December 18, 2013 BY Sneaker News / 9
This year was an eclectic one for the Nike Sportswear category. Thanks to Swoosh’s longstanding dedication to innovation, their list of greatest hits across the past 12 months isn’t merely a who’s who of collaborators and outside partners. Yes, they did link up with a few sneaker shops to revisit the times when Air Max models done up by choice boutiques were the hottest of commodities, but they also had a good number of solo efforts that turned heads as much as any x-marked collab shoe ever could. With such a deep arsenal of resources at their disposal, it’s reasonable for us all to expect a lot from the NSW category and 2013 had no shortage of worthy efforts.
Along with the various retro models, there were plenty of modern hits that reminded the sneaker world that the Nike Sportswear teams know what they’re doing when it comes to reinventing the brand’s heritage DNA. They took a minimalist budget banger like the Roshe to the next level and the resale market took notice. They smoothly transitioned Nike’s groundbreaking Flyknit tech into the lifestyle realm. They teased us with yet another Kanye West shoe, one that we’re still waiting for by the way. But most importantly, they proved that they’re still capable of throwing some unexpected curveballs to keep us all on our toes, always wondering what will come next.
It was only a matter of time before the Flyknit technology moved out of the running sphere. It did so with a bang this year in via the Nike Lunar Flyknit Chukka – a versatile silhouette that became an instant favorite for many.
A classic collab combination. The atmos team had us thinking of the good old days of their Air Max 1 bangers with these two contrasting animal print editions. Only released in Asia, this dynamic duo had us scrambling to hunt them down.
The Roshe had a few coveted versions before this release, but the forefoot Swoosh FB version brought it to unimaginable new heights thanks to a certain Yeezy-reminiscent colorway that sent sneakerheads into a frenzy.
No doubt one of the most talked about shoes for the better part of 2013. Kanye wore them, he promised to give away fifty pairs, October came and went with no release, and now he’s over at adidas. The eventual fate of the “Red Octobers” is looking as murky as ever.
The Nike Dunk Low “Viotech” unexpectedly returned 12 years after its original release with slight tweaks like that leather lining and the Nike Zoom insole.
The UK’s size is one of the last sneaker shops still locking down Swoosh collabs on a consistent basis. This year they got their hands on everything from the Roshe Run to the revived Nike Air Max ‘93 and Air Max Light.
At a point when camo saturation was at an all-time high, Nike jumped right on in and released a bonanza of Air Max editions based on the different types of military camos around the world. Patience paid off as the sneakers eventually trickled into US retailers and disappeared from shelves on arrival.
CLOT know their way around an Air Max 1 at this point. They proved it again this year with a sleek Special Projects installment dubbed the “Kiss of Death” that also featured a deluxe limited edition Chinese medicine-inspired box set only acquired by a fortunate few.
One of Nike’s most obscure relics makes an unthinkable return. The Air Python was right at the top of the list of incredible Nike classics we never thought we’d see as a retro. The infamous Air Jordan II-flavored enigma made its 2013 comeback in two OG colorways with the promise of a Dover Street Market collab and some Lux versions on the way. Year of the Snake indeed.
A Nike Basketball classic comes back to life. Gary Payton’s Nike Air Zoom Flight 98 “The Glove” arrived to plenty of fanfare and in a variety of new and old colorways with the release being a timely one thanks to GP’s September Hall of Fame induction.
Is there any sneaker that the “Infrared” color scheme doesn’t look good on? Two Tinker Hatfield classics came together in perfect harmony as the Air Trainer 1 met the Air Max 90, even going as far as to include a mesh toebox.
Apparently the atmos team wasn’t satisfied with just giving us one set of Air Max’s this year. November brought these two camo AM90s that proved pretty difficult to track down even though they did arrive at some top accounts here in the US.