Curator Jürgen Blümlein from Skateboardmuseum has already done the 10 years Nike SB exhibition, now it’s the turn of the 20 years. The concept this time is Wunderkammer. 20 years = 20 themes and there are corresponding displays. The first exhibition is in Berlin and will then move on to London, Barcelona and Paris. If you want to see it in Berlin at Wallstraße 4, you can come by 12th&13th March from 10-22 o’clock. We went to the opening night and talked to Jürgen about some of the most interesting shoes.
The Bearbricks Medicon collab and the Stüssy Dunk collab were the first official collabs I know of. There were also a couple of unofficial collaborations where there was a bit of trouble. For example the Heineken Dunk. If you take the Heinken green and combine it with a red star, then that’s a problem… Heineken was not amused after the shoe was released. And the Freddy Krueger Dunk wasn’t even allowed to come out, a cease-and-desist letter arrived before the release.
Before Sandy Bodecker became the founding father of Nike SB, he made soccer cool, which had been treated rather stepmotherly till he brought it to the forefront. Because he still had all the deals with clubs like Inter Milan or FC Barcelona, there were the Nike FC (Football Club) shoes in 2003. They had the color scheme and logos of the clubs. For the World Cup in Brazil, there were also extra shoes with the Brazilian team riders. And already years before the worldcup, a shoe with the Argentine soccer club Boca Juniors was released.
Shops are a very important topic for Nike, since in the beginning the shoes were only available there. Already in 2002, one of the first Dunks was a Supreme collab. The elephant print that was used was otherwise only used on Jordans, but they were allowed to use it.
We have all the signature shoes of Koston, Janoski, Omar, Nyjah, Ishod, Shane and of course all ten P-Rods on display. With ten models, P-Rod is in an elite club. There are only a few people who have ten or more signature shoes on Nike, namely Michael Jordan, LeBron James, Kobe Bryan and Kevin Durant. We also show in the collector display the What the Paul, the shoe that combines all of P-Rod’s shoes. This is one of the newer hype shoes among collectors. By the way, the collector display will be different in every exhibition.
We have the What the Dunk, of which only 300 pairs have been released worldwide, the Heineken Dunk, the McFetridge Dunk, and the Freddy Krueger Dunk. That one was supposed to be released in Berlin, Todd Bratrud was already on the plane, I was preparing the release exhibition, when Warner Brothers filed a cease-and-desist letter because they had trademarked the stripes of Freddy’s sweater. Pictures were leaked on the internet before the release, they saw them and their lawyer immediately sent a letter. But the shoes had already been delivered to the shops. Nike then contacted them to send them back so that they could be destroyed under the supervision of Warner Brothers. But some shops had already “lost” shoes, so some have been saved. Different story is the eBay Dunk. Only one sample was made of that shoe, put on eBay, then after the auction the sample was destroyed and the winner got the shoe produced in his size. In the end it turned out that Sandy Bodecker bought it himself for 37k. The money from the auction went to the Tim Brauch Foundation. In the meantime, Sotheby’s is selling sneakers for hundreds of thousands. The hype for was there early on and it’s part of the game, but no one should stab someone to get sneakers. They say that the Diamond Dunk was the first to really heat up the sneaker game for SB, and in 2005 there were real riots in New York for Jeff Staple’s Pigeon Dunk. The police had to come because the people who bought the shoes were afraid they would be stabbed. Unfortunately, we don’t have the Pigeon Dunk in the exhibition because the collectors don’t want to send it because it’s too valuable. But the collector display will change for each exhibition.
I tried to get the Iron Maiden Dunk. A good friend of mine lives in the US and has it, but same story, he was afraid to send it. And I don’t want to risk a friendship for a shoe. We have security here, but something can always get lost. The shoe is so expensive because it was made as a sample with a transparent swoosh so you can see the Iron Maiden mascot Eddie in the background. But there were Nike requirements that said the Swoosh isnt’t allowed to be transparent. That’s why it wasn’t allowed to be made. So there was only a limited sample run of shoes and they were given to the band and a few Nike employees.
We’ll probably get the shoes Yuto wore when he won the gold medal. That was a Janoski that was never released. That was planned for all the Nike athletes who competed there to end up with just the one shoe that won the first gold medal. We also have the jerseys that Dutch artist Parra designed for the Olympics.
Janoski doesn’t have its own display, but the shoes are in several displays. The Janoski was a slow seller for two years, because it was released at a time when puffy shoes were still popular. When the vulc hype started in 2007, it was the right model at the right time. This is also a classic, very simple boat shoe, although Nike always tries to be a technology leader. But for Stefan Janoski it fits perfectly. We have the first sample of the shoe here, it looked like a fusion of a Dunk and a Classic. Janoski didn’t like it. Omar Salazar later got the sole for his shoe. The Janoski then really hit at some point. There were already about 1500 different models or colorways when it was the 10th anniversary of the shoe. That’s 150 per year… Some people who bought it didn’t even know that Janoski was a real person and thought it was simply the name of the model.
Pushead had one of the first art collabs. Also very important for Nike is Craig Stecyk. Together with Lance Mountain he designed the first Jordans that were available on SB. Then we have shoes designed by Brian Anderson, Neckface or Jeremy Fish. We also show the McFetridge Paper Dunk, which Nike co-sponsored the Moma exhibition for at the time. That’s one of the most valuable. There were only 24 of that one – and it’s made of paper. You could wear it, but you couldn’t skate it or wear it in the rain.