Not satisfied with putting out the most eye-catching and talked about football jerseys in recent memory, in 2018, Nike is looking to take its game up a level with the release of a range of sneakers that are an ode to Nigerian heritage.
The Nike ‘Naija’ pack boasts everything you’d expect from the bold and engaging West African nation as the company looks to build on the bridge of athletic and casual wear it has worked upon so intensely over the past years. The connection between football and streetwear is growing evermore, and Nike’s connection with Nigeria is a leader in the field.
Apart from the football influence, there is also one of the NBA variety via none other than one of the most recognizable young faces in sport. NBA superstar Giannis Antetokounmpo‘s recent signature sneaker release touched on his Nigerian roots, bringing together strong colours and powerful patterns.
The Nike Zoom Freak 2 has been a massive hit within the NBA community, and it was recently announced that it would be getting the ‘Naija treatment’ in a specially released colourway. The Freak 2 is blasted with the zig-zag pattern features you’d expect, and now it’s time for Nike to leave the court and take on other areas of the sneaker community.
Giannis’ links with football are well known, stemming from his late father, Charles, bonding with his sons through the sport and enabling them to fall in love with the game. Giannis, himself, revealed that he was an Arsenal fan as a child and played football regularly before switching his full-time focus to basketball.
“I’m really interested in soccer; I used to support Arsenal back in the day when I was younger,” Giannis said last year as his Milwaukee Bucks prepared to take on Charlotte Hornets in the NBA Paris game.
“My dad used to play soccer. I played soccer from nine until 12, and then 12-and-a-half I started playing basketball.”
That love still burns bright, and now three classic Nike silhouettes have been given the ‘Naija’ treatment. The Air Force 1 React, Air Presto and Air Max 95 have all been released in tribute to Nigerian heritage.
All the sneakers feature the pine green, black, sub lime and white palette with geometric and zig-zag details that reference the Nigerian team kits. Other standout features include the use of reflective accents on the heels and custom-woven lace loops that ensure the release is unique rather than a generic, bland format.
The 95 has become a particular success story around the globe, emerging as one of the most sought-after streetwear items in fashion.
Often teamed with tracksuits, or even jeans for a more high-end look, the signature multiple layers on the sidewall all display a vibrant green hue with intricate detailing that respects the culture of Nigerian styling.
Look inside the sneaker, meanwhile, and you cannot miss the ‘Nigerian Football Federation’ logo.
Lagos, London, Paris, or New York. Wherever it may be, it’s inevitable that Nigeria will continue to have the most heat around even in the coldest months.