette, true connoisseurs value him as much for creating iconography out of spray paint can nozzles on an all white Air Force 1. And even when he does work with blue, whether it's an Air Classic BW or the recent Air Spiridon, each sneaker manages to feel unique, yet unmistakably STASH.
Falling somewhere in between a mainstream hit and a cult classic in the history of the Nike Air Max line is the Air Max 98. It’s no Air Max 95 when it comes to popularity, but it’s certainly not the last vintage Nike runner most could identify, either.
But go back just a few years, and the 1998 Air Max model would definitely be leaning much more towards the side of an obscure cult classic, only loved by the most knowledgeable and hardcore Air Max collectors. Its rise in popularity for casual sneakerheads and hypebeasts alike began in 2016, when Supreme gave the Air Max 98 a major cosign, dropping four premium colorways of the shoe. Of course, they all sold out in seconds and instantly introduced the model to a whole new generation. From then on, thanks to what we’ll just call the Supreme effect, the Air Max 98 wasn’t just for nostalgic collectors. Now people that weren’t even born in 1998 wanted it.