How Supreme chooses which Nike models it collaborates on is mostly a secret known only to Supreme and Nike. It started off with an obvious choice—the Dunk—back in 2002, before expanding to Air Force 1s, Foamposite Ones and, still most curiously, a Lunar Flyknit. More recently it has trended towards the obscure and all-but-forgotten with last month’s Air Force 2 Low and now the Air Humara, a 1998 ACG trail runner that nearly wasn’t ever released at all.
By that last we’re not referring to the collaboration (which we’re guessing our late friend and ACG aficionado Gary Warnett had more than a little to do with), but to the original shoe, the first designed by longtime Nike designer Peter Fogg. In a 2011 interview, he revealed that the Air Humara was almost killed when it was still in the design stage: “It was a great feeling to see the finished Humara because it did not have a smooth road to production,” Fogg said. “At one point in a meeting my developer said he did not like the shoe and felt we should stop working on it.”
Back in 1998, ACG was just a nine-year-old category at Nike, one that was easily overshadowed in popularity by basketball and running. ACG made weird shoes for weirdos. But with Tinker Hatfield designing (his 1991 Mowabb is still the standard by which all ACG shoes are measured) and few established rules to follow, this was the category where innovation was virtually unbound.
The Air Humara—not to be confused with the oft-retroed Air Terra Humara—was a basic Air running shoe built up of rugged materials with small Swoosh branding, “AIR” embroidery on the outer heels, and lots of reflective hits. The straps that zig-zagged up the sides, extending under the midsole and forming the shoe’s eyelets, were similar to those found previously on 1993’s Adidas EQT Racing and were something of a precursor to Flywire. There was no Visible Air–understandable on a shoe that was meant to be on rocks and roots.
And while Nike Running was of course birthed on the track of Hayward Field, trail running was part of Nike DNA from the start. The earliest Nike athletes at the University of Oregon, including Steve Prefontaine, trained by taking long cross-country runs, and co-founder Bill Bowerman’s toothy waffle sole was as well-suited for off-road as on. Early Nike runners like the LDV could handle any terrain.
All of this might seem about as far removed from Supreme as it can get, but it’s not. Not really. Because while ACG may have been designed with the literal jungle in mind, it also became essential gear for the jungle of the urban variety. Raekwon famously wore a pair of Zoom Air Terra Sertigs in a Wu-Tang photo shoot—and in the very same shot, U-God can be seen sporting a black and yellow pair of Air Humaras. Killa beez indeed.
Someone at Supreme likely noticed this detail before I did, because it seems like someone at Supreme always notices everything. So the Humara returns on Thursday in a neon Power Rangers array of colors, Supreme co-branded, with the proper ACG trail gear to match. They’ll be $170, double their original price. Given what we know now, though, we should be happy they exist at all.