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Nike x Lebedev

Designer Artemy Lebedev reimagines the iconic Nike Air Max.

Last March Nike launched “Vote Back,” inviting Air Max connoisseurs worldwide to vote for the return of one classic sneaker. This year they have launched “Vote Forward,” a design competition for an Air Max that “challenges the status quo and embraces the spirit of creative revolution.” Nike invited 12 international creatives to the company’s world headquarters and tasked the artists, designers, DJs, and retailers with reimagining the iconic sneaker. 

It is now up to consumers to vote on their favorite, with the winning design going into production as Nike’s newest Air Max. The so-called “Revolutionairs” include the Moscow-based designer Artemy Lebedev, who currently sits in second place on the leaderboard, trailing Los Angeles shop owner Sean Wotherspoon with his retro design inspired by Nike kicks of the 1980s.

Known for traveling, blogging and a love of salty language, Lebedev took his favorite silhouette, that of the Air Max 97, and added a reflective black upper and a zip-up lace covering. The transparent side panel of the Air VaporMax sole creates a window onto the unique insole, adding a flash of color. He describes his design as: “Rapid. Bold. Quick.”

Founded in Moscow in 1995, Art. Lebedev Studio offers industrial, graphic, web and interface design. Projects range from redrawing the Moscow metro map to designing the experimental Scout helicopter. The studio chooses design challenges that interest them: “As a matter of principle, we don’t work with private persons, political parties, religious organizations, jerk-offs, and those whose views conflict with ours.”