Sole Facts – February 23rd to March 1st

by Ian Stonebrook

After a polar freeze that even took to Texas, spring is soon upon us as we enter March. Because of that, this week’s Sole Facts sees big brands rolling out retro runners and low-top hoop looks in preparation for warmer weather.

Just the same, Dunk drops continue to play musical chairs with regional releases, CLOT prepares for Air Max month with a translucent classic and READYMADE brings their off-kilter aesthetic to the Blazer.

What’s dropping and why does it matter? Find out in the Sole Facts below.


2/23

Nike LeBron 18 Low

  • The Nike LeBron 18 Low is the latest below ankle iteration of the flagship signature franchise from Nike and LeBron James. Its mid top counterpart – the Nike LeBron 18 – was debuted in the NBA Bubble by LeBron James, worn during the Lakers’ 2020 Championship run and has remained in rotation during their 2020-21 title defense.
  • This low top look differs largely from the mid proper in aesthetics and composition. Somewhat stripped, knit construction is removed from the upper as are Air Max units in the tongue in favor of what looks like ripstop nylon. Welded overlays reference the current DIY trend while the 18’s Air Max meets Zoom Air sole is carried over in translucent fashion with a more protruding heel outrigger.
  • For reference, every Nike LeBron model has seen a low top counterpart release with the exception of the Foamposite clad Nike Zoom LeBron IV.

2/25

Nike Dunk Low “College Navy”

  • Touching down during the 1985-86 NCAA basketball season, the Nike Dunk has since seen its wings spread to lifestyle and skateboarding in the subsequent decades. The Nike Dunk Low “College Navy” is yet another lifestyle take on the Sportswear version of the Dunk.
  • This “College Navy” makeup is not an original colorway but once again harkens Be True to Your School blocking. A navy base with grey overlays likens these to a Georgetown feel with red perimeter branding and a semi-translucent sole taking these all the way to the Sportswear sector.
  • At the moment, the “College Navy” Dunks have been deemed a women’s exclusive slated to first launch in Europe.

Nike Air Tuned Max “Celery”

  • The Nike Air Tuned Max debuted in 1999 as somewhat of a sequel to 1998’s Nike Air Max Plus. Tuned Air is featured in pronounced fashion, proving the calling card for Nike’s turn of the century running releases.
  • Receiving retro treatment for the first time, the Nike Air Tuned Max is an Alpha Project design that was famously featured in irreverent print ads.
  • This “Celery” colorway was the spirit animal for Skepta’s storied Nike Air Max 97 Ultra collaboration from 2017, sporting the same sentiment in tones and metallic finishes.

Nike Dunk High “Vast Grey”

  • The Nike Dunk High “Vast Grey” is exactly what it’s dubbed to be – a white-based Dunk High with vast grey serving as the contrast tone. Be True to Your School in styling but having no origin to an early or now existing college campus, this pair once again sees the latest Dunk revival returning to its roots but bending oh so slightly.
  • Releasing in men’s sizing, this simple style shows shades of “Sail Pack” and VNTG variations from ‘12 and ‘08, only leaning on an icy white upper with no aging.
  • In the coming months, the Nike Dunk High is supposed to be more accessible and is slated to return in the famed, original “Syracuse” High.

Nike Dunk High “Football Grey”

  • The Nike Dunk High “Football Grey” leans all the way into the vintage vibes that represent one current of the Dunk craze. This lifestyle launch is based in basketball by its build and two-tone palette but goes left with a color combo tied to no team.
  • A women’s only launch, the “Football Grey” pair is contrasted by sail – rather than white – for an aged aesthetic and added opulence. The quoted color by contrast is also a hue bender, landing somewhere between eggshell blue and flat silver. In many ways, this style is similar to the “Neutral Grey” VNTG Dunks that dropped in ‘08.
  • For those keeping track at home, women’s exclusive Dunk Highs have been seen recently by way of the “Varsity Purple” pair and AMBUSH collaborations.

Nike Freak 2 “Taxi”

  • The Nike Zoom Freak 2 serves as the second official signature shoe for Milwaukee Bucks All-Star Giannis Antetokounmpo. The shoe is said to be built off Giannis’ trademark Euro-step and sports a decoupled outsole and forefoot Zoom Air to enhance the Greak Freak’s signature move.
  • This “Taxi” take shows shades of the famous theme introduced on the Air Jordan 12, denoted by a checkered heel hit met by black and yellow hues across the upper.
  • Even in its infancy, the Freak 2 has been rich in themes from the “Letter Bro” MVP homage to “Naija” colorways.

2/26

New Balance 991 Made in the UK “Moonbeam”

  • The New Balance 991 first released in 2001 with intentions in performance running. Over the course of the 2010s, the 991 reached a heritage-focused audience by way of Made in the USA and Made in England exclusives as well as a wide range of lauded collaborations.
  • In January, the 991 released to rave reviews by way of collaboration with Patta.
  • Though famed in collab colorways, this “Moonbeam” makeup revises the most famous grey style by way of a brownish tint added across the upper.

Nike Cosmic Unity

  • The Nike Cosmic Unity is a big step for the Beaverton brand in regard to sustainable sneakers meant for the hardwood. Worn by Anthony Davis, this low top look is composed with 20% recycled materials.
  • When it comes to cushioning, even the Zoom Air units have recycled roots. This pair is the latest moment for Nike’s Move to Zero initiative that signals the brand’s goal to reach zero waste and zero carbon.
  • The Cosmic Unity is set to debut in this “Green Glow” colorway, soon followed by “Amalgam” and “Space Hippie” styles.

The Whitaker Group x Nike Waffle One

  • The Nike Waffle One is a new Sportswear model for 2021 inspired by the original Waffle Racer and the success of recent releases from UNDERCOVER and sacai. This collaboration with The Whitaker Group is object dyed, offering imperfect contrast from pair to pair.
  • Led by James Whitner, The Whitaker Group is a hospitality conglomerate that is home to boutiques such as Social Status and A Ma Maniere. James’ acumen for business, eye for fashion, and heart for change has his stores serving as community leaders in the likes of Atlanta, Baltimore, Houston, Harlem, Charlotte, Detroit, and more to come. 
  • The Whitaker Group x Nike Waffle One will be limited to 500 pairs with each individually numbered. Retailing for $120, pairs will be sold exclusively at Social Status online and in-store.

2/27

CLOT x Nike Air Max 1 “Kiss of Death”

  • The Nike Air Max 1 debuted in 1987 and served as a landmark moment in the history of the heralded brand. Designed by Tinker Hatfield, the former Oregon track standout looked to expose the brand’s Air technology after being inspired by Paris’ Georges Pompidou Centre.
  • First released in 2006, this see-through style on the Air Max 1 celebrated the opening of ACU in China. On the 2021 take, the toe-box is made to be more wearable while reflective heel tabs and updated sole artwork prove the other major adjustments.
  • The CLOT x Nike Air Max 1 retro will begin releasing on February 27th via JUICE locations around the world and pop-up shops.

adidas Yeezy BSKTBL “Quantum” 

  • Following years of preview wear and buzzy by Kanye West, the adidas Yeezy QNTM/BSKTBL released in Chicago at All-Star Weekend 2020. Pairs were famously distributed on the streets of the city in Sherp ATVs.
  • Though almost identical in styling, the QNTM pair is produced for casual wear while the BSKTBL variation features performance tooling and fit that favors getting buckets on the hardwood.
  • Confirmation regarding this restock still remains shaky, but word has it the BSKTBL build is set to return in its original tones.

Air Jordan 4 “Taupe Haze”

  • The Air Jordan 4 was released in 1989 and was worn on court by Michael Jordan to finish the 1988-89 NBA Season and to begin the 1989-90 NBA Season. Designed by Tinker Hatfield, the Air Jordan 4 was famed for its implementation of visible mesh, Air cushioning and Flight script tongue.
  • This “Taupe Haze” take is a first for the Air Jordan 4. A combination of cracked leather and smooth suede cover the majority of the earthy upper, with black tooling and infrared branding offering contrast.
  • In many ways, the “Taupe Haze” 4 is considered to be a retail ringer for Travis Scott’s “Olive” Air Jordan 4 collaboration that was never released to the public. Rumor also has it that the cracked portion of the “Taupe Haze” 4s is said to wear-away and reveal an alternative aesthetic.

adidas Yeezy Boost 350 V2 “Ash Blue” & “Ash Stone”

  • The adidas Yeezy Boost 350 V2 is the second generation of the famed 350 Boost. First released at retail in 2016, the model has remained on the market every year since and has seen a slew of styles touching a variety of themes, regions and sizes.
  • After much teasing, the “Ash Blue” and “Ash Stone” styles are finally arriving. Each pair packs patchwork uppers with weathered hues and sharp striping contrast.
  • Both pairs will launch via adidas and YEEZY Supply with the “Ash Blue” installment releasing in North America, Latin America, Africa, the Middle East and India. Conversely, the “Ash Stone” pair will be available in Europe, Russia, Ukraine and Asia-Pacific countries.

Nike Air Max 95 “De Lo Mio”

  • Nike designer Sergio Lozano made the leap from ACG and tennis to that of running with the task of the Air Max 95. Lozano’s lens on the annual Air Max was a departure from previous pairs as Nike Running wanted to bring in new blood and take a risk.
  • This Dominican Republic-inspired pair pops with neon and 3M hits on the eyelets, with blue and red accents serving as an homage to the DR flag.
  • Previously, this Air Max 95 launched in May 2020 with a second stint slated for February 2021.

Nike LeBron 7 “Dodgers”

  • Designed by Jason Petrie, the Nike LeBron 7 debuted in 2009. Worn by James as a member of the Cleveland Cavaliers, the shoe sported Flywire on the upper and brought full-length Max Air cushioning back to the forefront of performance hoops.
  • This “Dodgers” colorway is a new makeup for the retro rendition, inspired by the local Los Angeles pro baseball team. Red contrast stitching on the tongue speaks to the sport while a blue mudguard features floral overlays.
  • First seen on the feet of King James on court in the 2020 Western Conference Finals against the Denver Nuggets, the shoe will finally be released as an homage to the 2020 World Series Champs.

READYMADE x Nike Blazer Mid

  • The Nike Blazer first released for basketball in 1973 as the third hoops shoe ever made by the Beaverton brand. After hardwood wear in the ‘70s and ‘80s by the likes of George Gervin and Maurice Cheeks, the shoe was reborn in skate and Sportswear during the ‘00s, eventually seeing collabs from Supreme, Stussy, Soullland and more.
  • Collaborating in the Sportswear space this go-round, READYMADE is a Japanese label led by Yuta Hosokawa. The brand is best known for repurposing vintage materials and cobbling recycled clothing for an upcycled aesthetic.
  • Previously, READYMADE has found fame by reconstructing classics from The North Face and Diesel while also making merch for the likes of Billie Eilish and The Weeknd.

Nike Air Total Uptempo “University Red”

  • The Nike Air Total Max Uptempo first came out in 1997. Tim Duncan, Reggie Miller and Vince Carter are tied to this model which featured full-length Total Air. Originally retailing at $159.99 in ‘97, they were a whopping $20 more than the Air Jordan 12 which was also on the market at that time.
  • In 2009, the OG “Volt” colorway returned for the first time as a retro alongside the also OG White/Midnight Navy makeup. The OG Silver/Black pair came back in 2010 with new makeups, tonal takes and House of Hoops homages to Reggie Miller also releasing around that era.
  • This Black/Red rendition, previously seen in 2010, is back once again for 2021.

3/1

Air Jordan 12 “Hyper Pink”

  • Designed by Tinker Hatfield, the Air Jordan 12 debuted during the 1996-97 NBA Season as Michael Jordan and the Bulls chased their fifth title. Inspiration on the model included Japan’s Rising Sun Flag and women’s high heel shoes.
  • Pink palettes are no stranger to the Air Jordan 12. In 2004, the Air Jordan 12 Low touched down in “Real Pink” to crossover success. Since then, the mid has made its way to retail in “Deadly Pink,” “Racer Pink,” “Vivid Pink” and “Sunrise” styles.
  • The Air Jordan 12 “Hyper Pink” is slated to launch in GS, PS, Infant and Toddler sizes.

Nike Air Max Tailwind V 

  • The Nike Air Max Tailwind V first found its footing at the turn of the century, releasing as a performance running shoe in 2000. 
  • Designed for cushioning, support and durability, this member of the revered Tailwind series sported Tuned Air technology, famously seen on 1998’s Air Max Plus.
  • In 2021, the Tailwind V is expected to go on a long retro run highlighted by an upcoming Skepta collaboration.

 

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