Fashion collaborations are usually successful due to three things: the partnership of two high-end labels, an instantly recognizable design, and the rush of a limited release. Think Supreme x Louis Vuitton, a collection that seems to only get more valuable, even after three years. It just doesn’t make sense then that athletically-inclined Nike and mall favorite J.Crew has come out with such a popular sneaker, but their Killshot 2 continues to defy expectations.
The shoe was first introduced in 2009 and sold exclusively at J.Crew’s retail and online stores for just under $100. Sneaker law dictates that the wider the release, the more unappealing a shoe is. But for 11 long years, every restock of this understated shoe has always sold out. Your average Joe loves them, sneakerheads love them, and there’s no animosity or competition shared between the two––except when it comes to who’s first at the counter.
The J.Crew website lists the Killshot 2 on their website as “your go-anywhere, do-everything shoe for coffee runs, nights out and everywhere in between,” and it’s pretty damn accurate. If you still don’t have a handle on why normcore is such a lasting movement, all you need is one look to understand the appeal.
The OG Nike Killshot was actually just your run-of-the-mill tennis shoe in the 70s. Although reviving a classic silhouette is pretty much the norm for them, it’s the small tweaks that really make the difference. They traded athletic mesh for J.Crew’s white leather, replaced the colored lining to a pristine white, and resoled the package in a brown gum sole. Along with the trademark swoosh, it all comes together to make one understated, unreasonably iconic shoe. Retro sells, and it pays to go back to your roots.
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Despite their mass-production, they’re so beloved by collectors that they’re listed down as carrying the holy-grail status. The Nike Killshot 2 joins the accessible design hall of fame, bumping soles with the likes of the Converse All-Star, adidas’ Stan Smiths, and its older brother the Nike Air Force 1. They’re all rare examples that a good shoe doesn’t have to be flashy.
Although the Killshot 2 was deemed a massive success for J.Crew, the company couldn’t keep their business afloat on one pair of shoes alone. The retail giant filed for bankruptcy in early May, and while the company was struggling even before the pandemic hit, store closures due to COVID-19 delivered the final blow. Sneakerheads won’t have to worry, as their collaborators will be taking the reins on this one. Only the blue version has made its way back to Nike’s stores, but we wouldn’t be surprised if yet another restock will bring in more colorways.
The legacy of J.Crew will still carry on, and while we'll definitely miss the rest of their catalog, one of their icons is here to stay––they’ll just be selling at another brand’s shelves.
Photos from nike.com