When Nike tapped Virgil Abloh for their huge “The Ten” collaboration in September of 2017, sneakerheads clamored to purchase every pair from the Swoosh. It appears that Virgil was not Nike’s only option for “The Ten” however, as Hiroshi Fujiwara has revealed a sample of his own “The Ten” collab that was nixed in preference of the Off-White designer’s vision.
Before the release of “The Ten,” Yeezy and adidas were in full stride and taking over the sneaker market. The 350 V2 had just released in popular Zebra and Triple White colorways and Nike needed a strong response. As we all know, Nike clapped back with Virgil Abloh’s version of “The Ten” — a massive success with every release selling out almost immediately. The resale market also exploded with the most popular of the bunch, the Retro AJ1 Chicago, never dipping below $1,000 and currently sitting at $4,000.
Looking at Fujiwara’s sample pair of Air Max 1s, we see signature Fragment Design elements such as the technical product description on the midsole. Fragment Design and “The Ten” labels appear on the insole and the shoe has a muted palette of black and a cool grey/tan color. The most obvious design element that Fujiwara used was a wide base lacing system instead of the traditional lacing system of the Air Max 1. It’s possible that Virgil Abloh took a look at these and used them as inspiration for the Off White x Nike Dunk Low that released in 2019.
Nike and Fujiwara have not linked up on a sneaker in a while, and while we won’t see these getting a release, it’s refreshing to see something previously unknown from the duo and to learn a little more about the process of how “The Ten” came to be. Check out the Fragment x Nike Air Max 1 “The Ten” sample below.