Nike's original running shoe, the Waffle Trainer, looks a little different these days. Meet Nike's Air Waffle Racer SP, a wild hybrid shoe.

Part of Nike's ongoing fixation on retooled classics, the Nike Air Waffle Racer SP sports a Waffle Trainer upper (now called the Waffle Racer) with a weirdo sole that fuses the Air Max Plus' Tuned Air cushioning to the classic track sneaker's bottom.

The result is a truly freakish shoe and I mean that in a good way.

This is footwear innovation, like it or not, and it ain't always pretty.

Seemingly conscious of this, Nike's first Air Waffle Racer SP colorways highlight the shoe's sporty origins with some incredibly odd bright green and purple colorways, presumably riffing off of OG Waffle Trainer makeups.

If nothing else, they sure do make for some sporty looks.

In a statement, Nike said that the ensuing shoe "[creates] a new look that celebrates both the early days of the Swoosh and the start of Tuned Air." No argument there.

But does it make for an appealing shoe? Your call. It's definitely interesting.

And that's kinda what the sneaker industry needs. More interesting shoes, less ordinary retreads.

Even if purists consider the final design less than the sum of its parts — the Air Waffle Racer SP is definitely no Waffle Trainer — there's something satisfying in seeing Nike push beyond new colorways into wild redesigns that're entirely their own thing.

And gimmicky tinkerings are fine on occasion but something truly original is relatively rare, especially when the end product is a transformed classic like the original Waffle Trainer.

The Nike Air Waffle Racer SP may be a tough sell to some but so others, it certainly will not be.

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And who knows? Maybe it'll go down more smoothly for everyone when Nike launches the shoe in late 2024.

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