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Classics Revisited: ESPO x Nike Air Force II (2004)

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Yesterday, we touched on the first ‘Artist Series’ that Nike embarked upon in 2003, but our attention now shifts to the second Artist Series that released on the first Saturday of 2004. The second Artist Series comprised of three designs; the Pharrell x Nike Dunk High (a previous feature on Classics Revisited), the Hally Berry x Nike WMNS Air Rift, and this visually stunning masterpiece – the Nike Air Force 2 Low designed by Steve Powers. Powers was a legend in the Philly and NYC graffiti scene and gained notoriety for his works and his pseudonym ESPO (Exterior Surface Painting Outreach); his concepts and endeavors were both artistic and political, with one particular incident leading to an arrest as a result of a protest against NYC Mayor Rudy Giuliani’s decision to shut down a graffiti exhibit at the Brooklyn Museum. It was this arrest that provoked ESPO to make a decision to forgo ‘illegal’ graffiti and embark on a studio career.

The Nike Air Force 2 Low of the Artist Series was designed with ESPO’s signature art stylings, using his familiar advertisement banner-style graphics on the heel and outsole. The undoubted highlight of the shoe was the use of the clear materials on the shoe; the entire upper shell was built with a clear material, which gave way to the special socks that came accompanied with the release. The ESPO x Nike Air Force 2 Low served as the direct source of the ‘clear sneaker’ craze that followed (sneaker counterfeiters had a field day with this one) and was responsible for the high demand of the Nike Air Force 1 Low ‘Invisible Woman’ of 2006. More of the ESPO x Nike Air Force 2 Low as well as some of ESPO’s best works below, so take a look at this amazing footwear classic and let us know what you think.

ESPO x Nike Air Force 2 Low
Clear/Grey Stone-Light Blue

Photos: jwdanklefs

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