Share

cover art for Is Nike Falling Off?

The Complex Sneakers Show

Is Nike Falling Off?

Ep. 195

Nike is still the biggest brand in sneakers by a large margin, but it feels like the Swoosh has slowed down a little in the past couple years. Where are the exciting new products? How long can Nike rely on retro? Co-hosts Joe La Puma, Brendan Dunne, and Matt Welty discuss these topics in response to a recent Business of Fashion story about Nike’s sluggish business. The trio also leak some upcoming sneakers (from Corteiz, Kobe, and Stash), dig into Jay Z’s Reeboks from the Super Bowl, and pine for the coming Nike Air Tech Challenge 2 retro.

More episodes

View all episodes

  • 205. How June Ambrose Helped Jay-Z, Missy Elliott, and Busta Become Style Icons

    01:14:34
    June Ambrose is a costume designer and creative director who’s spent 30 years elevating the style of hip hop icons. She was there with Jay Z since the beginning, she was there when Missy Elliott signed her deal with Adidas, and she was there when Busta Rhymes needed exaggerated visuals to match his energy. In this episode, she relives her long resume, reflects on her Puma work, and dishes out some style advice. Also, cohosts Joe La Puma, Brendan Dunne, and Matt Welty talk about Jack Harlow’s New Balances, upcoming Nike SB Dunks, and the LeBron James’ potential sneaker for his last season in the NBA.
  • 204. Are Travis Scott's Air Jordan 1s Still Good?

    01:13:11
    Travis Scott is finally switching up his retro Air Jordans with a new colorway of his Cactus Jack Air Jordan 1 Lows inspired by his high school colors. Does the new palette make the “Elkins” Air Jordan 1 Low his best in a while? In this episode, cohosts Joe La Puma, Brendan Dunne, and Matt Welty break down the merits of those, LaMelo Ball’s Lanvin Curb/Osiris D3-looking Puma lifestyle shoe, and the 2025 flip on the “Black Cat” Air Jordan 4. They also reveal the hidden layer underneath the A-Cold-Wall x Nike Air Max Plus by breaking down the black pair with a bit of sandpaper. In this no-guest episode, they also catch up on big sneaker news topics like Nike and Bape settling their lawsuit, Adidas’ CEO reflecting on losing the German football team, and Riccardo Tisci’s next collab.
  • 203. Aaron Cooper on Designing Nikes for Scottie Pippen, Charles Barkley, and Kevin Garnett

    01:20:33
    Aaron Cooper is a Nike design veteran who worked on genre-defining basketball sneakers for athletes like Charles Barkley, Kevin Garnett, LeBron James, and Scottie Pippen. Cooper started out as Nike’s first design intern in the 90s, ascending from there to influence classics like the Nike Free, Air More Uptempo, and Air Max Plus. Cooper talks about his long resume, his design philosophy, and what he believes is the future of the industry. He also gives updates on his current work with EQLZ and Better Guards. At the top of the episode, Joe La Puma, Brendan Dunne, and Matt Welty anticipate next year’s “Bred” Air Jordan 1 and break their moratorium on the Air Max Dn.
  • 202. Debunking Drake's Kendrick Lamar Sneaker Diss

    01:02:37
    Drake dissed Kendrick Lamar last week for being a “big stepper” with a size-7 men’s on, but it turns out the bar wasn’t actually factual. As the Rap War of 2024 now includes a footwear-related jab, co-hosts Joe La Puma, Brendan Dunne, and Matt Welty reacted to the line and also talk about the clarification, from sneaker store Rif LA, that Lamar is in fact a few sizes up from that. Also, the co-hosts discuss Nike’s Olympic rollout of its A.I.R. prototypes in Paris, the plan to have less Air Force 1s in the market, and just how good Anthony Edwards’ AE 1 is.
  • 201. How Reebok Pumps Took Over the World, With Inventor Paul Litchfield

    01:19:46
    Paul Litchfield is a mad scientist, a shoe dog with decades of experience, and the innovator who created the original Reebok Pump. In this episode, he talks about his long history in footwear and the Pump’s iconic lineage from Dee Brown and Dominique Wilkins to Jackie Chan and John Cena. Litchfield, a fireball of Irish-American energy, has truly seen it all in sneakers. Lately he’s been making footwear at GoRuck, a company that’s laser-focused on legit training gear. Ahead of the Litchfield interview, cohosts Joe La Puma, Brendan Dunne, and Matt Welty talk about the return of the “Flu Game” Air Jordan 12, the Nina Chanel Abney x Air Jordan 3, and the “Metallic” Air Jordan 5 retro.
  • 200. Ian Ginoza on Making Sneaker Magic With Virgil Abloh, Huf, and Nike

    01:03:20
    Ian Ginoza has worked in sneakers for decades, playing a part in collaborative projects with the likes of Drake, Tom Sachs, Beyonce, Ye, Frank Ocean, and more. He started the Honolulu sneaker store Kicks HI, then did stints at Converse, Nike and Adidas. Now, he’s the global vice president and creative director of pinnacle product at Vans. Ginoza has mostly worked in the background, opting to let his work speak for itself. Here, he tells the story of his life in the industry and how he ended up at Vans. Also, cohosts Joe La Puma, Brendan Dunne, and Matt Welty discuss Bode x Nike Astro Grabbers and try not to discuss the Air Max Dn. The episode is a monumental one, the 200th overall episode of the Complex Sneakers Show in all its forms.
  • 199. Kerwin Frost Talks Adidas, McDonald's, and Post Malone

    01:12:01
    Kerwin Frost—designer, wearer of big fits, talk show host—has worn many hats in the streetwear industry. Here, he talks about the realities of signing with a big brand like Adidas, making footwear with McDonald’s, and Post Malone’s total lack of footwear. Frost also gives his perspective on the many collaborators he’s seen go through Adidas, from Jonah Hill to Jerry Lorenzo. At the top of the episode, hosts Joe La Puma, Brendan Dunne, and Matt Wetly discuss Lil Nas X’s absurd half marathon sneakers, Nike’s Bape lawsuit, and Adidas trying to sign Taylor Swift.
  • Stop Hating on the Panda Dunk

    01:14:50
    Love it or hate it, the Nike Dunk Low “Panda,” the black and white colorway you’ve seen everywhere every day for the past three years, isn’t going anywhere. In this episode, cohosts Joe La Puma, Brendan Dunne, and Matt Wetly discuss the positives and negatives of the unavoidable sneaker, and react to Welty’s claim that it’s the most influential sneaker of the past five years. The group also discuss the ethics of sneaker mockups, Ben Affleck’s latest Dunk moment, and those questionable Off-White basketball sneakers.