Who should buy the Nike Waffle Racer

You'd hardly say no to this throwback pair if you:

  • favor running-inspired Swoosh kicks with a strong vintage charm
  • fancy waffle-soled sneakers that are light and summer-ready
  • long for Nike shoes that aren't more than $85 

Nike Waffle Racer summer ready

Who should NOT buy it

Nike Waffle Racer who should not buy

Nike Waffle Racer for the city street racers

Considered one of the most classic silhouettes, the Nike Waffle Racer reigns in the vintage sneaker market even without any fancy technology. This modernized version kept its retro look but was upgraded with a memory foam sockliner and a more cushy midsole to make it more suitable for city street walking. 

Nike Waffle Racer start

It offers a homey world

The majority of wearers share that the Nike Waffle Racer feels cozy and snug, which gives them reasons to wear it all day.

Nike Waffle Racer snug

Allows air to circulate in and out 

Like most running-inspired sneakers, the Nike Waffle Racer feels airy on the feet, making it one of the must-haves for summer.

Nike Waffle Racer ventilated

Far from looking cheap

Buyers have vouched that Nike built this kick with premium nylon and suede materials.

Nike Waffle Racer quality materials

A bit short of underfoot support

It comes in a basic style. It could have been superb with arch support. 

Nike Waffle Racer underfoot support

It can be squeezy for broad-footed users

This pair with a tapering front feels a bit tighter than anticipated.

Nike Waffle Racer squeezy

The innovative Nike waffle outsole

Nike Trainer was the first to flaunt a groundbreaking Nike technology called waffle sole. While having breakfast with his wife, designer Bill Bowerman thought of removing all the unnecessary details on the outsoles to develop footwear with lighter and better traction. Using his family's waffle iron, he poured urethane on it and came up with rubber with a waffle pattern.

In 1974, Bowerman remodeled the footwear and came up with the much-loved Nike Waffle Racer. Fast forward, this waffle pattern outsole has survived the period of a quarter-century. It is still used in current footwear as it delivers a reliable grip on various surfaces.

Nike Waffle Racer waffle

Nike Waffle Racer and its variations

While this sneaker is seldom seen in the sneaker scene, it still made its mark by coming up with new and modern versions

Nike Waffle Racer x Off-White. While the overall look of this collab kick did not get the approval of many, it still got the attention it needed for its unique look, consistent with Virgil Abloh's "athletes in progress" vision. Unlike its prototype, this model used hiking cord laces and added spikes on the waffle-patterned outsole, for enhanced grip and striking style.

Nike Waffle Racer 17. Unlike the Off-White version of the Nike Waffle Racer, this model stayed true to its prototype - retaining the nylon and suede on the upper and the waffle rubber outsole. However, the brand upgraded it with a memory foam insole and a cushier midsole to make it more likable.

Facts / Specs

Style: Retro, Sporty, Minimalist
Top: Low
Inspired from: Running
Collection: Nike Waffle
Closure: Laces
Designed by: Bill Bowerman
Material: Leather, Suede, Rubber Sole, EVA, Nylon, Memory Foam / Fabric

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Nike Waffle Racer unboxing and on-feet videos

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.