Sneakerhead Book Club

Sneakerhead Book Club: Nike. Icons. by Virgil Abloh


Sneakerhead Book Club is a semi-regular series reviewing, you guessed it, books about the kicks you love. This time around, we dive in to Nike. Icons. by Virgil Abloh.

Have you ever taken an L on Nike’s SNKRS app?

I mean, if you’re reading this, there’s a good chance you have. It’s fine, don’t feel bad. I’ve got more sneaker Ls than, well, this list of words with the most Ls.

But have you ever taken an L on a book on SNKRS?

If that sounds like a weird question, then you may have missed the release of Nike. Icons. on the Swoosh’s divisive app earlier this year.

Much like anything that launches on SNKRS, the book was teased for a week or so before selling out faster than you can say “Virgil Abloh.”

Abloh, as you’re no doubt aware, is the artistic director for Louis Vuitton’s menswear line and the CEO of Off—White, whose ongoing collaboration with Nike has set the sneaker industry (and the secondary market) on fire.

The book explores the genesis of Abloh’s design collaboration ‘The Ten,’ whose Nike sneaker reimaginings have captured the attention of enthusiasts both old and new.

If you’re looking for a detailed, wordy history of how the project came to be, you might be better served reading the Nike press release from the summer of 2017 that announced the partnership.

Nike. Icons. is anything but that, although that doesn’t mean it lacks narrative. Through transcripts of text messages, internal Nike documentation, shoe advertisements and Abloh’s own design specifications and blueprints, the reader can get a behind-the-scenes glimpse of how ‘The Ten’ came to life.

The book follows Abloh’s Nike collaborations beyond the original 10 sneakers and into the present day, with a visual timeline of each of his redesigned sneakers presented in a four-page centerfold that will make you (if you’re anything like me) think “oh wow, that released THEN?”

Of course, ‘The Ten’ and Off—White’s subsequent Nike collaborations can be divisive, given their aesthetic, their limited availability and the way they command absurd prices on the resale market.

But that doesn’t take away from the fascinating details behind the process that brought about one of the most talked-about design collabs in recent memory.

The book itself is bright, large and photography-heavy, so it’d make the perfect addition to any sneakerhead’s coffee table as a conversation piece.


Got a suggested title for Sneakerhead Book Club? Shoot us an email with your recommendations, or let us know if you’d like to submit a review of your own.