Errolson Hugh worked closely with Nike to bring some epic ACG flair to this all-seasons shoe. The tactical look – heavy on buckles, straps, and durable materials – was absolutely perfect for this model. While the steam has cooled off after the initial ACG versions, the KMTR displayed some creativity that recalls ACG’s earliest days.
After a three-shoe lull in LeBron James’ signature shoe line, Jason Petrie bounced back with the simplistic design based on Flyknit and a new Zoom Air unit. The PEs we’ve seen thus far, particularly the “EQUALITY” version, has caused some positive stir, while the upcoming collaboration with KITH will only further serve the off-the-court purpose.
One of the most recognizable shoes in Nike history came back hard in 2017, with special iterations by Supreme and a city-specific pack that highlighted NYC, Chicago, and Atlanta adding to the energy.
Eliud Kipchoge set out on a mission to break the two-hour marathon barrier, and Nike was there the help him along the way. The innovative footwear brand worked on a shoe dubbed the ZoomX VaporFly Elite that featured a carbon plate embedded in the foam sole for a springy effect. The heel of the sole tapered into a stylish peak, but the functionality of it was to shave some time off a runner’s pace. The shoe was nearly unattainable as you had to participate in a run to even have a chance, but this model was responsible for the birth of the Zoom VaporFly 4% and Zoom Fly SP – two shoes that rank extremely high on several lists.
Bruce Kilgore’s basketball shoe design from 1982 continues to be a mainstay in street footwear fashion, but Nike took it upon itself to inject some energy into one of the most cherished shoes of all time. The AF100 collection, “The Ten”, and the customization studios around the globe made it as relevant as ever, which is critical in today’s landscape of lifestyle/retro footwear trends.
It’s clear that the Beaverton brand has a lot invested in Kyrie Irving as one of the key figures of its current and future success. His signature shoe for most of 2017, the Kyrie 3, was among the brand’s best-selling sneakers, while the barrage of Player Exclusives throughout the year have placed the shoe in the nightly headlines.
The 30th Anniversary of the first-ever Air Max shoe did not go unnoticed. Nike brought back several OG colorways with special packaging while making it a highlight during Air Max Day with the return of the atmos collaboration and the debut of the “Master” mash-up. Here’s to another 30 years.
Christian Tresser’s design from two decades ago came back with force in 2017 as several original colorways, modified updates, and attractive collaborations hit the market. Ask any Air Max fanatic what their favorite 97 was, and each of them might give you a different answer. Not enough love is shown to the two Swarovski Crystal versions.
After debuting at the epic Innovation Summit in 2016, the Vapormax sneaker finally released to the public in 2017. A delight among runners and fashionistas alike, Nike’s most evolved form of Air highlighted a devotion to innovation while delivering something for casual wear. They’ve barely scratched the surface as Vapormax will set out to be its own category and will certainly be a mainstay of the brand for years to come.
1. NikeLab Zoom Fly SP
The birth of this shoe is just one of many great outcomes of Nike’s BREAKING2 initiative. They’re incredibly comfortable and have a futuristic design that speaks to what NikeLab was intended to be. Only a handful of these were released, but the debut colorway – the white with the hit of orange on the midsole – was an absolute jaw-dropper. The sketches on the insole, which revealed the design process of the shoe, was an amazing touch.
Honorable mentions: Nike Cortez, Nike Air Zoom Generation, Nike PG1