Size and fit

As with most sock-like kicks, the Nike Sock Dart shoes offer a customized fit for the user. The soft mesh upper caters to a wide variety of foot styles. A molded midfoot strap that helps with a personalized fit also functions as the main midfoot hold. The midfoot strap aids well in securing the middle section of the feet by tightening or loosening the translucent belt.

Nike Sock Dart Style

The modern and sleek look of the Nike Sock Dart shoes is tailor-made for a sporty getup. It should be a no-brainer for a casual foray with jeans, shorts, or chinos. Sneaker enthusiasts who are looking for a stylish and catchy companion should give this shoe a perfect look.

The easy on and off or slip-on feature of the Nike Sock Dart shoes makes it a perfect travel companion. Many travelers have attested to how the Sock Dart is a high travel sneaker since it has breathable upper, lightweight construction, and comes with ample cushioning needed to endure long walks while exploring new places.

The sporty vibe of the Nike Sock Dart has also made this sneaker a gym rat’s go-to kicks since it has a breathable and flexible upper material and just the right support from the midfoot strap. The flexibility of the top material makes it easy for fitness enthusiasts to do several stretches and manage a few minute s of run in a treadmill.

Meanwhile, here are some styling suggestions to rock the sock-like fit of the casual Nike Sock Dart sneaker:

      • Athletic or relaxed walking shorts paired with a t-shirt are the best options to wear. Long denim jeans are also great mix-and-match options for the men’s Nike Sock Dart shoes. The Nike Sock Dart sneakers are also best worn with joggers as well as track pants for that athleisure look that is trending nowadays. Most wearers use the Nike Sock Dart typically for daytime activities.
      • Women’s Nike Sock Dart is also easy to pull off and style. Since most women want vibrant colorway variations of the sneaker, it is best paired with skimpy shorts and compression leggings for that straight out of the gym or sporty look. Women may also opt to wear the Nike Sock Dart with athletic shorts or yoga pants for that cool fitness swagger. Many yoga enthusiasts like to wear these shoes as the slip-on design allows for easy removal and provides for easy entry after exercise.

Notable Features

Quite simply, the very conspicuous molded plastic midfoot cage with perforations for a personalized fit stands as a very notable feature in the Sock Dart. The twofold purpose of this midfoot cage is to support and hold the shoe since it is a slip and forget type of footwear. For those who do their runs in this low-top shoe, the midfoot cage of the Nike Sock Dart is an indispensable element. It keeps the foot in place, mainly when making turns.

As a cross between a lifestyle shoe and performance wear, the plastic midfoot cage of Nike Sock Dart shoes is used by Nike and other collaborators to bring preferred styles to the fore. The latest incarnations from Nike see this plastic midfoot cage taking on the color of the entire upper for a monochromatic look.

In some instances, mostly with collaborators, the midfoot cage is often the centerpiece of their platforms. The area of the tongue just on top of the edge of this midfoot cage is now branded with the Swoosh for a more performance-oriented look in the Nike Sock Dart sneaker.

Of course, the running-inspired Nike Sock Dart would not be complete without its very flexible and sock-like upper. Since the prior version of the shoe practically brought about the Flyknit material, this regular model still offers a breathable, stretchy, and glove-like fit for sneaker fans.

Put together; these elements give the Nike Sock Dart the essence of its now very famous silhouette. Minus the other, the shoe practically loses an essential feature that its thousands of fans have come to love truly.

Nike Sock Dart History

The idea behind the Nike Sock Dart started much earlier than its actual production. In 1984, Bill Bowerman, one of Nike’s co-founder, commissioned the HTM trio of Mark Parker, Hiroshi Fujiwara, and Tinker Hatfield to come up with a shoe that fits the description of “sock with a sole.”

From the creative minds of these three innovative individuals came the existence of the Nike Sock Racer. Two decades after the Sock Racer was released in 1984; the Nike Sock Dart came into being like a novel and technologically advanced version of the venerable sneaker.

The Nike Sock Dart was the first shoe that successfully incorporated a full and one-piece upper made of knitted material. The Flyknit was practically unveiled to the public in this shoe. As such, this is the forerunner of the running shoes that have made their mark as a sneaker with a sock-like design that molds better to the foot than any other previous material.                                      

To keep the fit secured and personalized, a perforated plastic midfoot wrap that is also adjustable is added to the design. Nike has made adjustments with every release but has virtually kept the basic design and construction of the original Nike Sock Dart.

  Design inspiration

Before the 2004 release of the Nike Sock Dart, innovative shoe designers began working on the new model after encountering a machine that can customize socks as the team worked on the Dimensional Support System project.

After designers were able to come up with a foot map for the Nike Sock Dart, developer John Hurd came up with the idea of creating a 3D mold for collar foam. Soon, after that, they were able to complete the Dimensional Support System. Hurd also incorporated a TPU that had a stretch for a dynamic midfoot and a mushroom head-inspired enclosure to pull the midfoot strap.

Another designer tasked to ensure that the Nike Sock Dart sneaker stayed true to its minimalist design was Mark Smith. He helped finalize the construction of the heel for added cushioning and impact protection.

  Nike Sock Dart releases

Fast forward to 2004; the Nike Sock Dart has continued to amaze us with beautiful aesthetics and dependable features. Among the favorite colorways of the brand include the minimalist Nike Sock Dart in black, Nike Sock Dart in white, Nike Sock Dart in grey, and Nike Sock Dart in red. Other updates of the Sock Dart include color blocking improvements.

Variations of the Nike Sock Dart have also been launched over the past decade. These include the Nike Sock Dart SE or Summer Edition, Nike Sock Dart QS or Quick Strike, Nike Sock Dart GPX N7, Nike Sock Dart Breathe, Nike Sock Dart SE Premium, and the NikeLab Sock Dart Mid x Stone Island.

The Nike Sock Dart SE was reintroduced in the summer of 2016. Compared to the OG Sock Dart, the Summer Edition sneaker had a more stretchy and breathable knit material perfect for the hot season. An improved and elevated version is the Nike Sock Dart SE Premium was launched on the same year carrying a strikingly futuristic design, premium materials like a woven upper fabric that is breathable and flexible, and a better sock-like fit.

Another variant in the Nike Sock Dart range is the Nike Sock Dart QS. In April 2017, Nike reintroduced the Sock Dart silhouette in four colorways with an elephant skin print in the upper that was first used in the Nike Air Safari in 1987. The Quickstrike release also stayed true to the minimalist theme of the model but with a beautiful elephant print on the stretchy upper. The Quickstrike release was also launched in time for the US Independence Day celebrations and as part of the Safari Pack where it was released in three colorways.

One other iteration in the Sock Dart line of sneakers is the Nike Sock Dart GPX N7. These shoes were made in partnership with the N7 Fund retailer brand that gave a remarkable design composed of geometric prints and gradient effect. The model also aims to pay homage to the Aboriginal and Native American communities in the United States and Canada. The Nike Sock Dart GPX N7 has also improved on the soles of the silhouette by incorporating a Duralon rubber outsole with BRS 1000 for added traction and durability while also complimenting on the comfortable Phylon midsole cushioning.

As the company further aims to please its millions of loyal fans especially those from tropical countries, the brand released the Nike Sock Dart Breathe with bright summer colors with a breathable textile upper. The breathable version of the sneaker in the Sock Dart range allows wearers from warmer countries to sport the design without worrying about heat build-up on the top and experience less fatigue with a fresh interior because of the well-ventilated material.

Nice to know

  • Complex called the Nike Sock Dart as the Best Sneaker in 2015.
  • Victor Cruz, a professional American soccer player, was one of the celebrities seen wearing this shoe.
  • In support of the LGBT community, a Nike Sock Dart release came out as part of the #BeTrue collection.

Facts / Specs

Style: Retro, Sporty, Minimalist
Top: Low
Inspired from: Running
Closure: Slip-on, Strap
Designed by: Tinker Hatfield
Material: Mesh, Knit, Rubber Sole, EVA / Fabric
Technology: Phylon

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Danny McLoughlin
Danny McLoughlin

Danny is a sports nut with a particular interest in football and running. He loves to watch sports as much as he loves to play. Danny was lead researcher on RunRepeat and The PFA’s report into Racial Bias in Football Commentary. His football and running research has been featured in The Guardian, BBC, New York Times and Washington Post.