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Sneaker News NINE@NINE: Fascinating Flyknits

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When the Nike Flyknit technology was first introduced to the world in February of 2012, it was described as a “knit for performance to create running footwear that features only the essentials”. There were stats trotted out about the incredibly lightweight Flyknit Racer (5.6 ounces for a size 9) and plenty of words written about their second skin nature – a feeling that Nike has been trying to get at for decades now. Since that 2012 launch, Nike Flyknit has gone on to be a massive success, and has quickly spilled out of the running range that it was originally introduced with.

High-top basketball signatures, World Cup-winning soccer boots, lifestyle shoes, and limited edition collaborations have all used Flyknit as their muse over the past couple of years. In an effort to capture some of the more fringe models in the already deep range, we’re shining the spotlight on Flyknits in this latest Sneaker News NINE@NINE compilation. What follows are lesser known pairs, a couple of player exclusive oddities, and a couple particularly ground-breaking designs that have changed the way we think about the technology in question.

Nike Flyknit “USA Medal Stand” PEs

Nike Flyknit has played an important role in the past couple of Olympic events. At the 2012 London Olympics there was the Nike Flyknit Trainer in volt with the special “USA” touches that never made it to retail, and this year there was the Nike Flyknit Trainer Chukka FSB that took a similar approach that could be spotted at Sochi.

Nike HTM Flyknit Trainer

Launching on day one of the Flyknit line were 100 pairs of the HTM Flyknit Trainers in this volt-tinted colorway. The pair sort of helped put HTM back on the map – things had been quiet for that design collective for a while until this trainer arrived. The same “HTM Flyknit Trainer” designation has been applied to a number of different models, from the limited pair depicted here to the small-Swoosh ones to those Nike Stadium exclusives.

Nike Kobe 9 Elite “Masterpiece”

It was inevitable that Nike would eventually bring the Flyknit technology into other categories aside from running. With the Nike Kobe 9 Elite the material showed up on a basketball sneaker for the first time ever, and the “Masterpiece” pair was the first colorway to release.

Nike Flyknit Lunar Trainer “IOA”

This just might be the rarest Nike Flyknit model ever created. The pair, of which photos are scarce, features a body similar to that of the Nike HTM Lunar Trainer, and was designed specifically for the handful of athletes who participated in the 2012 London Olympics as independent athletes.

Nike Flyknit Spike

Another one that never made it to retail, the Nike Flyknit Spike was unveiled back in August of 2012 just a couple of months after the initial unveil of the Flyknit technology. The model sticks with the Nike Flyknit Racer body on top while swapping out the traditional platform for some track-ready spikes made for US 10,000 meter runner Dathan Ritzenheim.

Nike HTM Free Mercurial Superfly

This model was wrapped up in this summer’s seemingly endless line of new Nike boots coinciding with the 2014 World Cup. The shoe was crafted by the legendary design trio of Hirohsi, Tinker, and Mark, and launched at the same time as the refreshed NikeLab series of stores across the globe. The model is an amalgam of all sorts of current Nike tech, from Flyknit to Free.

Nike Flyknit Roshe Run “Random Yarn Color”

This weekend’s release of this Nike Flyknit Roshe Run was one of the most unique yet in terms of its utilization of the Flyknit material. The pairs use leftover materials from spools in order to cut down on waste, resulting in the awesome side effect of every single pair being unique.

Nike Flyknit Trainer Chukka FSB

The Nike Flyknit range has mostly been focused on creating the kind of lightweight, barely-there shoes that Bill Bowerman always espoused the virtues of. The Flyknit Trainer Chukka FSB actually worked against that grain a little bit by sliding the chunky FSB treatment on the bottom. Watch for more pairs to show up this week under the “SP” label at NikeLab locations.

Nike Magista

Another category first for Flyknit came this summer with the arrival of this Denis Dekovic-designed boot during World Cup season. The model’s spot in soccer history is already cemented – the Nike Magista was on-feet for Germany’s Mario Gotze as he scored the goal that won the 2014 World Cup.