G-Dragon's New Nike Kwondo1 Is One of the Most Unique Sneakers of 2021


This year has been huge for sneaker collabs. Jordan x A Ma Maniére Retro 3. Travis Scott x Fragment Design Jordan 1 Low. Patta x Nike Air Max 1. New Balance x Aimé Leon Dore 550. Bad Bunny x Adidas Forum Low. These are just some of the big collabs that had sneakerheads all over the world go crazy.

However, all of these releases are just reinventions of pre-existing models. The different colorways, new textures, and flipped logos are novel enough to whet the desires of die-hards, but at the end of the day, they're not entirely new. In an era of retros and remixes, completely original silhouettes are few and far between.

Photo by Nike.

Enter G-DRAGON’s new Nike Kwondo1. The South Korean renaissance man just dropped one of the most unique-looking sneakersif not the most creativethis year. This is the artist's second footwear collaboration with the sneaker giant. His own spin on Nike’s Air Force 1s produced a simple yet elegant take on the iconic silhouettes. The first colorway, released in 2019, dubbed as the Para-Noise came in a predominantly black upper and features his PEACEMINUSONE logo on the tongue. He followed that up with 2020’s Para-Noise 2.0, which is basically just a reverse of the previous iteration. The remarkable feature of G-DRAGON's Air Forces is the tear-away upper that reveals a hidden artwork made by him. 


G-DRAGON and Nike decided to up the ante by following those up with an entirely new silhouettethe Kwondo1. Just like the Para-Noise AF1s, the Kwondo1 is emblematic of self-expression, which is a constant theme and celebration of their partnership.

Photo by Nike.

“At Nike, we believe sport has the power to create change, and we partner with those who share our belief in pushing the boundaries of sport to imagine new possibilities for the next generation. Leveraging a white canvas design, G-DRAGON, and his PEACEMINUSONE label evokes a sentiment of freedom, and brings creativity and innovation to the growing community of sport.” 

“I want to have freedom in everything I do, from getting dressed up to creating my own style,” G-DRAGON says. “For those who have felt things were too little or too much, I want this shoe to ignite an exploration of expression and pave the way for personal freedom.”

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Photo by Nike.

As a first-of-its-kind shoe, the Nike Kwondo1 inspires a versatility in style while challenging identity norms and cultural barriers, much like G-DRAGON himself. The footwear got its name from the blending of Korean martial arts ‘Taekwondo,’ G-DRAGON’s Korean name ‘Kwon Ji Yong,’ and Nike’s slogan ‘Just Do It.’ 

Key features of the Kwondo1 include an all-white colorway and premium leather upper with Brogue detailing inspired by Nike’s Tiempo football boots and classic golf shoes. The footwear also features stylish wings, removable flap tongue, and lace kiltie that aim to balance both a formal and sporty aesthetic. The PEACEMINUSONE daisy motif is also embroidered on the back tabs, and together with the label’s detailing on the tooling and aglets, represent Nike’s partnership with one of the most creative minds in the world.

Photo by Nike.

I don’t know about you, but these will definitely be on top of my Christmas sneakers wish list.

G-DRAGON’s Nike Kwondo1 releases globally on December 3 on Nike.com, SNKRS, and at select retailers, and in North America in early 2022.

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MJ Pagaduan
MJ Pagaduan is the Content Producer of Esquire Philippines.
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