The Legend of the Ari Menthol 10’s

Sneakers & the Law – Summer Series

By Keegan Gothers

Today marks 15 years since the creation and “release” the legendary Ari Menthol 10 sneaker. Happy anniversary sneakerheads! Enjoy the article.

The latest installment of the Sneakers and the Law Summer Series features one of the true legends of sneaker culture, the Ari Menthol 10 sneaker. Only 252 pairs are known to have been made (affectionately dubbing this release a “sample release”) and released in June of 2006. They were only attainable via Alife and Clientele in New York. The shoes sold out almost instantly and was an immediately a sneaker culture classic. 

The shoes were designed by Ari Saal Forman, a graphic designer and sneaker fanatic from Los Angeles who had moved to Philly and later New York. Ari designed the Menthol 10’s based n his fascination with the marketing techniques used by cigarette companies from his teen years. He stated that he was influenced by the BAPE (Bathing Ape) “bootleg” version oof Nike’s Air Force 1 sneakers that were created by Nigo. Being the classically trained designer and marketing savant that he was, Ari wanted to create something that would truly push the limits of what was possible in both the marketing and sneaker culture worlds. 

Ari was frustrated by the lack of creativity from Nike and designed the shoes using the Newport “Spinnaker” which actually resembles an upside-down Nike swoosh. The shoes also feature the Newport turquoise green and came in a shoe box that resembles a large cigarette pack with edits to actually take shots at both Nike and Newport. The box provided a General Warning to “Get off the Bandwagon!” and inside the shoes are a tag with the phrase: “This sneaker is dedicated to the two brands who have taken the most and given the least. Thanks for the motivation, now it’s our turn.” The shoes resemble the Nike Air Force 1 silhouette and the stars underneath the AF1 toe had been replaced by dollar signs and the “Air” on the heel tab replaced by “Ari.”

Nike jumped on Ari with a cease and desist but Newport came in demanding damages and did not believe that only 252 pairs had been made. As a result of a settlement which was entered in order to cut the legal battle short, Ari cannot legally own a pair of the shoes, he cannot use them, own a digital picture of them, profit off of them, or discuss them in any way. 

We have now reached a point where the exact number of Menthol 10s in the world are unknown. On a recent episode on Complex Closet’s, rapper Lil Yachty flexed on the sneaker world and revealed that he recently added a pair of Menthol 10’s to his personal collection. The price was not revealed by Yachty. Due to the rarity of the shoe, neither StockX nor Goat has a pair up for bids. If you want to copp one of these your best bet is to scour eBay and have a couple thousand dollars at the ready! 

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