The partnership between global sportswear giants Nike and the Nigeria Football Federation has rocketed to a higher level with the global release of the Nike Air Max 95 “Naija” sneakers.
The news sneakers honour Nigeria’s proud sporting tradition and global recognition as a football nation. Nigeria’s national football team, the Super Eagles, has been led by some of Africa’s most iconic players like Jay Jay Okocha, Kanu Nwankwo, Obafemi Martins, the late Rashidi Yekini and many more. The team first gained global recognition when they appeared at the FIFA World Cup for the first time in 1994 and were voted the second most entertaining team, despite being eliminated in the second round.
In 1996, Nigeria’s place in global football was cemented when they became the first African team to win the gold medal in men’s football at the Olympic Games.
But it was in 2018 that the world experienced a “Nigeria-mania” when the Nigeria Football Federation teamed up with Nike to release a new team jersey ahead of that year’s FIFA World Cup in Russia. The bold green, white and black design was hugely popular with both football fans and streetwear enthusiasts and broke records with 3 million pre-orders for the jersey worldwide before the tournament even started.
Putting that into perspective, English Premier League giants Manchester United sold the most jerseys globally in 2016, with 2.85 million sales.
Earlier this year, Nike released a brand new range of Nigeria’s home and away jerseys, as well as an apparel collection and the reception has been equally encouraging. They have now followed this up with the release of the Air max 95 “Naija” sneakers.
The sneakers are covered in a bold green-heavy colorway comprising “Pine Green,” “Black,” “Sub Lime,” and “White.” Combined, the Air Max 95 offers prints and patterns that nod to the aforementioned football kit — zig-zags are added onto the bottom of the upper and a knitted graphic appears in the webbing eyestays and on the Air unit on the outsole.
Elsewhere on the sneaker, a snakeskin-like texture is used for one of the Air Max 95’s waves, as well as black ripstop for the tongue. The tongue is also finished with a complementing green-and-white Airmax patch.
Black suede has been used on the toe box, while black thread makes the mini swoosh on the rear-quarter stand out against the green upper. Rounding out the pair is a black midsole that’s finished with “Sub Lime” green accents on the outsole, as well as “Pine Green” tinting to the Air bubble units that run the full length of the sole. Inside, the crest of the Nigeria Football Federation is prominently displayed.
The Nike Air Max 95 “Naija” was released on September 28 and sells for £149 (approx. $193) at retailers.
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