Culture

STÜSSY'S COLLABORATIVE FOOTWEAR TRIBE

11 August 2022

END. delves into the collaborative footwear history of Stüssy, spotlighting a selection of coveted releases from the label and its harmonious partnerships.

STÜSSY'S COLLABORATIVE FOOTWEAR: Classics Through a West Coast Lens
When it comes to Stüssy, trailblazing is something that has been a core aspect of the label since day one. For starters, the brand is widely regarded as one of the key proponents in streetwear’s formative years, with Shawn Stüssy and the International Stüssy Tribe being definitive figures during the scene’s halcyon days.

This idea of forging into the unknown and establishing its own foundations is something that Stüssy embodies in everything it does, with the label’s footwear collaborations being no exception. After all, Stüssy and Nike’s first encounter in 2000 — albeit an unofficial collaboration between Nike and Gimme 5’s Michael Kopelman — is often regarded as the first in the collaborative sneaker world. Sneaker collaborations are commonplace now, but back then, this approach was revolutionary — a symbol of Stüssy’s eye for colouring outside of the lines and establishing trends, not following them.

Now, over two decades following that debut sneaker, the Stüssy name is a mainstay in the collaborative world — a frontrunner with a razor-sharp eye for capturing the zeitgeist and delivering fan favourites. END. delves into the collaborative history of Stüssy, spotlighting a selection of coveted footwear releases from the label and its harmonious partnerships.

Stüssy x Nike Air Max 95 (2015)
Stüssy x Nike Air Max 95 (2015)

The crossover between Air Max and Stüssy is something that was always inevitable, given the label and line’s respective status as icons of streetwear. 2015 marked important milestones for Stüssy and Air Max; both the iconic AM95 and the SoCal label celebrated big anniversaries, with the sneaker turning 20 and Stüssy 35. The opportunity was perfect for the two to come together, celebrating the occasion with a rework of the AM95. The sneaker was released in three classic colourways, navy blue, black and olive green, with each pair joined by a contrasting, all-white sole unit. The details were of note — as always with Stüssy and Nike — with an interlocking S at the tongues and a co-branded graphic at the outsole.

Stüssy x New Balance 990 V4 (2017)
Stüssy x New Balance 990 V4 (2017)

New Balance and Stüssy have partnered on many occasions before, with a string of multi-brand partnerships that began in the noughties with Real Mad Hectic and Undefeated. In 2017, the two labels reunited to turn their attention to the coveted Made in the USA range. The 990 V4 was the sneaker of choice, with New Balance’s premium, performance-focused craft combined with Stüssy’s West Coast aesthetic. The result was subtle, with a monotone colourway, cream accents and little in the way of collaborative branding save the sneaker’s interlocking S on the insole.

Stüssy x Dr Martens Penton Loafer 2018
Stüssy x Dr Martens Penton Loafer (2018)

Subcultures are at the very core of Stüssy, with streetwear, hip-hop and skating, to name just a few, all heavily tied to the SoCal label’s design language. Dr. Martens is a label that mirrors Stüssy’s heavy subcultural ties — a heritage they both lean in on with their collaborations. In Summer 2018, Stüssy and Dr. Martens collaborated with a four-piece collection, bringing West Coast sensibilities to the classic Penton loafer. The loafers were all crafted in Dr. Martens’ Cobbs Lane factory in Northamptonshire, England, with traditional machinery, skilled workers and hand finishings utilised. Four colourways were available — black, cherry red, green and green and white — with each one crafted from smooth leather and detailed with a faux crocodile panel.

Stüssy x Nike Air Zoom Spiridon Cage 2 (2020)
Stüssy x Nike Air Zoom Spiridon Cage 2 (2020)

Stüssy holds a deep appreciation for all things Swoosh, delving deep into Nike’s archives to rework cult favourites and forgotten gems. In 2020, Nike and Stüssy took a trip back to the early noughties, reworking the Steven Smith-designed Air Zoom Spiridon Cage 2. It coincided with the wider revival of the archival silhouette, paving way for a number of general releases that followed. The design codes of both labels were immediately clear; you had one part Stüssy, with hemp uppers and a double dose of branding, and the other part Nike, thanks to its cutting-edge aesthetic and technical features. The colourway was equally as reflective of their collaborative sensibility, with two iterations in black and fossil.

Stüssy x Nike Air Force 1 (2020)
Stüssy x Nike Air Force 1 (2020)

The Air Force 1 is an undisputed streetwear legend, making it a natural choice for a collaboration between Nike and Stüssy. In 2020, the iconic sneaker was cast through the SoCal label’s lens, with a two-piece collection that epitomised Stüssy’s laidback sensibility. The approach was heavily focused on details and materials, with durable hemp across the uppers, an intricate, embroidered Swoosh at the sidewalls and a metal interlocking S at the heels. The sneaker came in two colourways, either black or fossil stone, giving both iterations an elevated, understated appearance.

Stüssy x Birkenstock Boston (2020)
Stüssy x Birkenstock Boston (2020)

At the core of both Stüssy and Birkenstock is a laidback sensibility, with the SoCal label reflecting the sun-soaked beaches of its native region, all while Birkenstock creates footwear perfect for relaxing upon them. The two labels came together for the first time in 2020 to rework the much-loved Boston, channeling their shared penchant for relaxed and effortless styling. The result was a duo of understated and tasteful reworks of the Boston, with one pair arriving in bone and the other anthracite. The buttery-soft suede uppers of each pair were debossed to achieve a corduroy-like appearance, as well as detailed with Stüssy logos towards the heel. The partnership also aligned with a greater shift in the wider fashion sphere, one where relaxed, comfort-focused footwear had begun rising into ubiquity.

Stüssy x Birkenstock Boston (2021)
Stüssy x Birkenstock Boston (2021)

The two reunited in 2021 with another collaboration, bringing the sought-after Boston under their spotlight once again. This time, the clog was reworked in a trio of colourways — caramel, bone and dusty pink — and featured Stüssy’s famous scribble debossed at the sidewalls.

Stüssy x Nike Air Max 2013 (2022)
Stüssy x Nike Air Max 2013 (2022)

With their latest collaboration, Nike and Stüssy returned to the ever-iconic Air Max range, bringing the Air Max 2013 under the spotlight. The shoe arrives in three colourways: black with gradient underlays, an all-over pink hue and that fossil-toned hemp that’s quintessential Stüssy.

Stüssy x Nike Air Max 2013 (2022)
Stüssy x Nike Air Max 2013 (2022)

The sneaker’s techy, performance-focused aesthetic has remained — largely thanks to that full-length Air Max cushioning — but there are some elevated details that make each one signature of Stüssy’s footwear collabs. The sneaker’s sidewall Swoosh is reversed — larger on the lateral side, smaller on the medial — as well as a double helping of branding at the tongues and sidewall.

writerEND.
share