Nike Server Sells Swoosh Designs You’ve Never Seen Before

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You might not recognize Linus Nutland’s name, but his Instagram handle will certainly ring a bell.

Linus is the man behind Nike Server, a platform the Bristol-born retailer uses as a hub for its encyclopedic range of rare Nike silhouettes scavenged from eBay and other second-hand platforms. The 23-year-old sportswear design student launched Nike Server early in his college career, turning it into a fast-growing side hustle that caught the eye of sneakerheads far and wide. The collector is moving towards sustainable shoe consumption, rebuilding broken down kicks and giving them new life through custom repairs.

Linus didn’t have a traditional sneaker-loving childhood, which grew through his teenage years hitting the ramps while skating in his first pair of Nike Air Huaraches. His dad was also a real bargain hunter, and Nutland inherited his practice while searching eBay for sneaker bargains, where he found 90s Nike grails for discontinued 2000s silhouettes.

The cult of Nike resonated with him, seeing the long-lost Swoosh pairs as gold dust that intrigued his collector’s mindset. After years of building his business, the multi-faceted sneakerhead launched the “Zero Waste Approach” – a sustainable initiative in collaboration with VIBRAM that sees him incorporate the brand’s plush sole offerings into kicks. dated foot that could use a helping hand.

The VIBRAM partnership in particular has been a certified success, with many other Nike owners trying to duplicate its practice at the VIBRAM store in East London. Nutland’s partnership with VIBRAM adds a splash of personality to Nike fashions, fusing mature sneaker uppers with crisp vulcanized rubber bottoms that stray from the traditional. Through immersive workshops and 1-on-1 projects, Nike Server has saved over 500 kicks by hitting storage boxes around the world and continues to do so alongside the Italian shoemaker.

Hypebeast visited Nike Server’s creative space in Shoreditch, London, to talk to the founder about his love for vintage Nike silhouettes, the development of his Instagram store into a thriving business and what lies ahead in his budding career.

Hypebeast: Tell me about your journey in sneaker collecting, how did it start and how did it get to where it is today?

Linus Nutland: I feel like I’m not your average sneakerhead. My parents never put me into it when I was a kid, I never cared about them all the way through elementary school when I was younger or even college. I used to skate, so I think I got my first pair of non-skate shoes when I was in ninth grade. Even still it wasn’t madness”eureka!” moment for me, I just wanted a more comfortable pair of shoes.

A lot of people have a crazy history with shoes from their childhood, but it wasn’t like that for me. I feel like I inherited that kind of collecting gene and mindset from my dad because he collects a lot of stuff. He’s also a real bargain hunter, so that’s how it started for me – I was going to eBay and going to different sneaker events in Bristol. At the start of these events in Bristol, it was people selling old JD-exclusive Huaraches, old TNs, and what I think are some cool stuff. I guess that kind of kick started for me when I was 15 or 16. After that it was just a slight addiction to eBay.

Why do you prefer Nike silhouettes over any other shoe brand?

LN: I think it’s because the first pair of non-skate shoes I got were Nike and Nike is a bit more culturally relevant than any other brand, in my opinion anyway. There are a lot of models on this wall here that have crazy stories and crazy cults all over the world.

Your archive is mostly vintage Nike shoes that people might not know much about. What makes you gravitate towards this as opposed to the newer versions?

LN: Don’t get me wrong, I always like new things, there are shoes on the wall in my studio from 2018. But I think it’s the same for all brands, 20 years ago, they were doing things they would never do today. They paired up and did projects that simply wouldn’t work in today’s culture and society. When you find a pair of shoes, say from 1998 or something, especially if they were never made, it feels like you just struck gold. You found something that hasn’t been made in 20 years and there won’t be many.

“When you find a pair of shoes, say from 1998 or something, especially if they’ve never been made, it’s like you’ve just struck gold.”

When did you create your Nike Server Instagram account?

LN: I started it in my freshman year of college just as a way to earn extra money, and it allowed me to shop online and buy things while earning money – that which for me was kind of fulfilling. I bought eight pairs for the first upload I did on Instagram, and four of those pairs were things I had never seen before. Looking back, they were pretty sick. Some of them I have never seen since.

How would you price them?

LN: One of the reasons I first launched Nike Server was that I hadn’t seen another shoe store on Instagram that was selling sneakers at a reasonable price. I wanted to be a store that provided people with rare but cheap Nikes. My slogan for a while was “Rare Nike, Reasonable Prices”.

A few years ago, you launched a sustainable practice called “Zero waste approach”. What is the backstory behind this?

LN: Old shoes fall apart, separate and crumble. I started the “zero waste approach” after a year of doing Nike Server. I was getting pairs sent back, I had to reimburse people, and I was also buying shoes that arrived and were unsellable. It got to a point where I had maybe 20 pairs sent back that had fallen apart, and I didn’t want to throw them away because the uppers were still fine.

I contacted VIBRAM, an Italian sole manufacturer based in Milan, and took 20 pairs to their cobbler downstairs. I went there and made a deal with them. The deal was that I would give them about 20 pairs, choose insoles from whatever they had in stock, and make these hybrid Nike shoes. This caught VIBRAM’s attention so they reached out and wanted it to become an official collaboration. They mainly use me to show people the possibilities of repairing their shoes with VIBRAM soles. I think with the pairs I resold with VIBRAM we saved hundreds of pairs from being thrown away or being kept in a closet and never being worn again.

Do you see people turning more to the sustainable approach?

LN: People who are more attuned to normal consumer issues would think more of taking a pair of shoes they already have and turning them into an essentially unique product. It also attracted people.

What are your three favorite shoes in your collection?

LN: I have to say that currently my favorite pair in the archives is a pair of Nike Presto Ridge from 2003, one of many weird and obscure Presto models from the early 2000s, in fact probably one of the most rarest of all. They are so weird, such a weird but cool design and the material choice is spot on. I managed to get them from all over the world, I had been looking for them for ages so it was a nice surprise to find them.

My second favorite shoe from the collection is a pair of Sample Nike Silver Fish, a shoe designed by Kirsten Stevens in the early 2000s specifically for the 200 meter sprint. I would say this is the shoe that made me fall in love with the obscure Nike. When I first saw them I had never seen anything like it, the shape and choice of materials are truly unique. I have a few pairs, but the sample pair I own has details that have not been released. Always a nice touch!

Third, I have to say the Air Trainer Sky from 1998. This model is really unlike any other from that era. They feature a Lunarlon-like midsole with Tuned Air technology, crazy colorway and amazing shapes. Every time I see a pair I grab them, so when I saw my size with the OG box it was a no-brainer.

What’s your craziest sneaker sourcing story?

I have to say that was a scenario that happened about a year ago. I bought a few pairs of Velvet Prestos online and messaged the seller asking if they had anything else. It turned out to be a woman based in Kent, with an absolutely insane collection. I’m talking about never-before-seen samples, the rarest Dunks you can imagine, plenty of flaws, the list goes on. I ended up taking a few pairs off him. I think his father was also a collector with thousands of pairs.

What’s your favorite sneaker you got your hands on on the main Nike server?

Throughout the run of Nike Server, I have to say the shoe I was happiest to get my hands on was a wearable pair of Sunder Max from 2001, in one of the best colorways. It’s one of my favorite Nikes, but they’ve never been retro and they’re never wearable, so find a pair that’s awesome. I still wear them today!

What is your goal for Nike Server in the future?

LN: I will never stop doing this because I love it and it’s something I’ve been building for the past four years now. I have a good following and a decent number of subscribers – so while it’s not something I’m going to quit, I’m not going to do it full time. That is. I’m a designer after all, and I want to fully focus on that in the future.

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