Houston artist Travis Scott has been a collaborative machine in recent years, producing merchandise for McDonald’s, branded Reeses’ Puffs cereal boxes, a virtual concert for Epic Games’ Fortnite, and more.
However, the most frequent collaborations Scott does are not with any of these companies, but the Nike brand. Over the years, Scott has produced a total of 9 shoes with the Swoosh, and those are only the publicly released pairs- several F&F (friends and family) pairs have been sighted on the feet of those close to the artist. In addition, Scott has made merchandise with Nike on many separate occasions, often accompanying a newly releasing shoe collaboration. With so many shoes released, it begs the question: which one is the best?
An objective answer is hard to get, but public reception is certainly a factor. Every time a shoe collaboration drops with Scott’s name on it, they are guaranteed to sell out almost instantly in regards to online releases, while filling up huge, multi-night lines outside of physical retailers. However, despite the overall popularity, there are a few pairs that stand out from the rest. These are the reverse swoosh Jordan 1 Highs, the “Cactus Jack Records” Air Force 1, the Jordan 6’s with a side pocket, the blue-speckled Jordan 4’s, and the paisley-plaid SB Dunk Lows. These five pairs have proven to be the most popular and sought after, some fetching resale prices into the thousands of dollars despite retailing at normal prices due to limited retail availability.
CACTUS JACK x AIR JORDAN 4
The Cactus Jack x Jordan 4’s were the earliest release out of all of these, in June of 2018. The shoes had a unique colorway that consisted of a mostly blue upper with black lacing and webbing, with a combined black and white midsole and a red interior. They also had a speckle graphic on the lacing and lacing components, as well as the signature Cactus Jack logo on the backside of the left shoe. The release of these was limited and had garnered hype for months, leading to a very high resale price and a wait for new colorways to release. As of today, the shoe has been seen in alternate purple and brown colorways, but these have never been made publicly available.
CACTUS JACK x AIR JORDAN 6
Another collaboration between Scott and Jordan Brand, this 2019 shoe reimagined the original silhouette more so than the Jordan 4, mainly with the addition of a side pocket sitting on both outward-facing sides of the pair. Putting chunky pockets on a shoe and silhouette as revered as the Jordan 6 Retro may have been a risky move, but Scott’s military-inspired style paid off and the shoes were an instant success. Currently released only in the Olive colorway, speculation of a release in yellow is building and images of the pair have been leaked online.
CACTUS JACK x AIR JORDAN 1
Another 2019 release, this Brown/White/Black pair of the classic Jordan 1’s were given Travis Scott logos at the heel and a variety of packaged laces, allowing the owner to personalize the shoe. The biggest change was the inversion of the Nike swoosh, and this change makes the pair instantly recognizable and unique. These were perhaps Scott’s biggest release with Nike, and they still have the highest resale out of all of these. The shoe was on many sneakers of the year lists, and is, in my opinion, perhaps the best Cactus Jack and Nike have to offer.
CACTUS JACK x AIR FORCE 1 LOW
This pair of customized Air Force 1’s were dubbed “Cactus Jack Records”, a nod to Scott’s label and representative of the logo in Russian on the upper. This shoe experimented with color blocking and comprises different panels including Black, Blue, Purple, Wheat, and more. Furthermore, the pair have been given a buttoned strap at the heel, as well as a zippered pocket on the laces that can be removed. The shoe again proved to be very popular, despite its varied design and is a good culmination of Scott’s design inspirations.
CACTUS JACK x NIKE SB DUNK LOW
The most recent shoe on this list, released at the beginning of 2020. These Dunks take some design cues from the Cactus Jack Records Air Force 1, with varied color paneling throughout. This time, though, the colorway is more paisley oriented, with black variants of the pattern surrounding the upper. There are also white and brown plaid panels at the sides, with a light brown Cactus Jack tongue patch on both sneakers. The shoes still feature a portion of the Russian text and also have thick, braided laces that could be mistaken for rope. These design elements are intended to give a Southern kind of feel, which makes sense given Scott’s birthplace. They were released at only select skate shops and retailers, driving their resale and popularity through the roof.
Final Thoughts on Travis Scott & Nike
If you look past the hype, the reality is that these shoes are truly well designed, retaining what made the original silhouettes so good while still adding new elements and designs that feel very Travis Scott. Of these five, the most popular is also my personal favorite, the Air Jordan 1. Already one of the most iconic shoes of all time, Scott’s changes produced a release that didn’t stray too far, yet also didn’t change too little. Of course, the price is rather ridiculous, sitting at a $1919 lowest ask on StockX currently, but in terms of design, I believe these Jordans beat all the others.