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2000’s Nike Air Kukini Is Back

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The Nike Air Kukini is one of those sneakers (or things in general) that are so ugly that they’re pretty. They’re like the flat-faced pug of running footwear; with the funky Y2K patterns and excessive use off TPU on the exterior, it was just far too much happening in one sneaker for it to ever be household. Still, the Kukini holds a lot of weight in the Nike community; there are likely stashes of deadstock crumbling away in some old head’s storage unit, never to be worn or even displayed. It’s a shoe you have just to have.

The Air Kukini debuted in 2000 as part of what is still, to this day, considered Nike’s most exciting sub-division of footwear design. That would be the Alpha Project, instantly recognizable for its five-dot markings that appeared on select Nike performance wares  at the time. The shoes were designed by Sean McDowell, who most casual sneakerheads associate with the Air Max Plus.

The Kukini, despite being a running shoe, was actually created  with Picabo Street in mind; the renowned downhill ski racer that dominated the Winter Games in the 90s was sponsored by Spyder at the time (a winter sport techwear company) which inspired the shape and design of its exterior cage. The shoe was later tested on triathlete Mark Allen, who considered himself “amphibious” for constantly being in and out of water; he proved to be a natural fit for the Kukini’s similar personality.

Several colorways have emerged on the Kukini, with watery and icy patterns covering the upper. Nike is staying aligned with themes of nature with this topographic pattern (we’re no experts, but our best guess is that it’s the terrain of some Oregonian land). More releases are sure to come in 2022, so stay tuned and enjoy this first look.

Where to Buy

Make sure to follow @kicksfinder for live tweets during the release date.

UPDATE (09/09/2022):
A release date is expected on September 20th, 2022.
Nike Air Kukini "Topography"
Release Date: Sep 30th, 2022 (Friday)
Color: Summit White/Aviator Grey-Mystic Navy
Mens: $140 Style Code: DV1894-100