‘Dia de Muertos’

The Mexican celebration of ‘Dia de Muertos’ – known more commonly across the States and in Europe as the day of the dead – has long been filtering into Halloween aesthetics. Now, Nike has fully adopted the elements of the celebration of death for their Air Force 1 “La Calaca”, the Air Max 95 “La Catrina” and the Cortez “El Altar”.

The Day of the Dead’s aesthetic of La Catrina, or ‘Dapper Skeleton’ – no, really – is the iconic figurehead of the holiday. If you aren’t sure what we mean, you will have seen it embodied on sugar skulls, the flamboyantly decorated biscuits with colourful and eccentric patterns which are the base of the new Nike designs. Think of the opening scene of James Bond in ‘Spectre’ or the Disney movie ‘Coco’ and you’ll catch Nike’s drift.

Nike Air Force 1 “La Calaca”

First up we have the Air Force 1. Inspired by the Mayan aesthetic “La Calaca” (skeleton.) The trainer itself may not seem as quintessentially Halloween themed as the other additions to the new pack. But, the colour scheme is actually typical of the sugar the edible skulls are made from. The white base is broken up by dashes of pink and purple piping on the outstep and a yellow edging to the vented front foot. Nike has gone subtle with the reflective sugar skull pattern; as with any day of the dead celebration, the longer you look, the more you see.

Nike Cortez “El Altar”

The Nike Cortez “El Altar” is the one design from the pack that screams “Halloween”. The “El Altar” design incorporates the four natural elements – earth, wind, air and fire – all brought together in Avatar-esque fashion via confetti print (air), candle graphics (fire), ceramic dish (earth) and embellishments hinting towards water (water), all typical of a traditional “El Altar.” All this detailing is evident in the swoosh and insole whilst the rest is completed in a mainly black colourway with a nice pumpkin orange detailing.

Nike Air Max 95 “La Catrina”

Completing the pack is the Air Max 95 “La Catrina.” Nike has perfectly blended the story of “La Catrina”, the female skeleton central to the Dia de Muertos story whom represents the journey into the afterlife, with the design of the Air Max. Here they have turned the fluid lines of the Air Max’s construction into anatomical lines of muscle fibres, the shoe’s sole recreates the spine and the laces make up the ribs. The black and grey colourway overlaps and blends the jade accents and day of the dead pattern using reflective High-vis to invert the colours under darker lights giving it a negative alter ego once the sun goes down. Consider it two designs for the price of one.

The ‘Day of the Dead’ collection drops on October 25 across Nike’s online trainers platforms exclusively in US and Mexico. So you can cop your favourite pair in time for Halloween.