Nike’s Native American focused N7 range is getting ready to launch a fresh collection of kicks. This season’s drops are distinguished by their inclusion of brand new sneakers designed by legendary Nike designer Tinker Hatfield. Hatfield created the Zoom Heritage basketball sneaker and the Air Zoom Down Rock “a skate-streetwear hybrid”.
In addition to Hatfield’s designs, the collection also includes N7 editions of the Cortez and Air Max 270.
Look for the collection to launch on the 21st of June.
Highlighting this season’s Nike N7 footwear collection are two new silhouettes designed by Tinker Hatfield: the Nike Zoom Heritage N7, a basketball shoe, and the Nike Air Zoom Down Rock N7, a skate-streetwear hybrid. The idea to create the shoes came about when Nike N7 General Manager Sam McCracken approached Hatfield and asked if he’d bring his peerless approach to designing original footwear to the collection.
“I immediately thought, if I’m going to work on a basketball shoe and a multi-purpose shoe, that I would start from scratch and do it with a certain criteria and give it the same energy that I would in designing for a professional athlete,” says Hatfield. “It’s ended up being one of my favorite projects at Nike.”
That technical detail for the grassroots-level athlete is embodied in the Nike Zoom Heritage N7. Its felt aesthetic is built for “rez ball,” a style of basketball played in tribal communities and elsewhere, and known for its physicality, fast-paced nature and pressure defense. Moreover, the play connects to a fandom that’s fervent in Native American circles and, in its spirit, encourages participation in the game.
“Basketball is king in tribal communities across the United States and Canada,” says McCracken. “On reservations, schools always have a basketball team, and kids always want to play. Whether teams play at home or on the road, the gyms are always packed. When Tinker shared with me his passion to create a unique shoe for Native American kids who love basketball, I knew that we’d have something special.”
Hatfield also brainstormed with musical artist Taboo, an N7 ambassador, on a shoe that would thrive in multiple settings, whether on the stage, for b-boying or for casual wear. Born from that collaboration was the Nike Air Zoom Down Rock N7, a skate-streetwear silhouette driven by Paul Rodriguez lineage. Tooling was carefully matched with materials; the suede was selected for its durability and its versatility to go straight into a dressed-down look.
In their designs, the two silhouettes establish a broader connection to the Native American community, fulfilling an aim of the Nike N7 mission — inspiring the community, in McCracken’s words, to be the truest version of itself.
The Nike Zoom Heritage N7
The Nike Air Zoom Down Rock N7
The indigo heel wash of the Nike Air Max 270 references the traditional color association with elemental forces, such as the sky and water.
The Swoosh of the Nike Cortez N7 features a collection of symbols meaningful to N7 ambassador Taboo, who was a muse for the collection.