Sep 07, 2023
by Sofia de la Cruz
UPDATE: From Dojo to Skatepark, Meet Albino & Preto and Nike SB’s Plant-Powered Dunk Low
by Sofia de la Cruz
Sep 07, 2023

UPDATE 9.7.23: Having previously shared an early look at the collaborative shoes, Nike has now released official imagery of its collaboration with Albino & Preto, showing off the detail of the jiu-jitsu-inspired sneaker. While there’s still no official release date accompanying the close-up images, there’s plenty to look at for the time being – and, to further whet your appetite, suggestions of a September drop via the SNKRS app.

Just when you thought there couldn’t possibly be any more Dunk Low silhouettes, Nike surprises us once again with yet another attractive style, and this time it’s something pretty cool. Albino & Preto, in collaboration with Nike SB, is bridging the worlds of martial arts apparel and skateboarding.

This partnership injects a fresh breath of life into the iconic design crafted by Peter Moore 38 years ago, as Albino & Preto adorns it with a hemp-like material that we can’t help but love, along with a refreshing cream color palette.

The news of the anticipated collaboration first broke on Instagram, courtesy of Arvie Gimeno, Creative Director of A&P, who gave us a tantalizing glimpse into Albino & Preto’s interpretation of Nike SB’s legendary skateboarding footwear style, accompanied by the caption “Jiu Jitsu meets skateboarding. Stay tuned.”

Since its establishment in 2011, Albino & Preto has been at the forefront of integrating jiu-jitsu into popular culture. Initially focusing on sports-centric gear, the brand has expanded its horizons and embraced a broader lifestyle outlook. Collaborations and an expanding lifestyle-oriented line have propelled Albino & Preto to prominence, establishing its presence within and beyond the jiu-jitsu community.

The brand’s successful collaborations, including a notable partnership with Saucony on the Shadow 5000 in 2022, have elevated its status. Further momentum was gained through their team-up with the pioneering technical garment experts, BYBORRE.

The first glimpse of the Albino & Preto x Nike SB Dunk Low reveals a cream-colored pearl weave upper, departing from the conventional animal-derived materials seen in skate shoes, such as leather and suede. Instead, the brand has opted for a hemp-like canvas fabric, reminiscent of the layered cotton used in jiu-jitsu belts.

This choice not only introduces a unique texture but also enhances durability, perfectly aligned with Albino & Preto’s ethos. Co-branded tongue tags and printed insoles add further branding details to the silhouette.

Distinctive black swooshes at the midfoot deviate from the usual off-white appearance, paying homage to the brand’s name. In Brazilian jiu-jitsu, “Albino” represents the beginner rank, while “Preto” signifies the master rank, reflecting the contrasting black and white elements. The clean and striking two-tone look continues onto the sole unit, with a white midsole complementing the contrasting black outsole.

Hemp is currently having a moment in the footwear industry, thanks to its reputation as the most environmentally sustainable plant. The Albino & Preto x Nike SB Dunk Low bears an uncanny resemblance to one of the holy grails in the footwear realm, the Nike SB Dunk Low Pro “Tokyo.”

This particular model caused quite a stir within the community due to its minimalistic aesthetic, devoid of any tongue or heel branding and featuring an all-canvas upper. It’s worth noting that Nike has recently unveiled an all-hemp collaboration with Stüssy. And, with this in mind, you have to wonder why this isn’t happening more regularly across the Nike footwear roster.

If it’s feasible to create, produce, and sell hemp or canvas sneakers to a satisfactory level – which Nike regularly does in collaboration with brands like Stüssy and with Our Legacy at Converse, etc. – then what’s stopping a company of Nike’s size, with the kind of infrastructure that Nike commands, from working to scale these plant-based releases and make them mainline regulars?

Naturally, where the Swoosh has already proved that it makes sense, we’d love to see hemp replace some animal-derived materials in some of the label’s permanent silhouettes.

The Albino & Preto x Nike SB Dunk Low, slated for release later this year in the “Fossil/Black-Sail” colorway, will be available for $130 USD. Each pair will be accompanied by special packaging, including an extra set of laces. Take a closer look at the silhouette in the gallery above.

In other hemp-related news, Stüssy, Converse and Our Legacy link for a Chuck Hi 70 hemp overhaul.