Changing leaves, lower temperatures, and pumpkin flavored everything: these are some of the first things that come to mind when you think of fall. For others fall signifies the drop of many amazing new lines from their favorite brands. This year our friends at the swoosh have launched a new line of mid to high-top footwear that reinvents many classic styles in weather-ready iterations that have been drawing a lot of attention. All of these models sport waterproof, reflective, or insulting materials, along with some interesting colors and new styling.
Nikes made for the elements are definitely not a new concept. With the 1990 introduction of the All Conditions Gear, or ACG, line Nike brought sportswear designs to footwear that was made to be worn in nature’s most challenging environments. This has been a concept the Beaverton-based sportswear giant has been running with for the past 25 years, and doing it successfully I might add. If you think about it, it just makes sense. Why wouldn’t you want something fly on your feet during the months that bring most of us nasty weather?
This has been an opportunity for Nike to capitalize on the success of many of its tried and true styles. Last year, Nike launched an entire line and introduced its name for hybrid footwear, the “sneakerboot.” From the Air Max 1 to the Roshe Run, Nike has turned out model after model of new takes on designs loved by the masses. Some work and some flop. Simply making a sneaker out of more durable materials is not enough for Nike; the company must innovate, sometimes just for the sake of innovation.
The 2013 Lunar LDV Sneakerboot is a great example of this. It is an updated version of a 1978 long distance runner featuring a supportive mid-top design, laser cut perforations, a reflective swoosh, and premium leather, all atop a rugged Lunarlon sole. Oh, and while Nike was at it it threw some Flywire on the back as a heel-tab. While there is nothing wrong with celebrating heritage and innovation in an cutting-edge product, some of these new sneakerboots are a little over top.
The most standout example of the Nike Sportswear 2014 holiday line is the redesigned Air Max 90. It has the appearance of Tinker Hatfield’s iconic sneaker, only swollen and mutated. The sneaker I love has been re-shaped and stretched upward. I truly believe Nike had the best intentions with this design. The additions of gusseted tongues, reflective materials, and durable leather are all ideas that just make sense when creating a winterized version of a running shoe. I just think Nike missed the mark with the silhouette. You don’t have to go far to see how a good thing can go wrong; you can simply look at last year’s version of an Air Max 90 Sneakerboot. While being both taller and more rugged than the original, the 2013 model still looks like a running shoe. It features interesting updates to a classic design in some brave colors. I had hoped this mid-top version of the 90 would come back for the colder months, but unfortunately for me it came back as a different concept all together.
When all is said and done, I can’t hate too much. Nike's decision to get more serious about its line of sneakerboots is definitely a move in a good direction and it means all of us living in an area with half a year of messy weather will have more options. I suppose we must take the good with the bad; whether it be a heavily built version of the Air Force 1 or a technicolor Air Trainer SC. Photos via Nike, nikeblog.com, Sneaker Addict, and Atmos