My first experience with the Nike Air Foamposite One, released in 1997—we called them Penny Hardaways or Penny’s, for short—was on the campus of Spelman College during the summer before my freshman year of college. I watched a dude in one of the summer programs we had running (I was in a program for science, math and engineering majors) bet his shoes—Penny’s—that he could hurdle 7 tables right outside of the cafeteria in Spelman’s Manley Hall. At the time (in 1997) the shoes were going for an astronomical $180. For the record, in 2021 $180 is a lot of money, but in 1997 that might as well have been the price of a car.
I do not remember if he cleared the tables or not—I vaguely remember it as him clearing the tables with a relieved smile on his face—but I do vividly remember how crazy I thought it was because of the price of those shoes. I’d never seen them in person before and frankly, because of the cost, I really didn’t expect to ever see them again. Little did I realize that those shoes, and their descendants were staples shoes for an entire region: The DMV, short for the District, Maryland and Virginia. Morehouse taught me that.
Which is why when I recently saw that high end designer brand Commes Des Garçons (CDG) collaborated with Nike on a CDG x Nike Foamposite One, I figured that Washington, D.C., might explode with joy. That hasn’t happened, yet, since no release date has been announced.
But, let’s talk about it anyway.
Of all of the fashion cues and tips I picked up from meeting people from the DMV in college and then from moving to the area, two things are definites: 1) the DMV loves high end designers; and 2) the DMV especially loves damn near any sneakers in Nike’s “-Posite” line (Foamposites, Flightposites, Hyperposite, Bakin, etc.). While I was in college you could always tell a cat from D.C. They had a very distinct style that was both basic in color, but expansive in what you could do within those colors. I first learned of Armani Exchange from dudes from D.C. and the cats rocking the Foamposites were almost always dudes from D.C. And for an 18-year-old, ALL of that stuff felt like the most expensive shit ever. But D.C. was just that kind of place. So the idea of a CDG x Foamposite collaboration, even in 2021, seems like a match made in G0-Go heaven.
I patronize several boutique and/or shoe resale stores in the D.C. area and every so often I’ll get into a conversation with the employees about trends they see. And without exception, almost every conversation comes down to dudes (especially) in D.C. being all about high-end sneakers. “Sneakerhead” shoes don’t tend to sell as frequently as pairs of deadstock (never worn) Versace sneakers or anything you’d get from Saks Fifth Avenue or Nieman-Marcus. Balenciaga, Maison Margiela , Giusseppe’s. Yep. Those super bulky Balenciagas, well, any shoe. On it. Yeezys, of course. The more expensive the better. Let’s take a quick “expensive” detour.
It’s amazing how much value a collaboration between a high-end brand and a staple retailer can add to the price of commonplace item. For instance, CDG has a pretty popular collaboration with Converse where the Chuck 70 is emblazoned with the signature “heart” that adorns much of the CDG Play collection. Converse’s Chuck 70 is a more expensive version of the ubiquitous All-Star; the canvas is thicker (and better), the sole of the shoe is more of a sail color than white and ultimately, it has more cushion making it a much better shoe. The Chuck 70 Hi typically retails for $85, but the CDG Play x Chuck 70 starts at $150. It nearly DOUBLES the cost of the shoe. A simple heart you could actually paint on yourself adds $65 of cost to the shoe. Even the CDG Play x Chuck 70 Low is the same price (typically the Low costs is $80; for the record, I’m speaking on the standard multi-color options. There are various specialty Chuck 70s High/Lows released by Converse that cost as much as $100). I have five pairs of these shoes, simply because of the CDG collaboration. I even got married in the Chuck 70 Black Peek-a-Boo Low.
I mention this because the CDG collaboration adds almost double the price to a fairly inexpensive sneaker. Part of the charm of Chucks (All-Stars or 70s) is the low price-point. Nike Foamposite Ones on the other hand are expensive to start with. And one truism in life: Prices do not go down on collabs with high-end designers, they only go up. For instance, Adidas recently did a collaboration with Prada; the cost of the product took the Superstar from an $85 price tag to the $500 range, before resale. And we’ve already talked about the most famous Air Jordan 1 OG Diors that graced inauguration.
So we have a high-end brand in CDG (whose t-shirts are also extremely popular and very high quality) doing a collabo that actually looks dope–can’t lie, CDG or not, the shoe itself is actually very dope; I want a pair depending on the cost—with Nike’s Foamposite, and well, they may as well title the collabo “To DC With Love.”