The History of the Nike "What The?" Series

Each and every Nike shoe featuring the concept.

It started with skateboarding. Next, it became a staple of basketball. And now it’s even hit soccer. Nike’s “What The?” series, which mashes up different colorways, themes, and inspirations on a single pair of shoes, has become one of the brand’s most recognizable (and possibly overused) concepts. And with the recent news of the “What The” Mercurial Superfly, it’s showing no signs of slowing down. Here’s a complete rundown of the history of the line.

Nike SB Dunk Low

Year: 2007

When Nike Skateboarding introduced this colorway mash-up concept, nobody could have predicted that it would go on to become a staple for Nike Basketball.

Nike Zoom Kobe 7 System

Year: 2012

Nike brought the "What The?" concept back after a five-year hiatus in 2012, allowing Kobe Bryant's then-sig to don the mash-up style.

Nike Zoom KD 4

Year: Unreleased

It may have never released, but thanks to KD himself, we got a glimpse of a "What The" edition of his fourth signature shoe. 

Nike LeBron 9

Year: Unreleased

The first time "What The" came to the LeBron line, it never hit retail.

Nike What The Max Pack

Year: 2013

The What The Max Pack may not follow the exact same formula as most of the kicks in this list, but the multi-colored uppers seen on the Nike Air Max 90 Hyperfuse, Air Max 95+ BB, and Air Max 2012 offer a similar colorful feel.

Nike KD 5

Year: 2013

KD may be popular with kids, and this sneaker may appear to be a perfect match for this younger fan base, but its release was men’s only, and in limited quantities.

Nike LeBron 10 Premium

Year: 2013

LeBron’s first MVP shoe was a black and white edition, with “Witness” graphics, of the LeBron 6. His fourth was a bit more colorful.

Nike Kobe 8

Year: 2013

While still limited, the "What The" Kobe 8 was one of the most accessible versions of the concept, and offered maximum contrast from the left to right side.

Air Max Trainer 94

Year: 2014

Leading the way in the “silhouettes we never thought we’d see in a ‘What The’ colorway” is this ’90s crosstraining staple.

Nike KD 6

Year: 2014

A total of 35 different graphics and colorways were combined to make up the design of the “What The KD” 6, which was reportedly the most accessible release in the concept’s history. 

Nike LeBron 11

Year: 2014

The release of the "What The" LeBron 11 came following much anticipation, and numerous release date changes. 

Nike Kobe 9 Elite

Year: 2015

Unlike many shoes in "What The" series which featured drastically different lefts and rights, the main variation in the Kobe 9 Elite came from the medial to lateral sides of each shoe.

Nike KD 7

Year: 2015

The "What The" KD 7 featured not only the colors from numerous other releases, but even different molded parts, as seen on the straps from both the Aunt Pearl and All-Star versions.  

Nike LeBron 12

Year: 2015

Rather than simply mashing up previous colorways of the silhouette, the LeBron 12 “What The” took a different approach by incorporating nods to LeBron’s childhood heros.  

Nike Kobe 10 Elite

Year: 2015

Following a rather tame “What The” Kobe 9, the 10 took a much more in-your-face approach, with multi-colored panels, inside-out style stitching, and non-matching lefts and rights.  

Nike Dunk "Doernbecher"

Year: 2015

The “What The” Doernbecher, which was limited to 11 pairs and only available via charity auction, incorporated the 13 different Nike SB Doernbecher sneakers that released over the years, pulling design cues from each of them.

Nike Air Max 95 "Greedy"

Year: 2015

For the 20th anniversary of the Air Max 95, Nike launched the “Greedy” version, which incorporated many of the models most beloved colorway variations into one.

Nike Mercurial Superfly

Year: 2016

Nike’s “What The Mercurials” incorporate 18 different colors, inspired by the history of the line–the most colors ever found on a single Nike Soccer cleat.