2012 was a big year for Nike with plenty of modern reiterations of classic silhouettes along with the introduction of many new ones that are sure to be around for a while. They couldn’t have come at a better time either as one of the biggest trends over the past year was pairing trainers with everything – from proper running gear to full-on white devil business suits.
So as the year comes to an end, we decided to take a look back at the myriad of options now available and soon to come. Since the trend shows no sign of slowing down (and because we’re all for it), we came up with this thorough guide as a reference for the dizzying amount of trainers produced by the sporting good giant. Take a look below for the full guide.
First up is the colorful and now classic Nike Free. The Free was first introduced in 2005 as the Free 5.0. The numbering indicates the amount of cushioning provided by the shoe with 3.0 having the least and 7.0 having the most (so far). The trainer was developed shortly after Nike representatives noticed their sponsored athletes training barefoot, and in an effort to keep their feet fitted, set their sights on what would soon become the Nike Free.
The Free Run+2 ended the year just as strong as it began with the burgundy and black colorways. The sneakers feature a combination of nylon, suede leather, and heavy duty laces designed for outdoor wear along with a speckled sole for Nike’s “urban” look. The small swoosh sits next to the heel allowing for the Run+2′s moon-like design to come to the forefront. It’s an interesting choice in Nike’s infinite canon and adds a certain something to what might otherwise be a boring outfit.
Next up is the soon-to-be-released Free Huarache Light “Ultramarine”. While not for everyone, we can’t help but be charmed by the nostalgia-inducing colorway paired against the suede and mesh upper. The result is a sneaker that screams childhood like no other pair out there. If only I could go back in time and bring a pair of these with me on Nickelodeon’s Legends of the Hidden Temple.
Bringing us back to the adult world of business and responsibility is the Free Trainer 3.0 due out in January 2013. The sneaker combines a mesh upper with enforced polyurethane support and is covered with strand-like lines that increase and decrease with size over the shoe, creating a pattern that is extremely supportive yet flexible. The 3.0 on the Free scale indicates a barefoot-like running experience, or if you’re like us at Highsnobiety, a barefoot-like sitting experience. Not that that’s a problem though, as the intricate pattern created by the strand-like lines creates an interesting texture perfect for livening up any monochromatic outfit.
Undoubtedly Nike’s most impressive debut of the year was the Flyknit, which features a single-layer knitted upper. Weighing in at just 5.6 ounces, the Flyknit is among Nike’s lightest shoe ever; an impressive feat considering its very wearable appeal. The Flyknit Racer even earned a place on Time’s Best Inventions of the Year 2012 for its intricate knitting along with its precision fit. In short, the Flyknit is the type of shoe that markets itself.
Thanks to the shoe’s construction, the amount of detailing is astounding regardless of color like this subtle Flyknit Trainer+. The white knitting against the mostly black upper creates a smart contrast just bold enough to give it that contemporary edge.
Another interesting option is the upcoming Flyknit One+ Blue/Volt. Unlike other Flyknit’s, the One+ lies on top of a Lunarlon outer sole. The effect is a slightly sportier silhouette set against a beautiful blue/volt colorway. The eye-catching contrast allows the One+ to be paired with any sort of outfit, from dark to colorful.
We recently took a first look at the Flyknit One Spring/Summer 2013 collection and are already counting down the days to their release; mostly because we are ready for winter to be over, but also to get our hands on a pair of these. While some colorways are a bit more colorful and loud than others, we are 100% fine with any of them.
While not technically a trainer, the Roshe Run has had a phenomenal debut year and is this writer’s personal favorite. In fact, I’m wearing my Red Roshe Runs as I type this. (I’m not really, but for the sake of this story I am.)
The shoe’s development is as interesting as the amount of colors the sneaker now comes in. Dylan Raasch, the sneaker’s designer, began designing the Roshe Run in 2010 during his free time as an exercise in bringing value and style to a $70 sneaker. Both the inspiration and concept of the shoe come from Raasch’s Zen-like philosophy – the word “Roshi”, in fact, is a title given to a Zen Master. Since its debut, we’ve seen the shoe in every outfit imaginable which is not a coincidence according to Raasch: “I designed it so it could be worn barefoot or with socks. You could dress up or down in it, travel with it, walk or run in it, chill in it, almost anything. I felt the simpler I could make it, the more profound it would become.”
I can certainly attest to the shoe’s ability to be worn barefoot as can anyone within a 20-foot radius whenever I take them off.
Closing up the Roshe Run’s debut year is the Premium NRG. Available in 2 different colorways, the NRG utilizes premium textile overlays and a reinforced nylon toe, while oilcloth and waterproof nubuck add to the sneakers water-resistant capabilities. Thanks to the special materials used, the NRG can complement an already sophisticated outfit or bring up a simple, effortless one.
The near future of the shoe looks even brighter with the likes of the insta-cop all black woven. The sneaker, due out in early 2013, feature tonal uppers with a mixture of premium suede and woven mesh. The dark color in combination with the unique materials adds a tasteful, subtle touch to any outfit – casual or formal.
Rounding off this list is the Nike Lunar. Although Lunar technically refers only to the cushiony outer sole, the sole’s uniqueness deserves its own spot. We saw the Lunarlon everywhere this year from the Pre Montreal Vintage Lunar Racer to the Lunar Blazer, and that is more than fine by us. The Lunar successfully allowed Nike to fuse many old and classic silhouettes with new technologies and colors.
Take, for instance, the Vortex Vintage Lunar QS with its vintage treated-leather upper, mesh, and nylon detailing set against a striking light blue Lunarlon sole. Even my hard-to-impress and needless to say, dashing, coworker Fritz was sold on them. If these trainers have his seal of approval then they definitely have my seal of approval.
Another end of the year treat from Nike is the Lunar Flow Woven LTH Holiday Pack. Once again, a woven leather upper makes an appearance this time against a speckled, colored, Lunarlon outer sole. The sneaker, with its blend of materials, contrasting colors and patterns, is essentially a killing-it outfit condensed into a pair of shoes. Thus, the only thing that can happen when paired with an already killing-it outfit is an even more killing-it outfit.
Last up is the Lunar Safari Fuse+ which is really the only sneaker deserving of the title “Lunar”. I wouldn’t be surprised if these became the official shoe of NASA astronauts. Actually I would, because that would be crazy irresponsible of NASA. Luckily, most of us are positioned here on earth where things like black/violet-stadium green colorways are more relevant than picking up rocks on the moon.
So there you have it: dozens of great trainers are already on the market and just as many are to be released in the near future. Stay tuned next week where we’ll take a look back on the scores of offerings from classic sneaker brand New Balance.