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The Sneaker No One Is Talking About

When it comes to shoes attaining their hype status, exclusive collaborations with streetwear brands and A-list celebrities are often the main driver for this.

Being conditioned to this congruency between exclusivity and hype, individuals have developed this habit of neglecting the aesthetics and craftsmanship of a shoe. And it is through this neglect, where they would deem the shoe to not be worthy of "hype status".

Such pattern of behaviour has been exhibited in recent times with Nike's new silhouette.

Being teased in late Februrary, this new silhouette has received little to no attention. And it somewhat disappoints us.

For a shoe that is very pleasing to the eye and rather impressive with its technical features, it deserves to receive some bit of attention.

You may be wondering what this silhouette is.

Well it isn't the Air Max 90 x Off-White 'Desert Ore' or the Air Force 1 x Off-White 'Black Cone'.

Introducing the Nike ISPA React Low.

Source: highsnobiety.com

Sporting a fusion between the Nike Element 87 and Off White's deconstructed aesthetics, the shoe has every right to be of hype status.

The shoe features a water resistant upper which has been deconstructed to fit in an asymmetrical lacing system that is complemented with taped seams on the outside.

Reminiscent of a waterproof ACG hiking boot, the shoe serves the purpose of meeting the needs of the modern-day commuter who according to Nike navigates the "urban jungle".

Every bit of detail of the shoe demands for respect.

Where's the Hype?

Thanks to its technical features from the neon accents to the 3M reflective detailing, the shoe's craftsmanship draws similarities with the Air Presto Mid x Acronym.

Source: sneakernews.com

Yet despite this, the shoe has not received one bit of love that we gave to the Acronym Prestos in 2018. 

Why's this the case?

The answer is quite obvious.

Unlike the Air Presto Mid x Acronym, the ISPA React Low has no affiliation with any notable streetwear brand.

Nor has it yet to be worn by any celebrity.

We guarantee you that if the shoe was slapped with Kith or Vetements branding or worn by the likes of Drake or Travis Scott; things would be different.

Not that there are any major flaws within Australian sneaker culture but if there was one, it'd be that the worth of sneakers these days are being solely determined on two conditions:

  1. If the sneaker has been collaborated with a reputable streetwear brand or even better, a high end luxury brand
  2. If the sneaker has any affiliation - that being worn, endorsed or spoken by an A-list celebrity

Hype is of course hard to measure. However, it shouldn't be restricted to just these two dimensions.

Sneakers and their attached hype should be credited to other factors as well. Factors such as the mere aesthetics or the origin behind it. It's the reason why dad shoes were an interesting topic in 2018. Sure they were bolstered by the Yeezy 500 and 700s, but it was how bold and different they were at the time.

That being said, individuals are encouraged to appreciate the uniqueness of sneakers -- even if there is no affiliation with streetwear brands or endorsement by A-list celebrities.

A New Chapter For Nike

Despite being overtaken by Adidas a few years back, recent times have seen Nike scheming on the low.

First came the Nike x OFF-WHITE collaboration. Then came the work with Travis Scott on the Air Jordan 4s and recently the Air Jordan 1s.

And now, the introduction of their new design principles ISPA mark a new chapter for Nike.

What Is ISPA?

Amidst all the lifestyle and sportswear designs that have gained the attention of sneaker culture, Nike has and will always be rooted in performance. Whether it be basketball, soccer or running; we all know that Nike is the leading brand when it comes to providing performance solutions.

Their latest design philosophy reinforces this.

Lead by Nike Sportswear's special projects, ISPA (Improvise - Scavenge - Protect - Adapt) places importance on the Nike's creation of "functional, versatile and adaptable footwear and apparel informed by the built environment prioritising performance and utility."

According to designer Erick Ikeda, Nike was inspired by one of the most extreme emergencies. Drawing inspiration from Apollo 13, Ikeda wanted to replicate the duct tape that was used by the astronauts to seal off the CO2 canisters in order to continue breathing and survive for a few more days in space.

Given this particular focus on the built environment, Nike's innovative plans come at a timely manner with techwear expected to make a return in 2019, 

Perhaps, it is too early in the year for waves to be seen. Perhaps the shoe will grow on the community as they begin to surface social media over time.

Nonetheless, hype or not, we're a massive fan of both the shoe and what Nike is planning with their new ISPA design principles.

ISPA is a philosophy. A set of design principles that represents a pinnacle, experimental expression of Nike design across all categories, including the latest innovations and established creations.

   Darryl Matthews ( ISPA Design Innovation Lead)

Adidas' Response

It's been a while since Adidas has dropped something exciting.

Earlier this year, we discussed the fall of Adidas and attributed it to their lack of innovative sauce - hindered by their belief that re-releasing original Ultraboost colourways is the way to go.

And you too can agree with our opinion with many believing that the three stripe brand have flopped in recent times with the launch of silhouettes such as the Adidas Prophere.

However, this has changed with the recent tease of the new adidas Ozweego adiPRENE.

Source: celbestnews.com

It might be daring to say this but we actually rate this silhouette over something like the Adidas ZX4000 Futurecraft.

The shoe is simple. It's sleek. It doesn't scream out that Adidas is doing too much, nor does it seem as though they're reliant on the prehistoric designs of the Ultraboost or NMD.

The shoe offers a nice balance between new and old with its fusion of a new silhouette, adiPRENE cushioning that is notably featured on the Yeezy 500s; and the Ozweego branding.

Final Word

Yes these shoes are a great indication that Nike is back to its innovative best and that techwear is set to make a return in 2019.

However, the shoes remind us of something much bigger.

Whilst being low-key on the radar for most sneaker enthusiasts, both the Nike and Adidas silhouettes remind us that it's not always the hyped sneakers that should be sought after.

Yes, hyped shoes bring an excitement like no other.

But at the end of the day, what matters is whether you yourself can justify why a shoe is deserving of its hype.

It is important not to forget that if a shoe is appealing to you personally, then by all means cop it. You shouldn't let the hype of a shoe limit your options, nor should you believe that the worth of a shoe is solely dependent on collaborations and celebrity features.

With the end of OFF-WHITE x Nike, there is opportunity for sneaker enthusiasts to explore other sneakers and appreciate the uniqueness of such designs. And as they do, the way "hype status" is determined for sneakers will slowly evolve from just being affiliated with streetwear brands and celebrity endorsements.

Let us know in the comments which of the two is a cop for you - the Nike ISPA React Low or the adidas Ozweego adiPRENE. 


By Daniel PUSHAS

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