Leather is considered by some as an upgrade over canvas. This is the kind of material that gives sneakers more durability, protection, and sophistication. Many of the most popular leather shoes are variations of the original models that were previously made of mesh or canvas. See *leather sneakers*
The material that is originally designed for sneakers. Back then, canvas was sought after as it was durable, flexible, and extremely lightweight. Today, sneakers made of canvas are wide-ranging as they are normally affordable with plenty of options where style and versatility go. See *canvas sneakers*
Suede kicks are covered with a fibrous version of animal leather giving its users shoes with a softer and more luxurious finish. These footwear provide more durability but considered disadvantageous as it attracts water and dirt easily. Suede sneakers are typically worn during Spring and Winter as many found this modish while providing warmth for the chilly days. See *suede sneakers*
The most common of all materials used in sneakers or shoes of all kinds. Whether it's a performance shoe or a lifestyle shoe, mesh is a most coveted material. It is durable, breathable, and is one of the reasons why a shoe is reasonably-priced.
At the forefront of technological innovation is knit. It offers breathability, sophistication, durability, and lightness that is not found in other materials. It is arguably the best material found in the upper of a sneaker.
The tried and tested outsole material of practically all shoes. It brings a nice mix of cushioning, durability, and impact protection.
The skaters' bestfriend is known for its flexible and soft nature for better board feel. Sneakers with vulcanized sole are ideal for skating for just a casual walk around town.
Also known as crepe soles, gum soles are sought by sneaker fans for their hot or edgy look while bringing in a ton of grip on slippery conditions. It is also more durable than regular rubber soles.
Cup soles are basically the regular rubber variety but with more height on the side walls that allow the rubber to "cup" the upper part of the shoe. The design offers better support during movement.
Extremely popular sneakers because of their price range, versatility when it comes to style, and freedom of movement. Almost everyone is guaranteed to have low-top sneakers in their shoe rotation.
Mid-top sneakers extend toward the ankle for a little more support and hold. These lie somewhere in the middle between low-top and high-top sneakers in terms of usage and popularity.
Sneakers with collars that go above the ankles for optimal hold and support are some of the most sought-after models in lifestyle shoes. Most of these shoes take their roots from basketball and have easily or fashionably crossed to mainstream wear.
Good to know
Regardless of cut, it's always good to start with sneakers that can be worn for the daily grind, also called as "beaters" by some, as these are usually cheaper, easy to clean, and still gives that lifestyle "edge" before going for those wallet-thinning models.
Although breathability is subjective, it is safe to say that shoes that are mainly made of mesh or has perfortations are particularly superb in providing optimum ventilation. Breathable shoes are sought after as they help prevent users from developing blisters or having a slipper feet. Sneakers with good ventilation also enable sneaker fans from using their shoes sockless without fear of having a smelly feet. See *breathable sneakers*
Fit is highly personal and a shoe that is Orthotic-friendly raises this feature to a different level. Sneakers with removable insoles allow the user to be more comfortable and also give a more "customized" support based on usage. Across all brands, Orthotic-friendly shoes are found at an affordable price and in stylish designs. See *orthotic-friendly sneakers*
Vegan sneakers are generally produced using methods and materials that do not involve experimentation on animals, which make them technically cruelty-free. Ideally, all sections of a vegan sneaker – from its upper down to its sole composition, including the ingredients used in the assembly of the shoe, such as adhesives -- are free of any traces of animal parts and animal by-products. See *vegan sneakers*
Style never goes out even during the rainy season. Sneakers made of waterproof material is quickly becoming a must-have, particularly for people on the go. Waterproof sneakers prevent water from seeping into the shoe and help keep the foot warm and dry.
Sneakers with reflective materials are now sought by many. Although shoes of this type are not as important as those used for running, these kind of sneakers are also needed by sneaker fans for safety, particularly while going out at night.
Also dubbed as ugly shoes or turbo trainers, dad sneakers are chunky footwear inspired by the rubber shoes our fathers strutted in the 80s and 90s. These kicks feature massive soles adding few inches to the wearers' heights, with a thick and well-padded upper for ultra-comfortable strides, and often finished with curvy lines, patterns, and striking colors for flashier charm. See *Dad sneakers*
In the sneaker world, classic is the name of the game. The older the shoe is, the more it is sought-after by sneaker fans. Classic sneakers are basically the original models with very little or almost no changes since they were released years ago. Fans of classic sneakers can have their fill as the choices are so many and they vary in price, style, and design. See *classic sneakers*
Oversized and thick soles best describe platform sneakers. Specifically, sneakers within this category are outfitted with at least 1” sole. *Puma Thunder Spectra* and *Balenciaga Triple S Trainers* are the widely popular models of this category. The trend started and continues to be a hit among women, but has recently caught the attention of men as well. See *platform sneakers*
These are sneakers that are initially released in the past, preferably a decade ago, and eventually resurrected due to its popularity. These re-released sneakers are now assembled with modern materials though their constructions lie close to the original model. Some of the most famous lines capitalizing on this trend come from the Jordan series as well as the Air Max, New Balance 990, Adidas EQT lines to name a few. See *retro sneakers*
Adidas' most popular cushioning technology, BOOST utilizes the TPU(thermoplastic polyurethane) in the midsole that offers superior energy return and impact absorption to wearers. Many of Adidas' classic sneakers are now featuring this sophisticated midsole tech.
Adidas fuses its own technology on ordinary fabric to create a flexible, yet long lasting upper. This material is renowned for enhancing the comfort and and fit of sneakers in Adidas collection.
A midsole cushioning tech that provides efficient shock absorption in the forefoot and heel. An enhanced version is also available, called the AdiPRENE+.
The Nike Joyride is a cushioning technology that uses thousands of strategically positioned small TPE beads in the midsole. These beads arrange themselves around the foot for a unique underfoot experience. As the foot strikes the ground, the beads experience multi-directional displacement to absorb the impact while maximizing the energy return.
The Nike Lunarlon is a lightweight cushioning technology that was inspired by the manner on how astronauts bounce on the moon. This tech provides spring-like cushioning to its wearers and distributes impact across the foot. This shock-absorbing technology is used in many of Nike's performance sneakers, such as basketball, tennis, skateboarding, running, and training.
The top of the line upper material of Nike that is made of micro-engineered knit for lightweight, durable, and form-fitting fit. Sneakers with Flyknit uppers are some of the most comfortable shoes around.
One of Vans' latest tech that is launched to improve the comfort and support of the old classics. Most of Vans' iconic shoes now offer this midsole and outsole tech for an even better sneaker experience.
Vans' DNA as a skating brand is not lost despite their classics being used as a lifestyle wear than usual skating. For loyal Vans fans, the UltraCush HD for sockliners brings more protection without sacrificing board feel from the brand's top of the line sneakers.
These are sneakers that are normally durable, versatile, and are usually stylish due to the spring-like vibrant colors. There's a wide variety of options for those who wish to travel in Spring as the choices for breathable and comfortable sneakers are just as easily available. Considering that Spring sneakers are some of the most affordable and versatile on the market, it's no wonder they are a dime dozen for everyone. See *spring sneakers*
These must-cop kicks for the warm season are typically made of durable, lightweight, and breathable materials that will lessen its wearer's chance of having smelly or sweaty feet. Generally covered with brightly colored hues, these heat-busting footwear will surely suit the intense heat of the sun while keeping the user's overall ensemble on-point for the summer. See *summer sneakers*
Still retaining its street-style look, these winter-ready sneakers will undoubtedly keep its wearers feeling comfortable and toasty even when the temperature is way below the freezing point. These kicks are commonly loaded with innovative fabrics, lining, and right technologies designed to retain heat aiding its wearers to survive the sub-zero temperature. Also, some brands add grippy lugs on its flexible outsole for wearers to endure the slushy, slippery terrains. See *winter sneakers*
Sneakers that can be quickly put on or removed and usually possess an upper with a fused tongue with matching elastic accents to keep the shoe in place. Some shoes with straps, toggle laces, and waterproofed iterations in a bootie construction exclude them almost naturally from being called slip-ons. Most major brands contain at least one slip-on in their catalog while a few like Vans and Keds capitalize on the trend.
Easily the most common and popular type of closure in sneakers. The use of laces allow the user a more customized fit and hold. It is for this reason that lace-up shoes are extremely popular and versatile.
Sneaker fans who value convenience find these shoes perfect for their needs. For those who are always on the go, sneakers with straps as closure are a must have. Previously coming almost exclusively in white, different brands now offer this kind of shoes in a multitude of colorways for versatility when it comes to style.
Good to know
A masterful team-up between two or more entities, usually between brands and artists, pro-athletes, designers, and boutique labels. Limited Releases are very popular and are normally sold out in just hours or minutes upon release despite the hefty price tag. Collaborative works for General Release regularly come with a decent price tag, but can sometimes cost an arm and a leg because of hype, social media anticipation, or marketing strategy. Kanye's collab with Adidas is one such example.
Sneakers dominantly take their heritage from running, basketball, skate, tennis, training, hiking, and football. Still retaining a few of their performance-based technologies, these sneakers have transcended their respective niches and have successfully and popularly transformed themselves as staples of fashion footwear.
Sneakers designed for a laidback, "cool" vibe that is built for lifestyle wear right from the get-go.
Good to know
Brands are now blending elements of performance and casual appeal in basically every sneaker. One can hardly go wrong with a sports-inspired sneaker or a simple casual shoe.
Global giant Nike Inc., which is trading as NKE on the New York Stock Exchange (NYSE), has dominated the sneaker industry for many years. Known as the world’s most prominent athletic footwear and apparel manufacturer, this company, over its history, has acquired a number of other businesses including Converse, Umbro and Hurley International.
What does Nike sell?
Nike has been known for its high-quality and innovative products for men and women of all ages and abilities. These include:
Nike Sneakers. Sneakers vary depending on function and the brand Nike offers footwear for both casual and sports use. Custom kicks from Nike are also available for those who wish to personalize their kicks.
Athletic Nike Sneakers. Although they’ve been renowned for their running and basketball shoes, they also have tennis, skateboarding, golf, baseball, football as well as gym and training shoes.
Nike Lifestyle Sneakers. This type of footwear is meant to be worn for casual wear. Often, the women’s and men’s Nike sneakers under this category are athletic shoes turned into a streetwear essential. Performance in these Nike sneakers, however, have taken a backseat and style and comfort are given extra attention.
Custom Nike Sneakers. Also known as Nike ID, this option is available in a wide array of Nike sneaker models. For an uptick in the price, consumers have the opportunity to personalize their shoes. Some models allow buyers to put a logo or a name while others give fans a chance to choose the material, color and cushioning of their selected Nike sneaker.
Nike Boots. Most boots sold by Nike are made for fashion. Some, however, are built for training. Also tagged as Nike sneaker boots, these have a collar that extends well over the ankle and is significantly higher than the collar in high-top Nike sneakers.
Nike Apparel and Accessories. Apart from Nike sneakers, the brand is also the go-to shop for bags, hats, sunglasses, not to mention clothing which can range from polos to hoodies, pants to dresses, tights, socks as well as surf and swimwear.
Important points to ponder when picking your next Nike kicks
A sneaker buyer without a know-how of what they want for their next pair will definitely be overwhelmed, not to mention confused, after seeing the multitude of Nike sneakers available on the market. However, once you know which type you want, everything becomes a bit easier. Consider these factors in choosing your next Nike sneaker:
Note: Despite the lifestyle Nike sneakers’ athletic roots and sporty silhouette, this type of shoe is not meant to perform. Some, however, may hold up well when used for light exercises and other physical activities.
Additional overlays and double stitching improve this Nike sneaker’s durability while the sole delivers grip and support as well as reliable board feel. This type commonly has a laid-back style and is tagged Nike SB.
Examples: Nike SB Stefan Janoski Max Mid, Nike SB Dunk Low, Nike SB Bruin Hyperfeel
The thick sole offers stability while the chunky upper provides lateral support. These shoes come in low or high tops.
Its upper is commonly lightweight and well-ventilated. The flexible and stable sole gives sufficient cushioning and impact protection. The chunky version still offers lightweight comfort and ventilation.
The least ubiquitous among the three, Nike sneakers' with this construction are still regarded as stylish. Men's and women's Nike sneakers with this cut commonly have the word “Mid” at the end of its name.
Nike SB Stefan Janoski Max Mid, Nike Air Force 1 Ultra Flyknit Mid, Nike Son of Force Mid Winter
High-top (cut extends over the ankle)
Nike sneakers with this cut are favored for its enhanced ankle support. The extra material also provides added protection, warmth and comfort.
Note: Popular Nike sneaker models are revamped every so often by the brand to meet the modern-day consumers’ needs. Aside from a change of color, the brand also makes it a point to change the materials and to make the shoe lighter.
When a Nike shoe gets an Ultra upgrade, expect the iteration to have a more streamlined, modern look. The materials used on the Ultra version also make the shoe lighter than the original.
Nike Zoom Spiridon Ultra, Nike Air Huarache Ultra
Commonly, these renditions keep the predecessor's silhouette intact but are stripped of any unusual materials. Thus, expect a simple and fuss-free version of the original Nike sneaker.
Nike Aptare Essential, Nike Presto Essential
Premium Nike sneaker versions are usually priced slightly higher than the regular model. It is also made of top-grade materials and crafted with better detailing.
Nike Air Max 1 Premium, Nike LunarCharge Premium
Nike makes their products available to a wide range of consumers regardless of age, gender, ability and economic background. Thus, whatever amount you have set for your next Nike sneaker, the brand has a model put on the market with the price tag that would fit your budget.
Low- to average- priced sneakers (Below $100)
Most Nike sneakers in this category have a low-top construction. There are, however, a few mid-top and high-top Nike sneakers that are included in this price range. Shoes under this category are also made of a wide range of materials including knit, nylon, canvas, suede and FlyLeather.
Nike Roshe One, Nike SB Zoom Stefan Janoski, Nike Cortez Basic, Nike Air Force 1 ‘07, Nike Air Force 1 Mid ‘07, Nike SB Dunk Pro High
Still reasonably - priced to slightly expensive sneakers ($100.01-$150)
Consumers can already expect to get a Nike sneaker made of high-quality materials or with an updated construction in this price range.
Nike Air Max 90 Essential, Nike Lunar Force 1 Duckboot Low
Premium ($150.01 and above)
Those who have extra cash to splurge can enjoy the Nike sneakers found in this price range. They are made with top-grade textiles like ballistic nylon and full-grain leather. They also boast distinct detailing and innovation. Most of NikeLab’s creations fall under this price range.
Nike SF Air Force 1, Nike Air Max 95 Sneaker Boot, Nike Air Foamposite Pro, NikeLab Air Vapormax Flyknit, Nike Hyperadapt 1.0
Quick Guide to finding the right Nike sneaker size and fit
Some have thought of buying shoes online but hesitated, fearing the possibility of going through the nuisance of returning the sneaker. Despite this, many consumers still opt to shop online because of the undeniable convenience and ease it provides.
To help with your Nike sneaker shopping, here are a few need-to-know facts about Nike sneaker sizes and fit:
Nike sneakers are released in standard American/US shoe sizes.
Commonly, the kicks are available in sizes 4-18. Half sizes are often offered. There are, however, a few Nike sneaker models that are released in only whole sizes like the Nike Air Presto.
Kids’ sizes are also provided for some Nike sneaker models.
Most Nike sneakers are made in regular/medium widths. Wide, extra wide and narrow widths are also available for select shoes.
The narrow and wide Nike sneakers utilize a regular-sized outsole and midsole. The narrow kicks, however, use an upper with lesser volume while the wide ones use an upper with more volume. The extra-wide Nike sneakers, on the one hand, have more volume on the midsole, outsole as well as in the upper forefoot.
Narrow Nike sneakers are tagged “B” for men and “AA” for women. Shoes with wide width are labeled “2E” for men and “D” for women. “4E” width is specifically made for men with extra wide feet.
Often, Nike sneakers fit true to size. However, first-time buyers of Nike casual sneakers may find the fit of the shoe different from other brands. The construction of each sneaker also varies. Thus, it is best to do the following:
Determine your foot’s heel-to-toe length either in inches or centimeters. Once you know this, you can then refer to the brand’s size guide to know your correct shoe size.
Make sure to measure your feet in the afternoon and wear the type of socks you’d typically wear every day.
It is also ideal to check user reviews. It is common for previous buyers’ to mention if the Nike sneaker model fits smaller or larger. Some even state if the specific Nike sneaker’s construction is recommended for wide-footed consumers.
Nothing beats trying on the actual product in a brick and mortar store to find out the correct size.
Many Nike sneakers are available in men’s sizes. Women who wish to get a model offered in men’s sizes can opt to buy a shoe one full size smaller than their standard choice.
Some of the most popular Nike sneaker technologies and models
From inception and throughout its history, the brand has impressed its fans with groundbreaking technologies. It all started with the creation of the Waffle outsole. First seen on the 1974 Nike Waffle Trainer, it was heralded for its superior grip and traction. While we still see the Waffle Outsole on current Nike sneaker models, it has been updated in many ways.
Since then, Nike hasn’t stopped discovering and developing new tech to make athletes' and sneakerheads’ lives a bit better. Mia Hamm, the largest building in the Nike campus, that houses the famous Innovation Kitchen and the brand’s most advanced R&D labs, bears witness to Nike’s commitment to product development and innovation.
Here are other famous technologies of Nike shoes (categorized into three types) that surprised, baffled and amazed many, and the Nike models that popularized the tech.
This is the part of the sneaker that is located in between the inner and outer soles. It is commonly added to absorb impact and add cushioning.
Nike Air Technology
In the year 1978, M. Frank Rudy, an aerospace engineer, thought of infusing sneakers’ soles with encapsulated air for a lightweight, bouncy yet durable cushioning underfoot. Since then, it has evolved in numerous ways.
Air Tailwind (1978). The first running shoe to feature this game-changing tech made its preview during the Honolulu Marathon. Aside from being lightweight, its hidden heel air unit also offered enhanced shock absorbing properties that were perfect for long-distance or endurance running.
Air Force 1 (1982). This high-top Nike sneaker, which was designed by Bruce Kilgore, was the first hoop shoe to adopt the Air tech. Dubbed after the US president’s aircraft, its success was evident since its initial wear test. The “Original Six”, a group composed of 6 NBA players, played on the hard court clad in AF1s and gave this iconic Nike sneaker their seal of approval.
Nike Air Max Technology
Air technology, as it is, is already impressive. Shoe designer, Tinker Hatfield, however, inspired by Paris’ must-see inside-out building known as the Center Georges Pompidou, thought that this functional tech would increase in appeal if it was bigger and if it can be seen by the naked eye.
Air Max 1 (1987). The first model in the Air Max line to feature a visible Air bubble, its creation changed Nike’s course of history and forever altered the way the brand made shoes. Pivotal to Nike’s success, in 2014, Nike decided to celebrate its release. March 26 is now a date marked off the calendar by every Air Max fanatic.
Air Max III (1990). Also known as the Air Max 90, this low-top Nike sneaker embodied the philosophy “bigger is better.” Built with a large Air bubble and dressed in a bold “Hyvent Orange” color, this Nike sneaker soon enough became a fashion staple.
Air Max 95 (1995). Designed by Sergio Lozano, it was the first Air Max Nike sneaker to feature a thick forefoot air bubble, not to mention a gray colorway and a minimally branded silhouette. Created to resemble the human body’s construction, this Nike sneaker's design deviated from the norm, thus, making it unique as well as controversial.
Air Max 97 (1997). Donned in silver, this Nike sneaker model was hailed for its futuristic aesthetics. Although its design has been known to be rooted from the Japanese bullet train, creator Christian Tresser actually drew its design from the ripples that raindrops create on a puddle and the metallic finish of a mountain bike.
Air Vapormax (2017). Air technology at its best. The restructured air sole unit boasts ultra-lightweight feel and even cushioning. The absence of the traditional foam midsole and sockliner also resulted in greater flexibility and energy response.
Nike Zoom Air
Launched in the year 1995, this tech was initially dubbed “Tensile Air.” By the time it debuted, Nike fans were already awed and obsessed with the Air-Sole Tech. Despite this, the Zoom Air’s thin, lightweight and ultra-responsive cushioning, that also offered enhanced flexibility on all terrains, managed to astonish runners and sneaker enthusiasts alike.
Nike Air Zoom LWP “Lightweight Performance” (1995). This runner was the first Nike sneaker to be equipped with the Zoom Air tech. Aside from its light and responsive cushioning, this shoe was also recognized for its unique textile lace loops.
Nike Air Zoom Spiridon (1997). Built with a podular Zoom Air setup plus a Phylon midsole, a Duralon forefoot and a breathable mesh upper, this Nike sneaker embodied groundbreaking performance. Its fashion-forward look was also considered street-worthy.
Nike Air Zoom Citizen (1999). A Nike sneaker model that dropped without forewarning, this shoe showcased a visible Zoom Air unit. This product is loved by many sneaker collectors worldwide.
Nike Shox Technology
First seen in 2000, this tech took 16 years to be developed and perfected. This midsole, which is made of polyurethane (PU) foam columns, offers spring-like cushioning that absorbs impact as well as enhances energy return. The TPU heel counter addition improves support and stability.
Initially made for athletics, this tech was used for sports like basketball and running. Later on, it was viewed as a fashionable item for its uniqueness and its ability to take on various hues.
Nike Shox BB4 (2000). This hoop shoe, which was designed by Eric Avar, was worn by Vince Carter (VC) during the Olympic Games. Its ability to add power to a stride was proven when VC leaped over French b-ball player Frederic Weis who scaled 7’2” to perform an in-game gravity-defying dunk.
Nike Lunarlon Cushioning
The brains behind this tech are Eric Avar and Kevin Hoffer. Inspired by the weightless, springy movements of an astronaut, they wanted the next Nike sneaker to provide that same feel.
After a lot of experimentation, in 2005, they thought of filling a Phylon foam shell with Lunarlon, a soft yet stable space-age foam. The product is a midsole 30% lighter than a traditional Phylon foam. This new-found cushioning system gave Nike sneakers a bouncy yet responsive feel while offering impact protection as well as support for various movements.
Nike Lunaracer (2008). Made to endure long-distance running, this Nike sneaker was launched during the Olympics in Beijing. Outfitted in bold colors, this shoe impressed runners with its ultra-lightweight yet supportive cushioning.
Nike Hyperdunk (2008). Built to perform in the hardwood court, this Nike sneaker also made its first appearance in the Beijing Olympics. Regardless of ability level, athletes were amazed at the soft, supportive cushioning it provided, as well as the impact protection it supplied.
This is the part of the shoe that covers the back of the heel, the sides and the top of the foot, as well as the toes.
Introduced in the year 1997, this tech utilized “liquid foam.” When wrapped on a basketball sneaker’s upper, the unique material it makes offer dynamic support and fit, not to mention improved durability. Many thought its development was impossible. However, Nike thought otherwise. With the help of Korean brand Daewoo, the Foamposite material was born.
Nike Foamposite One and Pro (1997). These were the first Nike basketball sneakers to be blessed with this never-before-seen tech. Designer Eric Avar saw it fit to borrow design elements of a fighter jet. The outcome was two Nike sneakers with a crazy yet visually-attractive silhouette.
Pro b-ball player Penny Hardaway debuted the Foamposite One. This Nike sneaker model featured Hardaway’s “1CENT” logo. The Foamposite Pro, on the other hand, displayed a jeweled Swoosh on the side.
Introduced in 2008, the Flywire tech utilizes durable yet lightweight filaments of Vectran material used by NASA. Similar to how a suspension bridge works, when the Flywire cables are placed strategically on a Nike sneaker’s minimalist upper, the shoe’s flexibility, support and fit are enhanced significantly.
This tech is used in a variety of Nike performance sneakers including basketball, soccer, running, training and baseball. Popular Nike sneakers that have adopted this tech include the LeBron X and the Hyperdunk 2013.
Synthetic material, mesh and TPU film combined to create this tech. The first material was used as a base for support, the second was added for lightweight breathability and the third served as the finish for durability.
Specially created for basketball in the year 2010, this material was, later on, used on classic Nike sneaker models, the Air Force 1, Dunk High and Air Max One included. Many Nike lifestyle shoes also utilize this material for its minimalist look and streamlined construction.
A product of 10 years of research, the Flyknit, a sustainable innovation, has redefined the development of both performance and lifestyle footwear since its debut in February 2012.
Every stitch on this one-piece upper can be engineered according to the athlete’s needs, thus offering endless possibilities. Not only that, compared to the traditional cut-and-sew method of shoemaking, the use of this tech reduces material waste by around 60% on average.
Nike Flyknit Racer (2013). The first Nike sneaker to adopt a Flyknit upper, it only weighed 5.6 ounces. This low-top shoe became an instant hit, not only for its light, breathable and form-fitting construction but also for its eye-catching colorway.
Another sustainable innovation of the brand, this lightweight and durable engineered leather material is made up of at least 50% recycled leather. Compared to traditional leather manufacturing, the process used to create this type of fabric reduces carbon impact by 80% and water use by 90%.
This new material made its first appearance in September 2017. Five vintage Nike sneakers (Air Max 90, Tennis Classic, Air Jordan 1, Cortez and Air Force 1) were chosen to be outfitted in FlyLeather. 50 pairs were created for each Nike sneaker model and were given away to commemorate the creation of this new-found tech.
Sneaker Fastening System
Nike Adaptive Lacing
An idea conceived by Tinker Hatfield and Mark Parker in the year 1988, this futuristic tech was featured in the sci-fi comedy hit “Back to the Future” in the form of the Nike Mag. After 28 years of planning and 11 years of R&D, the idea, finally, materialized. Folks can now say goodbye to slippage caused by loose laces as well as tight tying.
The project was led by Hatfield and Senior Innovator Tiffany Beers. Their years of perseverance and dedication led to the creation of EARL, an electro-adaptive lacing system that allows the sneaker to adjust its fit autonomously. The addition of buttons gives the wearer the ability to adjust the fit to their liking.
Nike HyperAdapt 1.0. Making a debut on December 1, 2016, the number 1.0 suggest that this model is the first of many other versions to come. This Nike sneaker, sold at $720, was initially released in limited quantities. Since then, it has been put on the market in extremely small numbers several times.
“If you have a body, you’re an athlete.” This line was taken from Nike’s mission statement and the brand has proven that they take this to heart. The Nike Flyease was specifically created for athletes who find getting in and out of shoes challenging.
Three years in the making, Designer Tobie Hatfield finally came up with a wrap-around zipper closure system. Its strategic placement on the heel allowed easy slip on/off in a snap. Since its creation, it has been adopted by a variety of athletic Nike sneakers
Nike LeBron Soldier 8 Flyease. This Nike sneaker is the first to feature the Flyease. Introduced in 2015, the brand sent this model to two US Special Olympics basketball teams. It was put on the market in limited numbers on July 16, 2015.
Notable Nike sneaker collections and collaborations
Sneaker juggernaut Nike has collaborated with many athletes, artists as well as shops. Among the well-known are with Kobe Bryant, Mister Cartoon, Supreme, Ricardo Tisci and Acronym. There are, however, a few more Nike sneaker collections and collaborations worth discussing:
Nike Sportswear “NSW”
This premium line initially made lifestyle apparel and footwear exclusively for Nike-sponsored athletes. This, however, changed in 2008 when the brand thought of giving the average Joes and Janes a chance of strutting the same stuff their idols wear.
Now, consumers can expect to see their classic sneakers clad in even more unique colors and intricate details while being packed with tech. Included in this high-end collection are all-time favorites like the Nike Cortez, the Air Max 180, the Dunk and the Air Force 1.
This retail destination opened on June 12, 2014, in 9 locations including Shanghai, Hong Kong, London, Paris, New York and Milan. It also opened digitally through Nike.com. Focusing on quality and innovation, this shop showcases limited edition Nike performance and sports products as well as reinterpreted heritage styles.
NikeLab footwear is commonly released in limited quantities and with a high price tag. Both retro and current Nike sneakers are updated with premium materials and fashion-forward designs to give it a high-end look.
In the year 2002, Japanese designer, musician and producer Hiroshi Fujiwara, legendary Nike sneaker designer Tinker Hatfield and former designer now Nike CEO Mark Parker teamed up to form HTM. Since the group’s conception, they have already launched around 32 Nike sneaker models.
Initially, their mission was to turn classic silhouettes into elegant pieces of lifestyle footwear. In 2004, however, the group took things further by revamping classic Nike sneakers with never-before-seen concept designs. The first sneaker to undergo an HTM transformation with a new concept design is the Nike Sock Dart.
On the hands of the geniuses behind HTM, the Sock Dart was given a progressive look with the addition of a computerized-knitted upper. This new concept, later on, instigated the creation of the Flyknit.
About Nike: Its past and present
How it all started?
This legendary brand has always been proud of its humble beginning. Here is Nike’s backstory in a nutshell.
Track coach of University of Oregon Bill Bowerman and student/athlete Phil Knight teamed up and founded Blue Ribbon Sports or BRS on January 25, 1964. This small business that served as Japanese shoe producer Onitsuka Tiger’s distributor operated under the name BRS for eight years.
In 1971, BRS’ partnership with Onitsuka dissolved. Knight and Bowerman decided to establish their own line of footwear.
Knight wanted to call the company “Dimension 6.” Their first employee, Jeff Johnson, was the one who came up with the name Nike, after the winged Greek goddess of victory.
The famous “Swoosh” logo, which symbolizes movement, was designed by Portland State University graphic design student Carolyn Davidson. She earned $35 for her logo. Eventually, Nike acknowledged her contribution. DailyMail reported that she received shares of stocks equivalent to $500,000 as well as a Swoosh gold ring.
The first Nike sneakers were built with a Waffle outsole, the Nike Cortez included. Introduced in the 1970s, the creation of the Waffle outsole came about when Bill Bowerman thought of making an outsole from a kitchen waffle iron. The pattern on the waffle iron made grooves that served as a perfect replacement for the spikes.
How did Nike’s athletic sneakers turn into a fashion staple?
While the brand started as an athletic footwear company known for their high-performance kicks, Nike soon gained a cult following. Nike sneakers, now desired not only by professional athletes but also by ordinary consumers, are seen as a must-have on every closet.
The Nike Cortez, one of the brand’s iconic models to date, made its appearance at the height of the Olympics in the year 1972.
This runner borrowed Onitsuka Tiger Corsair’s design elements. Made for the track, unlike the Corsair, this featured an EVA midsole that provided enhanced cushioning. This Nike sneaker stood out on the track as well as on the dance floor and the city streets for its eye-catching colorways and stylish aesthetics.
In 1984, the demand for Nike sneakers intensified with the entry of NBA star Michael Jordan and the creation of the Air Jordan. Dressed in black and red, this $65 basketball shoe, which was banned by the NBA, became a topic of debate. MJ also became a symbol of youthful rebellion for his bold disobedience.
Soon enough, the Air Jordan caught the attention of the hip-hop culture. It also became a must-have for fashionistas.
The Air Jordan sold like pancakes with sales reaching to $130M in its first year.
Since then, the brand, which was previously considered as a dwarf in the industry, turned into a Titan and became a dominant figure in the market. Its sneakers were also perceived as a staple among athletes, not to mention the sneakerheads.
How did Nike gain so much popularity?
Aside from its sporty origins, the brand’s ties with popular culture strengthened its prominence all the more. Their success, however, was not only a result of their popularity, nor an outcome of their high-quality products and innovative technologies. This company’s success can also be attributed to the following:
Strong Brand Identity.
For consumers to recognize a brand instantly, the company has to be able to establish a clear-cut identity. With Nike, they did this by sending a consistent message over the years. This was done, not just through their name and logo, but also through the performance of their products.
From the beginning, Nike has been popular for their high-quality running shoes that excelled in the track. Sub-brands were also established to represent other shoe categories thus enabling each one to create its own identity. This includes the Air Jordan, the Nike Air Max and the Nike SB also known as Nike skateboarding.
Powerful Marketing Strategies.
This brand would not have achieved success without its compelling marketing campaigns. In the 1980s, Nike lost its shine to Reebok. It was then that they realized how essential “Demand Creation” strategies are in maintaining and improving their status. Since then, they’ve invested time, effort and huge amounts of money on the following:
Memorable Slogans. Nike has been known for their meaningful slogans that have aroused consumers’ emotions. One tagline that stood out the most and is still popular till now is “Just Do It”. First launched in the year 1988, its introduction led to a significant increase in Nike market shares. This statement was taken from known criminal Gary Gilmore’s last words which were “Let’s do it.”
Sports Sponsorships. Aware of the significance of sports in the society, Nike has unceasingly associated their name and logo with every kind. In fact, the brand produces and provides kit uniforms for numerous sports teams, clubs and associations worldwide, the NFL and NBA included. Nike also sponsors important sporting events such as the Olympics.
Athlete Promoters and Celebrity Endorsements. Michael Jordan’s tie-up with Nike played a crucial role in the brand’s success. It’s notable, however, that before MJ, the brand has already been known to attach their name to athletes, who are not only famous but who are also capable of stirring up the public’s emotions. This includes American tennis player John McEnroe (1978) and LeBron James (2003). Aside from professional athletes, Nike’s name has also been linked to musicians and other celebrities. Among the recent partnerships is with Grammy award-winner and Compton rapper Kendrick Lamar.
Focus on User Experience.
For years, Nike has put consumers in the spotlight. Meeting their needs and satisfying their demands are of utmost importance. With this said, it is but ordinary for the brand to ensure that their fans are pleased with their products as well as their online, mobile and in-store services.
Nike Website. Nike.com has received awards from The Webby’s, Cannes and Digiday & London International for the exceptional user experience it’s able to provide to its users. Flaunting a clean and organized layout, most users are just left impressed with its easy-to-use interface.
Social Media. Almost everyone’s using social media. Quick to join the craze, Nike has accounts on Twitter, Facebook and Instagram. Captivating photos and artsy videos posted by the company often get viral and get thousands of likes and dozens of comments from avid followers. In Twitter, Nike has countless accounts, each one representing a different sport and a different region (e.g., @NikeFootball and @NikeNYC). Their Facebook page also doubles as a hub with customized links and tabs.
Mobile Application. These days, a mobile phone is considered a necessity. And Nike, aware of this change in lifestyle, developed an app called the Nike SNKRS. Launched in the year 2015, this app gives sneaker addicts access to the drop dates of the most sought-after men’s and women’s sneakers.
In-Store. Nike has about 30,000 retail partners to date. Among Nike’s biggest US retail partners are Dick’s and Foot Locker.
Members-Only Shop. Dubbed as NikePlus, members of this app unlock a wide range of services with just a few clicks. Access to hard-to-find products including upgraded materials and innovations, as well as expert advice about shoes are just some of the services provided.
Controversies and Lawsuits
Securing the top spot in the sneaker industry is not an easy feat. Nike, though, was able to attain it and maintain it for years. Success and fame, however, comes with a price. With Nike, it’s in the form of bad press, controversies and lawsuits here and there.
Case: “Nike Sweatshops.”
In the 1970s, the brand was accused of using Asian sweatshops or factories that reportedly contracted workers at meager wages. Workers in these so-called sweatshops also have to endure long working hours in abusive working conditions.
The Verdict: In 1998, co-founder Phil Knight admitted the issues they faced and publicly committed to altering Nike’s practices. Changes involved increasing the pay of workers as well as adhering to the fire safety, overtime limits and air quality regulations.
Case: “Knit Technology Patent.”
The Swoosh and the Three Stripes have been battling since time immemorial. In fact, lawsuits have been filed and petitions have been raised by both parties to protect intellectual property. Among the most talked about is the patent for the Knit technology.
Both brands introduced the tech in 2012. Nike, however, debuted it five months earlier than its rival Adidas. Nike claims to have European patent over the tech. Adidas, though, asserted that this tech had been used since the 1940s.
The Verdict: To date, the case is still ongoing.
Case: “$10 million suit against former Nike sneaker designers."
In late 2014, top-tier shoe designers Marc Dolce, Mark Miner and Denis Dekovic were sued by their former employer Nike. These three left the company and opted to work for the competition Adidas.
Nike reported that Dolce, Miner and Dekovic failed to comply with Nike’s non-compete agreements. In addition, they allegedly took with them confidential information. All three denied Nike’s claims.
The Verdict: Interestingly, the case was settled in June 2015 outside of the court and the three designers began working with Adidas in March 2016. The settlement amount was not divulged.
Nike’s market share
Sneaker brands Puma and Adidas were the market leaders in the 1960s. The emergence of the brand, Nike, however, changed the course of history. Advancing to the top spot, the two giants had to hand over their throne.
In the 1980s, newcomer Reebok managed to dominate the market but this was short lived. Thanks to hoop sensation Michael Jordan and the brand’s emotion-provoking marketing stunts, Nike regained its spot.
Between the year 2000 to 2009, the market shares of Adidas and Nike were neck and neck. In 2010, Nike sneakers sales soared and the brand’s revenue remarkably reached $19 billion. The brand has secured the top spot in the market since then.
Fast forward to 2016, Nike still dominated in terms of market share. It, however, seems to have lost its footing. After its over 10-year sustained growth, Nike’s profits dropped while its rival Adidas’ share prices steadily increased.
The increase in demand for retro sneakers helped Adidas regain ground. It also allowed this German brand to overthrow Nike's sub-brand Jordan and to take the second spot in the US athletic footwear market.
Nike sneaker’s recent drop in sales has instigated the brand to alter their priorities and to put more emphasis on direct-to-consumer retail channels. Their goal for the coming months is to provide interactive, experience-based retailing.
To regain their status, Nike has recently opened a new studio that makes custom Nike sneakers in just 90 minutes. The brand has also started an 8-year partnership with the NBA.
Common Nike sneaker questions
If you wish to gain more information about the Nike brand and their sneakers, below are a few facts we compiled which we hope would interest you.
1. Where can we find Nike’s headquarters?
Nike has headquarters in China and Europe. The main headquarters, however, is located in Beaverton Oregon.
2. Where are Nike sneakers made?
Originally, Nike sneakers were made in the US. These days, though, Nike contracts overseas factories to make their products. There are approximately 142 shoe manufacturing factories that supply Nike sneakers. The factories are located in 15 countries. A big bulk, however, is made in Asian countries, China, Vietnam and Indonesia included.
3. How many countries does sneaker brand Nike sell their products to?
Nike sneakers and other products are sold in over 160 countries. In fiscal 2016, a large percentage of the company’s sales came from North America. They also operate in five other geographic segments, excluding emerging markets, namely Greater China, Japan as well as Western, Eastern and Central Europe.
4. How many Nike sneakers does the brand sell?
Back in October 2016, The NPD Group Sports Industry Analyst Matt Powell tweeted that the brand sells at least 25 pairs of sneakers every second. The number was based on Nike’s Q1 earnings which reached $9.1 billion.
5. What are Nike’s most expensive sneakers?
Sold at a retail rate of $720, the self-lacing HyperAdapt 1.0, is one of the brand’s most expensive Nike sneakers.
The “Back to the Future” Nike Air Mag, a limited edition shoe which was released on October 4, 2016, was only offered in men’s sizes 7, 9, 11 and 13. Its resale value averages $26000. The Nike SB Dunk High Pro “Flom,” short for “For Love or Money,” on the other hand, is considered rarely seen and hard to get. Only 24 pairs of this “Friends and Family edition was released. Its resale value can go up to $9000.
6. What do HS and QS mean and what’s the difference between the two?
HS stands for “Hyperstrike” while QS stands for “Quickstrike.” These two primarily refer to how the Nike sneakers are made available.
Nike sneakers with the HS tagging are released in very few numbers and commonly given to “FNF” or friends and family of celebrities. Those labeled as QS are also released in limited quantities. Consumers, however, can cop these editions at exclusive sneaker stores.
7. How to clean Nike sneakers?
Clean Nike shoes without damaging the material by following these simple steps:
Remove any dirt on the outsole using a soft-bristle shoe brush or old toothbrush.
Create a somewhat soapy mixture by mixing a small amount of laundry detergent with warm water.
Put a little bit of the soapy mixture into a sponge, soft cloth or brush and gently clean the dirt on the upper
Rinse off any extra detergent using a sponge or a soft cloth dipped in a small amount of warm water.
At room temperature, air dry the shoes.
Use the same steps to clean the insoles. Make sure to dry it completely before putting it back on the shoes.
Here are some more things you need to take note when cleaning your Nike sneakers:
It is best to clean the Nike sneakers immediately after it gets dirty.
Do not use soft soap used for cleaning leather (aka saddle soap) to clean golf, basketball, training and other Nike sneakers that are built for activities that involve lateral movement.
Alternative cleaning techniques such as the use of a washing machine, dryer and bleach are not recommended.
8. Do Nike sneakers have removable insoles?
Aware of consumer’s varying foot types, the brand ensured that many of their Nike sneakers have removable insoles. The Nike Internationalist, Nike Air Presto, Nike Classic Cortez and Nike Air Max Thea are just a few models that have removable insoles.
9. Can men wear women’s Nike shoes and vice versa?
Yes. Men can wear many of Nike’s women’s sneakers. The same goes for women. Just consider the construction of the shoe since the fit may vary depending on the shoe’s build. Also, make sure to get the appropriate size.
10. What is the difference between women’s and men’s Nike sneakers?
Men’s and women’s Nike sneakers vary in style, fit and size.
Style. Statistically, women’s kicks often come in bright colors while men’s shoe colorways are more earthy. Black is also the commonly used color for the soles of men’s Nike sneakers while women’s versions frequently utilize white soles.
Fit. Women’s Nike sneakers are narrower than men’s shoes. Women’s kicks also tend to be wider on the forefoot than the heel while men’s Nike sneakers often have an almost equal sized forefoot and heel area.
Size. Men’s Nike sneakers are exactly one size bigger than women’s. Thus, if you’re a size 7 in women’s shoes, look for a men’s size 6.
15 best Nike sneakers
Nike Air Max Motion 2
Nike Air Max 270
Nike Air Max 270 Bowfin
Nike SB Nyjah Free
Nike Air Max 200
Nike SB Check Solarsoft Canvas
Nike React Element 87
Nike Air Force 1 07
Nike Zoom 2K
Nike Roshe One
Nike Air Max 720
Nike React Element 55
Nike Air Max Tailwind IV
Danny McLoughlin is a researcher for RunRepeat covering football, sneakers and running. After graduating with a degree in computer science from The University of Strathclyde, Danny makes sure never to miss a game of his beloved Glasgow Rangers or the Scotland national football team. He has been featured in prestigious publications such as The Washington Post, The Irish Times, Footwear News and the like.