Nike’s N7 sneakers honor basketball’s Indigenous and Native American roots

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One of Nike’s strongest philosophies is that sport is for everyone, and in keeping with this notion, the brand has unveiled its upcoming N7 collection. Intended to inspire young Native Americans and Indigenous people to get moving, the capsule includes shoes including the Free Crater Trail Moc and Kyrie 5 Low, along with matching apparel.

Nike’s first designs by and for the Indigenous community were released in 2007, and in 2009 Nike launched N7, a product line influenced by the Native American wisdom of seven generations. This season’s N7 offerings draw inspiration from the Northern Territories and continue to explore the cultural significance of basketball to Indigenous peoples.

A natural feeling — Athletic silhouettes including the Air Max 95 and Kyrie 5 Low are among the shoes in the collection, each adorned with accent colors and stripes often seen in ribbon skirts and traditional Indigenous weaving techniques. Shades of tan, orange, green and muted purple all help to recognize the craftsmanship and detail of the women who wear the sky at ceremonies and other notable events.

Nike

For a more laid-back feel, Nike has also brought back the Free Crater Trail Moc, which features adjustable elastic laces and a lugged sole to keep every step comfortable and secure. Faded red, green, orange and yellow weave decorates the sides of the beige slipper for a minimal look.

Accompanying apparel adopts the same palette as N7 footwear, while select styles feature colors inspired by natural dyeing methods that use berries. A lavender Nike Sportswear jumpsuit flaunts tape detailing while tan dresses up a shoulder bag with hits of neon green. An orange long sleeve t-shirt and blue basketball shorts have been changed to a stonewashed look, contrasted by bright orange and green accents.

Yet the literal highlight of the N7 collection is a bright green t-shirt that exemplifies how basketball has become a modern expression of Indigenous identity. The jersey’s basketball hoop graphic showcases sports as a bond for family and tribes, as well as a way to get young people into sports.

Nike

Nike’s N7 collection will launch June 21 on the brand’s website, as well as select Nike and Hibbett outlets.

Support play and sport — To continue N7’s legacy, Nike will also provide 13 organizations with a total of $625,000 in donations this year. This support comes alongside the Nike N7 Fund, which works to connect Native American and Indigenous youth to games, sports and physical activity programs. Since its launch in 2009, the Fund has awarded more than $8 million in grants administered by the Charities Aid Foundation of America to more than 270 communities and organizations. For Nike, the sport’s roots are worth celebrating, as is its future.

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