This year’s Puerto Rican Day parade will be virtual, but that doesn’t mean you should forgo dressing in your best Boricua regalia—and Nike is readying the drop of a brand new tribute sneaker that’ll pair perfectly with any fit.
Bearing the island’s flag on the tongue is the Air Max 97 “Puerto Rico,” releasing Saturday, June 5, via SNKRS and select retailers. On this silver version of the reissued classic shoe, the flag replaces the emblematic swoosh on the Air-Sole bubble, too. The sneaker’s inner sole reads, “Aquí Me Quedo,” or “Here I’ll Stay.”
Latinx creatives and community leaders were central to the creation of the shoe design as well as its corresponding marketing. Additionally, Puerto Rican artist Celso Gonzalez will realize murals in Brooklyn and East Harlem to complement the launch.
Visually representing the campaign are a selection of community leaders and change-makers: Leslie Ortiz, Alumni Council Chair for the East Harlem Tutorial Program; DJ Bembona, artist and DJ; Amanda Serrano, a Puerto Rican boxer, wrestler, and mixed martial artist; and engineering student and model Cassi Priestley.
Creative director Mellany Sanchez styled the models and also scouted the Brooklyn location for Gonzalez’s mural. Every piece of the campaign supports the goal of creating an “elevated platform to celebrate Nuyorican permanence and excellence,” she says via a press release.
Additional takeaways and goals include to represent Puerto Rican resiliency authentically as well as support youth by showcasing and investing in the East Harlem Tutorial Program, where 70 percent of students are Latinx, on its social media channels.
Each pair of this special edition fo the Air Max 97 comes with a towel emblazoned with “Puerto Rico Te Quiero,” or “Puerto Rico, I Love You.” Matching tees will be available mid-June.
“Our people have a really incredible way of being classic — of finding what works for us and cherishing it generation after generation,” Sanchez notes in a press release. “It’s important that we share these stories and the work we’re doing in the community.”