American brand Union is one that is rich in history with its first store opening in NYC back in 1989, followed by in Los Angeles where it remains today. The brand offers a simple concept that brings fashion and function together and takes on the role of the option outside of the mainstream bringing in overseas brands and young designers into the US market. Union has worked with brands like Nike, Jordans, and Converse to create absolute classics that collectors should definitely cop. Ox Street has compiled the best Union sneakers money can buy, for fans of the brand and new collectors alike.
A two-part release, the Union LA x Nike Dunk Low is set to drop in three different colorways in a collaboration dubbed “Passport Pack”. The lineup will be featuring the green and grey colored “Pistachio” that has been released this month, and the other two pairs in pastel “Psychic Blue”, and the purple-colored “Lakers” set to drop in March 2022. The sneaker’s uppers are constructed with a unique grid-like, textured ripstop fabric and even the Swoosh is not spared.
The sneakers are held together by contrasting stitching some of which are left unfinished, which really makes the colors pop and accentuates the layers, and gives the shoes more personality. A Union LA x Jumpman logo can be found on the heel and insoles, and a “UN/LA” tab appears on the midfoot overlay. Each pair comes with hangtags inspired by baggage claim tags and a boarding pass-themed box.
The Union LA x Air Jordan 4 Retro 'Guava Ice' needs no introduction, as it was highly raved about since it was released in 2020 following their first collaboration in 2018. Released together with the ‘Off-Noir’ and quickly sold out, the ‘Guava Ice’ comes in a playful mix of colors perfect for the summer. A Union-exclusive, the shoes come in a mix of pink ‘Guava Ice’ with pastel yellows, bright blues, and a hot pink resulting in an energetic mix of colors on this classic silhouette.
Meanwhile, its darker twin the ‘Off-Noir’, is dressed in black suede uppers with black mesh on the toe box, and blue mesh around the collar. Molded red eyelets, tongue tag, and heel branding gives the sneakers an additional pop of color. Both colorways find the colors are balanced nicely on different materials like its nubuck base, translucent wings and nettings. The yellowed sole unit adds a vintage, retro feel to the sneakers and both feature the iconic ‘UN/LA’ tag on the side panel.This favorite hot collab was later revisited in 2021, with the pastel grey Union LA x Air Jordan 4 Retro 'Taupe Haze’.
One of the most talked-about drops of the year in 2018, and still a legendary collaboration today are the Union x Air Jordan 1 Retro High. The first time the dynamic duo came together to work on the classic Air Jordan 1 Retro High silhouette resulted in two iconic colorways the ‘Storm Blue’ and ‘Black Toe’ which are still highly-coveted today. This sneaker infuses elements of the 90s era of street fashion and takes inspiration from thirfting in DIY culture, as seen in the collage-like use of iconic colorways of the AJ1 with zigzag stitching and pre-yellowed soles.
The ‘Storm Blue’ iteration comes in a mix of white, blue, red, and black leather. It was exclusive to Union via a raffle with an online release on their joint collaborative website in November 2018. The ‘Black Toe’ on the other hand sports a shiny silver collar alongside a blend of white, black and red. It was released globally but many shops still put in place raffle procedures because of the overwhelming response for these kicks.
Back in 2020, Union LA teamed up with Converse to create the Union LA x Chuck Taylor All Star High 'White' which remains a hot favorite today. The white-colored high-tops come covered in artist Sheila Bridges’ “Harlem Toile” print that shows modern activities done by figures dressed and depicted in classic French bourgeois style. These sneakers are a homage to Black culture while also a cheeky commentary on the aristocratic aspects of the fine art world.
The charming white printed canvas shoes feature scenes like two people picnicking and dancing to music from a boombox, alongside scenes from classic toile motifs like horses galloping on an open plain which leads to a quirky blend of past and present. The print is repeated on the insoles and box, with of course the easily recognizable yellow Union tag on the medial eyestay seam. The All-Star patch can be found on the lateral collar, and the shoes are complete with white rubber toe caps and midsoles, with yellow rubber outsoles.
These high-profile collaborations by Union LA across different silhouettes have resulted in super hyped sneakers that are loved by sneakerheads and collectors around the world. The brand has certainly lived up to its concept of fashion meets function in these hyped yet easy to cop sneakers.