ASAP Nast still remembers his first pair of Comme des GarÃ§ons Nikes, but the memory is all he has. The physical sneakers, a version of the early 2000s Air Kukini designed by Comme-affiliated designer Junya Watanabe, collapsed under her feet on a sidewalk years ago.
âI was walking down the block and I remember looking back and the sole of the shoe was behind me,â the rapper said.
His deep appreciation for Comme des GarÃ§ons, the Japanese fashion brand founded by Rei Kawakubo in 1969, dates back to 2004. Young Nast saw the equipment As in Japanese magazines and began to strategize on how he could get it. her clothes and shoes in her native country. New York. He inherited the Kukinis from a friend, disregarding the care the vintage pair would need to survive actual wear and tear. Although those are gone, he continued to collect shoes from the Comme des GarÃ§ons x Nike catalog, a deep and long-standing partnership that will develop next week with the release of two Air Foamposite Ones that reshape the molded upper of the shoe.
The Comme des GarÃ§ons x Nike Air Foamposite One will launch exclusively in the brand’s stores and Dover Street Market stores around the world on November 5. This launch will be followed by a larger release to wholesale customers of Comme des GarÃ§ons. The shoes, priced at $ 520 each, won’t be released directly through Nike, according to CDG. They will be sold in men’s sizes 5 to 13 and women’s sizes 6.5 to 14.5. They are available in two simple colourways of black and white, both branded with the brand name on the heel and featuring a shank resembling a radiating sonar wave or a fingerprint. They are representative of how far the Foamposite, a shoe that debuted in 1997 as a true performance model, has traveled in its retro life.
Bajun Riddick, manager of Comme des GarÃ§ons Chelsea in New York, remembers that sneakers were far from a fashion item for most of the people he saw with them in the city in the 1990s. not wearing the Foams, his wardrobe composed in place of Prada Sport and Air Max 97. For him, the model was intended for two very specific customers.
âYou were either a serious basketball player or a serious drug dealer. I mean, no one else was running with foams around me, âsays Riddick. “And even kids who were serious ballers never wore them on the streets.”
Nast says he and his brother made them grow up, but agrees that at the time the Foamposite was really a basketball shoe. It was aggressively strange, resembling a sensitive drop shaking the wearer’s foot. In Harlem, sneakers were most prevalent on the court and on the streets people walked to and from the court.
âI haven’t really seen a lot of people wearing them on a style board,â he says.
Part of it had to do with the price. The Nike Air Foamposite One and the associated Air Foamposite Pro, with the large Swoosh on the side, have always been expensive sneakers. This is because of their expensive production: Nike spent $ 750,000 to open a mold to make the shoes. If someone paid the price – $ 180 on its original version – it usually meant that they wanted it to do more than look good.
Nast and Riddick, who met around 2007, believe that if there was one low-key moment the Foamposite One became more of a style shoe, it was when sneakers were demoted in the late 2000s. During the first half of the decade, Nike extended the life of the Foamposite Pro with new colorways. From 2007, he brought back the Foamposite One, cementing the alien-looking shoe as a retro hit. From there, Nike turned on the turbo, regularly creating new colorways and later adding prints to the shoe, like on the iconic âGalaxyâ pair from 2012.
Despite all the changes made to shoes over the past decade, those applied by Comme des GarÃ§ons are still new. This collaboration marks the first time that Nike has significantly altered the upper of the shoe rather than just printing on it. This is not uncommon in his work with Comme des GarÃ§ons, which often takes the form of raw details, like on his Air Max 95, or ostentatious additions, like on his Air Force 1 wearing plastic dinosaur molds. Another type of canvas is Foamposite.
âNo one would expect her to go for a basketball shoe like this,â Nast said of CDG founder Kawakubo. “She’s done basketball shoes before, but this one in particular was like ‘Whoah, Foamposites?'”
He initially thought it was a deep fake, a concept shoe you might see floating around on Instagram. The basketball sneakers CDG worked on tend to be much older, less technical, and more common.
Riddick did a double take when the Foam collaboration first appeared in Tokyo in January 2021 at the Comme des GarÃ§ons Homme Plus fall / winter 2021 show, wondering if he was seeing what he thought he was. He had had a similar reaction to the Comme des GarÃ§ons x Air Jordan 1 that fitted this iconic retro with a big buckle, or the camouflage Dunks for women. It seemed like one more step.
âKnowing how much it takes to make a Foamposite and the molds and actually seeing a different mold used, they created a mold for us,â he says.
As the manager of a New York-like store, Riddick sees firsthand the reception given to sneakers. The crowds that come are made up of more than just sneakerheads. There are kids who are eagerly looking for any hype product available to them, but there are also longtime collectors who are there to add the shoes to their personal brand archives.
Nast is somewhere between – maybe right in the middle of – these crowds. He takes Comme des GarÃ§ons seriously, referring in conversation to the many articles of the brand that surround him. It is an important brand for him, a man proud of his personal style and serious in fashion. But he also has an irresistible urge to be ahead.
âI care about being the first person with Like Anything,â he says.
He’s no sneaker traditionalist, nor is he upset when shoes are changed by outside entities as drastically as these foams. He did spend time in the industry, however, working as a youth at the Harlem outpost of the Japanese sneaker shop Atmos. Before the ASAP Mob precipitated the rap industry in the 2010s, it formed a crucial relationship. He met Nipsey Hussle, Mos Def and Dave Chappelle while working at Atmos. Teyana Taylor also worked at the store.
âIt’s an important part of my story,â he says.
With the responsibility of working in the store came an illusion of power. While Nast was working at Atmos, he had people coming to him to cash in on sneaker favors, which he usually couldn’t help.
âIf you had the take, you had the take,â he said. âI wouldn’t necessarily say I was the linchpin of one of them. People really thought I was.
Similar expectations fall on Riddick, a Comme keeper in his Chelsea store. The approach to taking them out there is not the same as in a simple sneaker store, adapted instead to suit the unique clientele. There, the limited edition Foams exist in a different context, far from their original role as a sports shoe and a bit removed from their recent status as a hype shoe. They are there for young audiences, but also for their 60-year-old parents who own Off-White Jordans.
For a Nike drop, Riddick and his team want to raise awareness as much as possible. They write down the names of customers who want to buy pairs. Release day is hectic, especially for those unfamiliar with hunting, but the plan is not to empty the stock as quickly as possible. The deployment is something more thoughtful than the militant framework demanded in some sneaker stores.
âI always make sure that if you’re here that day, you’ll probably walk away with something,â Riddick said.