FOR LOVE OR MONEY? FUTURA AND THE NIKE DUNK
AFTER THE LONGEST ANTICIPATION OF THIS OFF-WHITE X FUTURA COLLAB, WHICH HAS LASTED FOR A GOOD 3/4 YEARS NOW, WE FINALLY HAVE OUR ANSWER. THE SHOES WILL NOT BE RELEASING TO THE PUBLIC AND ONLY 8 PAIRS WILL INSTEAD BE AUCTIONED OFF THROUGH SOTHEBY’S TO BENEFIT THE VIRGIL ABLOH FOUNDATION.
GIVEN HOW RARE AND HOW SPECIAL IT IS TO SEE THE RELEASE OF A DUNK WITH THE FL ON THE HEEL, I THOUGHT WHY NOT TURN BACK THE CLOCK AND LOOK BACK AT FUTURA’S HISTORY WITH THE MODEL.
BUT BEFORE THAT, QUICK INTRO ON THE ARTIST.
FUTURA2000 was born and raised in New York City, and discovered the art of graffiti in NY subway yards as a teenager in the 1970s. FUTURA WAS INSPIRED BY KUBRICK’S ICONIC FILM ‘2001: A SPACE ODYSSEY’ FOR HIS CHOICE OF ARTIST NAME back when the 2000s seemed like a far removed future.
In his 50+ year long career, Futura has lived through all the stages of street culture in the heart of NYC, and has closely collaborated with fashion greats Nigo, Virgil Abloh and so many others. It’s actually Futura’s close relationship with Nigo and ultimately Japan that brings us to the first FL Dunks, the 2004 FLOM SB Dunk Highs.
The FLOM celebrated the opening of the artist’s fashion label ‘Futura Laboratories’ store, in Fukuoka, Japan and was produced in only 24 units which were gifted, not sold, to Friends and Family who made it to the store opening.
The pair was part of the Silver Box era of Nike SB.
The uppers are made up of premium brown leather panels, a white swoosh and the legendary canvas currency print on the inside panels.
There was also an extremely limited skateboard deck with the same Futura currency print.
The currency mashup is obviously the main design feature, and brings us to the message behind the shoes.
FOR LOVE OR MONEY is the question that Futura raises for the sneaker and streetwear community at a time where resell culture was truly emerging.
It’s amazing how this message is still so relevant 20 years later, and probably always will be.
There are two major misconceptions surrounding these dunks:
- The FLOM acronym stands for ‘FOR LOVE OR MONEY’, not FOR LOVE OF MONEY as some might believe.
- And the FL branding embroidered on the heel has nothing to do with the FLOM name, but is simply the short for Futura Laboratories.
The OG FLOMs are probably the 2nd most sought after and expensive Nike SB in existence, following the Paris SB, although personally I believe the FLOM is more valuable given there were only 24 pairs versus 202 for the Paris and is attached to a true legend of street culture in Futura.
In any case, these will run you anywhere from 60 to 90,000$ to acquire…
Where do you guys rank the FLOMs in SB Dunk history? Let me know in the comments!
Fast forward 5 years, another FLOM Dunk was set to release:
LIVESTRONG FLOM + WHITE SAMPLE
In 2009, Livestrong and Nike are in the middle of their fundraising partnership which lasted from 2004 to 2013. Livestrong was Lance Armstrong’s foundation for cancer research and
Nike Livestrong products were always characterized by the systematic use of black and yellow in reference to the colors of Armstrong’s jersey as a then cycling champion.
A few limited Nike releases from previous years were remastered into Livestrong versions, among which were the Mr Cartoon AF1s, the Busy P AF1s and the legendary FLOM Dunks. All these pairs came in identical Livestrong special black and yellow boxes.
Interestingly, the 2004 FLOM Dunk was a Nike SB, and was then converted into a regular Dunk for the 2009 Livestrong release. A part from the colorway, the actual currency print is pretty much identical to the original. One of the main differences is that the FL branding is printed, not embroidered, and only appears on one side instead of both, as Futura’s signature is printed on the other heel.
I’m not sure how limited this pair was, it does seem like it was a rather exclusive top-tier release at stores such as Concepts and UNDFTD, but it also released at Footlocker judging by this youtube video, so it’s difficult to have an idea of exact numbers. My guess would be in the low thousands, perhaps somewhere in the 500 to 2,000 range? If you are interested in a pair, make sure to check out my website SneakerDenn.com, I pretty much have a full size run from size US9 to 12 at the moment.
There was also a white look-see sample which is absolutely NUTS. According to a SneakerNews article from 2010, the sample had sold for only 800$ on ebay auction at the time…. Today, these are worth at least just as much as the real FLOMs, if not more, given how rare the sample is.
Fast forward 10 years later to 2019.
OFF-WHITE x FUTURA
The Dunks were revealed to the public in June 2019 during Virgil’s Off-White Paris FW show. Back then I wasn’t even remotely in the sneaker game, and didn’t know anything about Dunks, let alone owned any. That’s how long ago it was. The rapper Sheck Wes was the first look of the show and revealed the orange colorway to the public for the first time, shortly followed by the Carolina pair worn by another model.
So the set consists of two colorways: a UNC pair and a Syracuse pair. The original UNC version that we saw back then seemed to be a tribute to vintage judging by the yellow/cream hues on the white panels of the shoe. Virgil himself had mentioned in a post on Instagram that the VNTG pack from 2008, which pioneered the ‘fake-aging’ Dunk look, served him as inspiration to release a Pine green colorway, so this could be a reference to this new-era of vintage.
It was actually thanks to this post that I managed to connect with Virgil which was absolutely surreal to me.
However, the final version of the UNC pair that is being auctioned off at Sotheby’s turns out to have the same design as the Syracuse, with Futura’s trademark graffiti touch being the main design feature.
The Syracuse orange and obsidian colorway had previously been seen on a high top Dunk in 1999 and on a low top in 2004. It seems that Virgil always had a soft spot for Syracuse Dunks: he used to wear the 2016 retro a lot right leading up to the Off-White Dunks release in 2019, was definitely referencing Syracuse with this Futura collab, and even copped this pair of 2006 Reverse Syracuse iDs from me in 2020.
I’m a sucker for Reverse colorways and Syracuse orange as well, so these felt extra-special and I was so happy that they went to Virgil. I don’t think he ever wore them, but it was such a special moment for me given the huge role Virgil played in my personal introduction to sneakers and Dunks.
Last year you could make this colorway on Nike By You, so I had the idea of producing 24 pairs and making it like a hyperstrike release the old-fashioned way but I never ended up doing that and have just been selling them individually, so if you’d like a pair just hit me up on instagram.
Anyways, coming back to the Futuras, the UNC colorway had previously existed in three versions: two high top one in 1999, one of which was an NYC edition, and one 2004 release.
Like I mentioned earlier, Futura is a true New York artist, and perhaps it isn’t a coincidence that both colorways have a relation to New York. (Syracuse is a university in New York state and bears the same traditional NYC orange and blue colors like the Knicks, Mets and Rangers.
The main touch of modernity on the pairs definitely lies in the translucent outsoles through which we can read both Virgil’s and Futura’s signatures.
All in all, these are two pairs of shoes that I truly wanted so bad. But unless someone at Nike or Off White blesses me with a pair (never say never), my guess is these will be an unobtainable grail value wise.
Let me guys know how much you think these will go for at the auction? My initial guess was somewhere in the 10-15 thousands, but some anticipate prices to reach upwards of 50,000 dollars. I’m excited to see how that plays out.
Before I go, very quick mention on the few other Dunks that Futura has worked on:
-this 2003 SB Dunk Low,
- the 2004 UNKLE SB, of which there was a super rare sample low top, and the released hightop version.
-2005 Stash x Futura Nike iD dunk.