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Nike x UndefeatedPhotography Benedict Brink, styling Emma Wyman, art director Jamie Reid

Nike and Undefeated give the Air Max 97 a luxury look

The LA streetwear giant has put a unique spin on the classic style to celebrate its 15th anniversary

Undefeated, a longtime mainstay of the LA streetwear scene, is celebrating 15 years in business this month. So, to celebrate, founders Eddie Cruz and James Bond have teamed up with longtime partners Nike for a revamp of its classic Air Max 97 design, which also hits the milestone birthday of 20 this year. 

Set to drop as part of a week-long pop-up at the original Undefeated LA store on September 16, the new iteration of the iconic design features red, white and green taping in patent leather as well as reflective parts. These colours also reappear throughout the rest of the capsule collection. A fresh take on a classic shoe by the shop that changed the way we shop streetwear, it’s a fitting way to mark both brands’ history for influencing culture wherever they turn their attention. 

While Undefeated has expanded since then, with stores all over Japan, too – LA will always be the scene where it first cut its teeth, way back in 2002. For Nike too, LA is “a hub for energy and youth culture,” as Nike designer Jupiter Desphy explains. Crediting the year-round good weather, Desphy – who has previously worked at Undefeated – sees LA as a sports and culture and Undefeated as representative of this. “When you’re working with Undefeated, you’re working with the root of LA culture, so it makes sense for Nike and Undefeated to partner up.”

Together then, Undefeated and Nike’s latest collaboration is a demonstration of how both brands consistently have a hand on the pulse of the cultural scene they’re a part of, and are able to create products that reflect this. Speaking of the Air Max 97, Desphy says: “It’s a cultural icon, you know? The shoe has stood the test of time.” And, this time, this story is firmly and appropriately rooted in the city that started everything for Undefeated, shot amongst the neon-lit streets of the local area. 

The Undefeated x Nike Air Max 97 Pop-Up takes place from September 16-24 at 112 1/2 La Brea Ave. Los Angeles, CA 90036, Mon-Sat 11-7pm, Sun 12-6pm. The Undefeated (black & white colour way) will launch on September 16 exclusively at Undefeated while the black colour way will launch globally on September 21