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In the past decade or so, it’s become increasingly popular for sneaker brands to partner with some big-name hip-hop artists.
In 2009, for example, rapper Kanye West partnered with Nike to release the Air Yeezy I, a sneaker with a dissected upper and textured cross-strap. Four years later, in 2013, Toronto artist Drake announced his own partnership with Nike’s Jordan brand, slapping his October’s Very Own label onto some classic Jordan silhouettes. Not to be outdone by its competitor, Adidas made a deal with Kanye (following his departure from Nike) that same year to release its own exclusive line of mesh-constructed sneakers.
Fast forward to 2020. This year has seen the release of Adidas’ collaboration with Beyoncé, another powerhouse in the music business. 2020 will also — apparently — see the release of Reebok’s latest partnership with New York rapper Cardi B in the next few days. But the big question that often surrounds these hip-hop-inspired sneakers is whether they’re actually worth the investment, especially if sneakerheads are looking to flip them for profit. The short answer, according to sneaker expert Racks Hogan? It depends.
“Just because you partner up with a big artist, that doesn’t mean instant success as a brand,” he said on this week’s episode of “The Flip,” In The Know and Complex’s guide on reselling sneakers. “It’s really just a matter of the artist being on top of their game, the company coming through and giving them a cool product to work with, then marinating that together.”
Sneaker-celebrity collaborations aside, there is still a good number of kicks worth checking out. Let’s give them a look.
The Air Jordan 1 is what essentially kicked off Michael Jordan’s longstanding relationship with Nike.
Ironically, when Jordan played for the NBA, he had no interest in signing with the sneaker giant and instead preferred Converse (which was then its own company). With some prodding from his parents and hard bargaining from Nike executives, however, the Chicago Bull star relented and worked with creative director Peter C. Moore on this iconic silhouette.
This year, the Jordan brand has released its “Dark Mocha” colorway, which subtly pays tribute to the Jordan 1 Travis Scott and the Jordan 1 Black Toe. The much anticipated shoe retails for $170, but chances are it’ll probably resell for double the price (depending on size), given its hype.
Founded by style guru Virgil Abloh in 2012, Off-White has become a major — and we mean major — luxury fashion label. It should be no surprise then that nearly every collaboration Abloh has done with another brand (think Nike, Timberland and Jimmy Choo) has become a hot commodity.
The Off-White x Air Jordan 5 Retro “Sail” is no different. According to StockX, the sneaker pays homage to the designer’s first Jordan that he ever owned. It consists of a sail textile mesh upper, a 3M reflective tongue and a translucent outsole. While the sneaker’s MSRP is $225, sneaker resellers can expect to fetch up to four times the price.
Shop: Air Jordan 5 “What The”
The Jordan brand is also releasing another version of the Jordan 5 called the “What The.” The colorway is exactly what you’d probably think if you saw these sneakers in person: “What the … ?” It’s a combination of random colors designed to catch the average sneakerhead’s eye — in this case, red, black, lime green, yellow, purple and blue.
Though quantities of this shoe are sure to be limited, Hogan thinks this sneaker will probably be a hit-or-miss in the resale market. The Jordan 5 “What The” sells for $220, but its resale value is really up in the air.
If you enjoyed this story, you might want to read about New Balance and one of its hottest drops this year.
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