Nike Air Rift Breathe: Sparking the split-toe craze

The Nike Air Rift Breathe is the best entry to the off-beat sneaker game. Its design was stirred from 1995 running footwear called the Nike Air Rift. This classic split-toe running kick promoted the natural motion of the feet and was inspired by Kenyan distance runners, who usually run using their bare feet. 

Nike updated the Air Rift with the breathable, thin, and ultra-durable Nike Tech Ultramesh, releasing the Nike Air Rift Breathe. This iteration is made with an eco-friendly mesh upper with extra-large perforations allowing your feet to breathe air in and out, maximally. The brand kept the signature split-toe and midfoot Velcro strap inspired by the Japanese tabi-toe socks. 

Over the years, some of Nike's most innovative running footwear were influenced by the Air Rift, such as the Nike Free. Check some of them here

Why split the toe?

During the 15th century, the Japanese designed footwear that they called tabi toe. This footwear design has a split between the toe area and the rest of the foot for various reasons. It allows the toes to move freely, thus more flexibility and stability while walking. It also boosts support and comfort as it mimics the natural movement of the foot.

Nike Air Rift Breathe's tabi-toed kin

If you want to feel and look like a ninja, check another split-toe sneaker offered by Nike, the ISPA Drifter Split. This deconstructed sneaker from the ISPA line boasts its mid-top construction with split-toe detail, making this pair a truly noteworthy one. Nike inserted it with the comfy ZoomX unit for that bouncy and soft cushioning. 

Rankings

How Nike Air Rift Breathe ranks compared to all other shoes
Bottom 19% sneakers
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Bottom 24% Nike sneakers
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Bottom 18% low sneakers
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Popularity

The current trend of Nike Air Rift Breathe.
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Author
Jaydee
Jaydee

Jaydee dispels the myth that women can't be experts when it comes to sneakers. With hundreds of sneaker articles under her belt, she gained a surefire edge over others claiming to be experts. Since joining RunRepeat in 2017, she’s published formidable arrays of sneaker write-ups - some covered in lifestyle magazines. Interested in scrutinizing a pair of sneakers? Jaydee is the best person to talk to as she can intuitively chew it over with you even while doing her laundry. When she’s not writing, you can catch Jaydee playing with her two kids, online shopping, and spending far too much time on Instagram.