After numerous teasers and updates, Nike has officially unveiled Skepta's newest Air Max collaboration.
The Skepta x Nike Air Max 97/BW SK picks up where the artist's previous Morocco-inspired design left off and seeks out a new theme in the connection between his hometown of London and that of Paris, a city that has been pivotal for both Skepta and the Air Max BW sneaker.
A longtime favorite of Parisian sneakerheads—it's still the French record holder for most consecutive years as a best-seller—the Air Max BW was chosen by Skepta largely because of its connection to another grime artist, Dizzee Rascal, who wore the model on his debut album cover.
"When I was younger, Air Max was the shoe to flex in. The bigger your Air bubble—you've got a big Air bubble and everyone can see that. The BWs...it's funny it's called Big Window," Skepta said of the Tinker Hatfield-designed model, which first released in 1991. To add his own twist, the rapper replaced the BW midsole with the full-length unit of the Air Max 97, which is colored in mismatching blue and red as a nod to its ties to Paris.
Another element that's been apparent in the sneaker's marketing is its use of padlocks, which was was inspired by Skepta's 2017 EP Vicious and is a homage to late punk rock pioneer Sid Vicious of the Six Pistols. Serving a dual purpose, Skepta also chose the lock as a reference to Paris' popular love lock displays. "I wanted to hang the padlock on the shoe at the side and to lock it and give it to my friends. I remembered that's what happens in Paris. That's where you go and lock the love," he said.
Sneakerheads in Paris will get the first chance at this collab on Monday, May 14 by using SNEAKRS STASH to find hidden locks throughout the city. A release will then take place Saturday, May 19 in Paris at Acte 2, The Broken Arm, Footpatrol, Pigalle, Starcow, Shinzo, and Sneakersnstuff. They'll also launch online in Europe and Japan via the SNEAKRS and SNKRS apps. For the rest of the world, this pair will be available from select retailers globally including Concepts, Patta, and Très Bien.