If you’re into skateboarding, then you already know where HUF stands within the culture. But for those of you that have never attempted an ollie in your life, HUF is one of the first skateboard brands to make a name for themselves in the early 2000s. Started by Keith Hufnagel after moving to San Francisco to pursue a career in skateboarding, HUF began as a concept store. It was a space created to hold brands that resonated with skateboard, streetwear, and sneaker communities. One of the brands it carried was Nike, which just launched its own skateboarding division in 2002. Its addition to the store helped develop an early relationship between the two newly established entities. Despite HUF pushing its own clothing and accessories to further spread its brand in 2007, the early ties with Nike stayed strong and fostered collaborative projects that still get recognized years after execution. As Nike wanted to further cement its place in the world of skateboarding, tying itself close to a pioneering brand within the culture, such as HUF, made it more beneficial for the Swoosh.
In 2004, the two brands kicked off their partnership with an exclusive run of Air Max 1 colorways. Each Air Max was released in a limited run and sold out instantly, proving the strength and appeal of the two brands to consumers. This early run of releases lead the way for more collaboration on Nike Air Max and Dunk silhouettes, with one in particular gaining the most traction.
Back in 2007, HUF put their personal West Coast touch on the Air Max 90. In an interview with StockX, HUF’s Brand Director, Hanni El Khatib, describes why they chose the Air Max sneaker rather than a SB. “There has always been a link to sneakers and skateboarding,” says El Khatib. “The Air Max 90 was always a model that Keith and our surrounding crew would rock when we weren’t out skating. It just made sense at that time.” With the intertwining of communities, picking the running model presented familiarity to both parties.
A part of an entire five-pair pack, the Nike Air Max 90 HUFquake was partnered with a Dunk Low, an Air Force 1, and an Air Max 1. What made the collection stand out was its crackling pattern that was applied throughout the sneaker’s upper. The print was added to “resemble cracks in the concrete due to earthquakes and our history with earthquakes in San Francisco, where the brand was based for many years,” says El Khatib. Designed by HUF’s very own Benny Gold at the time, the Air Max 90 HUFquake has very strong ties to the Air Jordan line. Not only did the pattern pay homage to the Air Jordan 3 and its famous elephant print, but the hits of Military Blue is also reminiscent of the Military Blue 4s that last retro’d in 2006.
Today, the Nike Air Max 90 HUFquake is highly regarded in the community as one of the top Air Max colorways of all time. Due to the sneaker’s success, Nike brought the colorway back to the Nike Air Max 90 Current Huarache and allowed customers to create their own HUFquake designs in Nike ID back in 2009. Today, likely due to the age and scarcity of the Air Max 90 HUFquake, the sneaker resale price runs in the quadruple digits, with pairs listed on StockX for as high as $1,800. When asked about any potential projects in the future between HUF and Nike, Hanni El Khatib said, “We’ll see what the future holds.”