This past week Nike Australia invited us to be a part of their Nike Sportswear Winter 2011 Preview, at the B2 Studios in sunny Sydney. We were one of the lucky few in Australia to see the new offerings from Nike Sportswear and more importantly all the latest from Nike Running.
We admit as both of us went into this event with some reservations, as we have grown weary of the continuous rehashing of current silhouettes to keep the ‘sneaker head’ happy. To our pleasant surprise the big swoosh came through with the goods as we were greeted with a giant wall of 2011 Lunar runners.
Our journey started very early, actually like 4:00am early from Brisbane as we navigated through the morning rush to get to the airport and three hours later were got to a chilly morning in the 2000.
We were greeted at the airport by a very happy chap named Danny who ushered us away to the venue, in a BMW 7 Li which we thought was a pretty good start, he even offered us to test out the sound system.
We just had to leave our mark as soon as we got there, then we made our way in to be greeted by the Nike Team and who gave us these individually printed contact cards with old Nike ads which we thought was pretty damn cool.
Still hazy from our naps on the flight we got thrown into the deep end as we got introduced to the Global Running Specialty Director, Kevin P who has been with Nike for over 20 years. It was funny talking with KP because his background is purely running but we soon realised that this man has actually played a large part in the street wear scene, more than he ever knew having worked on cult classics like the original Huarache, Mayfly and Presto among countless other coveted Nike Running models. We kind of caught KP off guard with our dissection of shoes that he has worked on from a fashion/streetwear perspective, it was really weird he had no idea the influence running shoes have had on the street culture.
The flagship Nike Running shoe of the moment is the new Lunar Eclipse, which has some cues reminiscent of some previous models such as the Huarache and Air Max BW but still remains fresh. We picked up on these straight away and KP was very amused by our nerdiness, he probably didn’t expect us to draw those comparisons. It was very interesting to find out that “runners” have the same aversion to change as “sneaker heads”, and Nike have acknowledged this by deliberately toning down the design of this range having found that runners are also put off by the over-techy cumbersome look that most modern shoes have taken. We feel this is probably the most wearable range for a very long time from Nike Running, simple paneling and bold colour blocking, with familiar cues seems to be the perfect bridge between old and new. Twiz is gonna break down our convo with KP more.
Both of us were super impressed by these Air Max+ 2010, the construction is really good, the Air 360 unit is ridiculously clean, KP stated that Nike is putting a greater on emphasis on quality. In the past there were some serious inconsistencies and kind of lost their way in both quality control and design. He mentioned that Air is incredibly hard to work with a reason why it doesn’t feature in many runners nowadays. He also shed some light into the reasons why modern retros of shoes don’t have the same shape as their original versions, citing a few reasons which basically boiled down to modern construction techniques and how air unit react sporadically to the curing process meaning that a shoe will never be as “sharp” as the original.
This is the Lunar Fly+ 2 which is another example of the new design direction that accounts for looks as well as function and quality. It doesn’t really translate in the images, but the shoes is quite reminiscent of the Air Max BW without being overly obvious. It’s definitely a better tribute to the original than the Lunar BWs currently around, they also come highly recommended by KP who was wearing a pair through the day.
This display of all the Nike Running shoes of yesteryear was really cool especially, cool when KP told us stories about the original shoes and how much of a nightmare some of the new materials were to work with. Apparently the original Huarache was a bit of a pain in regards to quality. It was also funny to see how surprised he was that we knew of these older models and people were still frothing for and buying these shoes.
KP walked us through all the new technologies and explained how they are being implemented, some of the new buzzwords being thrown around are Lunarlon, Dynamic Support, and LunarLite. The cut outs were really cool.
Lunarlon – The firmer carrier foam of the Lunarlon cushioning system is cut away under the forefoot, boosting the thickness of softer foam for a soft landing, reduced weight and enhanced flexibility.
Dynamic Support – The Dynamic Support system in the midsole offers on-demand support throughout your run, whatever your gait type. The wedge shape of the foam helps limit excessive pronation without the stiffness and weight of a medial post. And the floating heel clip wraps around and under the heel to reduce excessive rolling inward or outward, helping to correct both overpronation and underpronation.
LunarLite – LunarLite foam is 30 percent lighter than standard Phylon and provides ultra-lightweight and springy cushioning for your foot. Encased in a Phylon or Phylite midsole, this new foam compound, invented at Nike, delivers cushioning that’s soft and not too mushy. It allows impact force to be more evenly distributed and helps reduce painful pressure points on your foot.
Basically it means you get a really comfortable shoe that doesn’t have a sole that’s 5 inches thick. Plus they’re actually good for your feet.
There was also Lifestyle products on display, including the N.S.W range which presented the opportunity for the first time to inspect the construction and quality of N.S.W. It was pretty impressive although the price point is something that’s probably unreasonable for most and most of the outerwear would be targeted to customers to the South.
The footwear was pretty expected, there were a few industry types that were frothing over it but as far as we’re concerned it’s nothing moving, just a bunch of reissues. The standout shoes were the Lunar Wood+ which we saw last month at the Swap & Cop and the new fangled Lunar Vengeance. There are a few new models being brought into the ‘vintage’ range, but again these are shoes that have been done before and the vintage treatment kind of ruins them. If they were a simple retro made from nicer materials and not featuring the staining treatment on the sole then it would make much more sense from our perspective.
The rest were Dunks, Air Max BW, Air Max 90s, Nike Air Royal Mid, and All Court Low, nothing we are looking forward to seeing instores.
This Wmns Zoomsly Sister One+ was probably the standout from the women’s section. The football boots below called the Mercurial Vapor Superfly II FG, quiet a mouthfulwere really interesting, the graphic has a sort of grape influence, we really swooned over it, they are ridiculously well made and super light
The whole setup was great, we enjoyed being able to have a look at the new shoes and how kind Nike was to invite us along. As we’ve both discussed before, the current lifestyle footwear offerings really seems to have stagnated and nobody seems keen to push it forward. This newest Lunar range is easily the most wearable and exciting, we are very keen to try out the new silhouettes. You got our size hook it up folks at Nike…Just Do It!