Here’s what’s up with the “Suptempo.”
In the past, Nike seemed to be incredibly precious with the designs of its most iconic sneakers. Outside collaborators could never make changes to the shoes themselves, only adjust colors and materials to create their own spin on the classic. But in recent years, perhaps in response to the increased public interest in fashion-forward sneaker collaborations, the Swoosh seems to have softened its stance. For instance, in 2014 they allowed Riccardo Tisci to radically alter the Air Force 1 by turning it into a knee-high boot, and let ACG designer Errolson Hugh do the same earlier this year with his own all-weather version. Additionally, Virgil Abloh is rumored to be making his own post-modern take on the Air Jordan 1. Tomorrow, New York-born skate brand Supreme is dropping a new version of the Nike Air More Uptempo—colloquially dubbed the “Suptempo”—that changes up the shoe’s most recognizable feature.
Though they weren’t officially his signature sneakers, many ’90s hoops fans remember Scottie Pippen throwing down dunks and grabbing boards in the Nike Air Uptempo. And with such overt Nike brand—the word “AIR” is featured in giant bubble letters on the sneakers—how could anyone forget these kicks? In its place on the Supreme Nike Uptempo, as you might expect, is the word “Supreme”, and it’s actually impressive how well the lettering works in this context, with the P of the word curving harmoniously with the ankle of the shoe. That isn’t to say there’s really anything all that subtle about these kicks, especially in the red and gold colorways. In fact, they’re certainly an early contender for the head-turning-est sneakers of 2017.
They’ve got the typical qualities of an oversized mid-’90s basketball sneaker, mainly in that they’re big, bulky, and unapologetically branded. And when it comes to branding, Supreme, like Nike, is an expert, being the purveyor of one of the most iconic logos in fashion today in addition to its upcoming, ultra-branded collaboration with Louis Vuitton. One version of the sneakers boasts a red upper with white lettering, while the other is a metallic gold leather that essentially looks like you’re rocking jewelry on your feet. These are sneakers you wear when you want everyone to not only know how much you like sneakers, but that you own this particular pair of sneakers. If that’s your thing, know the Supreme Nike Uptempo drops tomorrow at 11 a.m. on Supreme’s online store.