An excerpt from

Promo Only: A Visual History of Hip-Hop Memorabilia

Andrew Emery and Dan Greenpeace

NIKE & EMINEM
Nike Air Max Burst ‘Air Slim Shady’ - 2003

Eminem has a long history of collaboration with Nike, with over a dozen different sneaker launches between 2003 and 2008 alone. Some of the ‘Charity Series’ shoes are of a hen’s teeth rarity (there are all of 8 pairs of the Air Max 95’s designed by his manager, Paul Rosenberg) but this was the very first pair he worked on. A simple grey colourway in mesh and suede, with the Eminem ‘E’ logo on the sockliner and outsole. As Rosenberg recalls, “We were on tour when the opportunity arose, and the Nike reps met with us in L.A. backstage to start the design process.

Nike show up with several models of Air Max shoes, and Marshall zeroed in on the Burst immediately because it was one of his favourites. But all of the samples they brought were this monochrome grey colour, like showing you the shoe in a neutral tone so that you could envision designs with a blank slate. This was before NikeID and all that, remember. So Em is like, “What’s wrong with it being all grey like that? I love it”. So, the Nike folks were like “um, yeah!” and they let him pick out the materials and encouraged a few white accents and there you have it - Air Slim Shady, Eminem’s first official Nike collaboration.”