Music artists collaborating with brands to drop a special shoe, or entire lineups, are nothing new and we highlight the 25 best from the past decade! From rappers to DJ’s to punk/rock musicians, they’ve all been blessed over the years to work with the top brands in the sneaker world and some of these releases are absolute all-time classics. Take a look at the complete rundown and let us know your personal favorite or which would rank as your top choice in the comments below!
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?uestlove x Nike Dunk High Pack
Release Date: 3/4/2011
?uestlove, drummer for the legendary Roots crew, is no stranger to a Nike collab. Being an old school sneakerhead himself, he had already designed an Air Force 1 Low back in 2008. But, it’s his 2011 trio of Dunk High’s that make this list. Decked out with Questo’s dope Afro logo on both the quarter panel and tongue, the standout from the pack was the red pair, which differed from the yellow and black pairs with a unique midfoot-covering strap. The red pair was thought to initially be a Japan-only release, but thankfully for stateside fans, they did see a limited release with a few US retailers.
Kanye West x BAPE Bapesta
Release Date: 1/2/2007
Yeezy’s first entry on this list was a perfect pairing and, naturally, a crazy limited classic. Working with Nigo and BAPE, ‘Ye got his hands on the Bapesta and put together this dope chocolate-colored collab showcasing his iconic Dropout Bear logo. And, as with any Kanye-designed collab, this one is an absolute monster on the resale market. That is, if you can even track a pair down.
Odd Future x Vans Syndicate Old Skool Pro "S" Collection
Release Date: 6/3/2013
Even before this collab, Tyler and the Odd Future crew had shown tons of love for Vans, particularly the Old Skool low. So, this release was a perfect fit. Matching gum soles with premium suede uppers, the capsule included four different colorways. And with their legions of fans, these sold out with the quickness. NASTY.
The Melvins x Nike SB Dunk High
Release Date: September 2005
The designers at Nike SB really showed their musical tastes with this collab. Teaming up with the under-appreciated ’80s punk/metal rockers The Melvins, they put together two dope colorways of the SB Dunk Hi using symbols representative of the band’s influential sound. We go with the black pair, complete with skull and cross bones on the toe box, as one of the best from the past decade.
Jordan II "The Way I Am" Eminem
Release Date: 12/18/2008
Limited to 313 pairs, this Jordan II colorway, made to promote Em’s “The Way I Am” album release, is often overshadowed by it’s “Encore” IV sibling. Though this collab was actually released to the public, albeit in limited numbers, many forgot it even existed.
adidas Pro Model "Big Sean"
Release Date: 8/31/2013
Another rapper getting the signature sneaker treatment is Big Sean, with his adidas endorsement. Sean’s second collab with the three-stripes knocked it out of the park with this black on black Pro Model 2. With a black Italian leather upper covered with a debossed snakeskin print, and topped off with gun metal accents, even priced at $160, this collab moved units…super quick.
Head Automatica x Nike Air Force 1 High
Release Date: Spring 2005
Though most of the dopest Air Force 1 collabs tend to be of the low top variety, these high tops, made for the band Head Automatica, are on the grail list of AF heads in the know. And, with rumored production limited to only 48 pairs, as a friends and family release, this one may remain nothing more than a bullet point on those wish lists.
adidas x A$AP Rocky x Jeremy Scott Wings 2.0 "Black Flag"
Release Date: 9/28/2013
After years of rapping about his affinity for high fashion, it was only a matter of time before A$AP Rocky tried his hand at designing his own sneakers. And, having been seen everywhere from the streets to the runways rocking Jeremy Scott designs, it’s only natural that Rocky’s first sneaker is an iteration of the infamous JS Wings silhouette. Nicknamed the “Black Flag” and done up in a murdered-out faux kevlar material, this may be A$AP Rocky’s first design, but it likely won’t be his last.
Nike Sportswear DJ AM vs. DJ Premier "Rivalry Pack"
Release Date: 1/9/2009
Legends in their own right, DJs Premier and AM got their respective shine in sneaker form, with 2009′s East/West “Rivalry Pack”. Repping the East, hip hop icon DJ Premier kept it real with a dope pair of black Air Force 1 Lows. And, out of the West, drawing inspiration from his insane sneaker collection, the late great DJ AM spun up one of the most sought-after Dunk Highs of all time. Paired with matching Serrato vinyl plaques, this pack brought the star power, with the music cred to back it up.
MF Doom x Nike SB Dunk High
Release Date: 2007
The elusive one, rapper MF Doom was blessed with the chance to work with Nike SB on his own Dunk High in 2007 and these jewel’s remain a cult classic to this day. Featuring a dark color theme for the most part, the red laces add the perfect contrast to the mix while Doom’s signature logo can be found stitched on the ankle, as well as his famed mask on the tongue.
Vashtie Kola x Air Jordan II "Lavender"
Release Date: 10/2/2010
Though not a musician herself, Vashtie Kola has been making moves in the music industry for over a decade now from DJing to directing to production. This shoe also marked the first Air Jordan collaboration designed by a woman…doing big things.
Kanye West x Louis Vuitton
Release Date: 7/1/2009
“Cause it’s Louis Vuitton Don night / So we gon’ do everything that Kan like”. Fresh off his first smash success with Nike, Yeezy stepped his fashion game up, designing three new silhouettes, in two colorways each for LV. Consisting of the Don (of course), the Jasper and the Mr. Hudson, these six gems dropped in the Summer of 2009 and all retailed at over $800 (with one colorway of the Jasper at almost $1,200). “Damn, them new loafers hurt my pocket!”
DJ Clark Kent x LeBron 8 "James Dean" and "112"
Release Date: 2011
Though most never make it to retail, DJ Clark Kent gets his hand – and infamous “112″ colorway – on numerous Nike silhouettes. But, throughout 2011, his work with the LeBron 8 really made waves. First, he one-upped himself, and his take on the LeBron 7, by blessing the 8 with the notorious 112 colors. Then, he dropped another friends and family gem with his denim LeBron 8 “James Dean”. Genius…pure and simple.
Bad Brains x Supreme x Vans Sk8-Hi Collection
Release Date: 4/24/2008
Love them or hate them, when it comes to musical collabs, Supreme puts in work both from a historical perspective, as well as an execution standpoint. This Bad Brains collaborative capsule with Vans certainly proves that sentiment. With Bad Brains being one of the pioneers of the hardcore punk music scene, this trio of Rasta-colored Vans Sk8-His are the perfect sneaker tribute to show respect to the legendary band.
Nike Air Max 90 "Tongue 'N Cheek" - Dizzee Rascal
Release Date: 9/18/2009
Back in 2009, Nike gave award-winning artist Dizzee Rascal the chance to design a colorway of one of his favorite silhouettes, the Air Max 90. Made to coincide with the release of his “Tongue ‘N Cheek” album, this awesome makeup of the AM90 sports the same nickname. Done up in a combo of premium off-white leather and high-knap suede, this collab is a must.
Reebok x G-Unit G6
Release Date: 2004
Oh, you thought this wave of signature sneakers for rappers was a new trend? Following the success of the S. Carter collection, Reebok (or, RBK) proceeded to drop another rapper-endorsed signature, this time with 50 Cent. Though less successful than the S-Dots, the G-Unit line had several successful silhouettes and colorways, including the debut G6.
Reebok Ice Cream Low "Beeper Flavor"
Release Date: 2004
Keeping it limited, fashionable and flashy was the name of the game with Pharrell’s Ice Cream line of sneakers, as he became the third hip-hop heavyweight in a span of two years to get a deal with Reebok in the early 2000s. While a lot of the kicks featured dollar bills, diamonds or dice, the “Beeper Flavor” iteration caused quite a stir and these were a must back in the day if you could get your hands on a pair.
De La Soul x Nike SB Dunk High Pro
Release Date: November 2005
Following their low top counterpart from September 2005, November brought the coveted De La Soul SB Dunk in a high top model. Utilizing the familiar “3 Feet High and Rising” album artwork on the heel panels, and featuring an interesting use of elephant print, this SB is definitely a sought-after classic.
Eminem x Nike Air Burst "Shady Burst"
Release Date: 2003
A true Nike-head, Eminem has several collabs in the vault. Going back as far as 2003, Em teamed up with the Swoosh to create a special version of the Nike Air Burst, which became known as the “Shady Burst”.
Run DMC x adidas Superstar 80s “My adidas”
Release Date: 11/11/2011
The terms icon and legend get thrown around a lot nowadays, but adidas’s 2011 Superstar release certainly fit the bill. Created in celebration of the 25th anniversary of Run DMC’s 1986 hit “My adidas”, these shell toes honored true hip hop history. With production of only 1,986 units, and topped off with that awesome gold lace dubrae, this collaboration is an example of how to do it right.
Reebok S. Carter
Release Date: 11/21/2003
Always one to push the envelope, back in 2003, Hova became the first non-athlete to get a signature shoe from Reebok. The “S. Carter Collection by Rbk” was launched on November 21, 2003 and quickly became the fastest-selling shoe in the company’s history up to that point.
Nike Air Yeezy 2
Release Date: 6/9/2012
After the smash success of the original, the Nike Air Yeezy 2 needs no introduction. Kanye started the summer of 2012 breaking hearts, bank accounts, and website servers with two colorways of his second Nike signature. Though the Black/Pink (or “Blink”) colorway returned, in addition to a new Zen Grey makeup, Ye still isn’t done with the 2. That elusive third all-red colorway is still out there, unreleased and ready to break hearts all over again.
Pharrell x Nike Dunk High
Release Date: January 2004
The third in Nike’s 2004 “Artist Series” capsule, the Nike Dunk High “Pharell”, is a true banger. Though it’s nicknamed the “Pharell”, all three members of the Neptunes had a hand in designing them. Limited to just 1,050 individually numbered pairs, sporting a clean, high quality uppers and subtle branding, this collab is certainly a classic.
Jordan IV "Encore" Eminem
Release Date: 2004
Without question, the highest profile Eminem collaboration, the Air Jordan IV “Encore” is an absolute sneaker grail for many a Jordan head. Unfortunately for most of us without Shady’s number in our phones, these remain nothing more than a dream. Created to celebrate the release of Eminem’s 2004 “Encore” album, rumored production of only 50 pairs, distributed to friends and family, ensured that these beauties never even made it to retail.
Nike Air Yeezy
Release Date: 4/6/2009
Though, as we’ve shown here, he wasn’t the first rapper with his own signature sneaker, no one – including Jay-Z – did it as big as Yeezus. Teaming up with the Swoosh in April 2009, Kanye and Nike made history (and subsequently, a ton of cash) with the massively successful Nike Air Yeezy. Dropping in three colowrays, over the course of the spring, ‘Ye set a precedent that seemingly, only he can match.