While New York-based Chef David Chang has a love for food, what may not be as obvious is the culinary expert’s affinity for Nike. Since 1987, the Momofuku founder and head chef cites having formed a love for the brand. His long-standing relationship with the skate community and the Nike SB team eventually led to a recently launched collaborative shoe: the Nike SB Dunk High Pro “Momofuku.”
Chang cites the first sneaker with visible Nike Air material, created so that runners could actually see the shoe’s cushioning technology, as “one of the coolest things I’d ever seen.” Since then, the chef’s loyalty to the brand has only intensified, especially as his first restaurant became home to various individuals in the skate scene. The Momofuku Noodle Bar in the East Village became somewhat of a hub for food and skate culture to intermingle — a dream combination for Chang.
The sporty and nontraditional aesthetic to which Chang gravitates in the kitchen heavily inspired the design of the high-top sneaker. Instead of the usual whites or blues typically seen in restaurants, Chang’s team wears dark gray — the same gray that inspired the ground color of the Nike SB Dunk High Pro “Momofuku.” “We wanted it to suggest an apron, basically,” Chang said.
Nods to the chef’s Fuku and Ssäm Bar restaurants are also signature details. Denoted on the shoe’s sock liners via the numbers “163” and “207” are the addresses of each location, respectively.
“Both addresses hold so much meaning for Momofuku: Noodle Bar and Ssäm Bar established our DNA. 163 First Avenue has served as our spiritual home since 2004 as the original location of Noodle Bar, then Ko and now Fuku. It continues to be a place where we try out new ideas. We also wouldn’t be where we are today without the lessons we’ve learned at Ssäm Bar, which this summer celebrates its 11th anniversary,” explained Chang.
Holding its own on the back of the shoe’s heel is the Momofuku peach logo, which makes the collaboration Chang’s first venture into branded merchandise. “I don’t want to throw our logo on, like, a T-shirt,” he said. “This one feels like it counts.”
But Chang’s relationship to Nike and the skate community is not limited to his attire. Each June in NYC, Chang partners with Nike SB to provide food for Go Skateboarding Day, in which thousands of skateboarders take part in contests and open skate sessions. This year, the skaters at Coleman Skate Park in NYC will chow down on Fuku’s spicy fried chicken sandwiches.
On June 22, a limited number of the “Momofuku” were released at Fuku. Starting today, the shoe is available at select Nike retailers and at a price of approximately $110.
Nike today also unveiled a new way to cop exclusive sneakers via the brand’s Nike+ SNKRS app. The first sneaker that users can find using the new app will be the above model.
According to nike.com, the app unveils the opportunity to purchase certain coveted sneakers only when a select image is viewed via the camera function on SNKRS, thus unlocking the shoe. So, for example, when Chang’s Fuku East Village menu, or an image of it, is viewed through SNKRS, an interactive 3D model of the Nike SB Dunk High Pro “Momofuku” will be overlaid. This will allow users to purchase the shoe while supplies last.