It’s always been a dream of mine to work on something with NIKE. I’ve been a big fan of sneakers my entire life and first started reaching out to NIKE/Jordan Brand on collaborating starting back in 2012 when I was still working for Mad Catz.
I originally pitched an idea to Nike/Jordan Brand about collaborating and highlighting Mad Catz’ sponsored player at the time, Daigo Umehara. I eventually got an email back from the then Director of Business for Jordan Brand and footwear lead for Nike Sportswear, Mr. Gentry Humphrey. He mentioned it was a “cool idea” at the time, but also wasn’t convinced about the competitive gaming space just yet.
Fast forward to 2019. I’m rushing to the Los Angeles Convention Center for a meeting with Mr. Hayden Walling, at the time he was the Director of Strategic Sponsorships at Nike. Hayden knew gaming and gaming communities. We met and the talk quickly shifted to Evo, fighting games and celebrating that specific community. We mutually agreed about how cool it would be to pay tribute and celebrate Evo Moment 37.
So things were set in motion. Plans were made. I’m not going to go too in-depth with the minutia, as many outlets have covered the topic on the Evo Moment 37 Air Force 1 already. Long story short — the sneakers were originally planned to launch at Evo (both in-person and online), but because of the pandemic the plans were put on hold. Nike would unknowingly dump the sneakers (less than 500 pairs) to their outlet stores in the US and Japan at the full retail price ($140.00). I found out about it just days before Evo 2022. First thing I thought of? I’m a sneaker head. I needed to make sure I got a pair. As news spread, I needed to make sure I secured pairs for Justin Wong and Daigo Umehara as well. Justin is very much a go-getter and he had already secured his pairs and had them ready to rock at Evo. I was also able to expedite some pairs from eBay and had a StockX order waiting for me post Evo 2022. I was able to get a pair through the FGC sneaker group attending Evo and made sure to gift them to The Beast himself.
Complex was the first to break the news. Then Kotaku. Then Hypebeast ran an article. Members of the community started posting unboxings and reviews. I even tried my best to highlight, retweet, respond and engage with every single person that was able to buy a pair.
However, I will reiterate that even though the sneaker launched without it’s original plan. I feel a sense of relief and gratitude towards Nike. It’s become a cult hit and the community that wants it is supporting it without having to deal with too much of the sneaker release hype and BS.
There aren’t that many pairs of this sneaker out there. It’s very much a IYKYK (If You Know, You Know) type release.
If you’re wondering where you can find a pair, your best bet is to call and check with your local Nike Factory Outlet Stores and ask for style code: DB3541-100. Some stores might still have some pairs. If you’re unable to get them for retail, I would suggest eBay, StockX, GOAT App, etc. Just note you’ll be paying a bit more than retail.
Next time. I hope we can celebrate the fighting game community properly. Whether it’s through Nike, Jordan Brand or any other company.
Right on and fight on.
Photos from Evo 2022