Sole Facts – March 23rd to March 29th

By Ian Stonebrook

This week’s Sole Facts encompasses what’s now become an annual event for sneakerheads: Air Max Day.

With loads of retro runners and new models made off of Nike’s famed tech leading the way, we also see drops from the growing Yeezy line, a pair of altered Air Jordan re-releases and Dunk drops finally touching down in the States.

Peep the tale of the tape for this week’s most sought-after launches below.


Public School x New Balance “We Need Leaders” Collection

  • New Balance continues to roll out their lifestyle-oriented 327 model that’s been subject to multiple collaborations and casual adoption. The FuelCell RC Elite is an advancement from the brand in performance running, focusing on lightweight construction rather than that of their famous nubuck and suede styling.
  • Public School is a New York-based fashion brand famous for its runway outerwear and contemporary sportswear. Led by Dao-Yi Chow, this New Balance collaboration extends their “We Need Leaders” mantra to city running.
  • Previously, Public School has collaborated with the likes of Jordan Brand while the New Balance 327 has been revised by the likes of Casablanca, Levi’s, and more. 


Nike Air Foamposite One “Gradient Sole”

  • Designed by Eric Avar, the Nike Air Foamposite One debuted in 1997. Branded as a signature shoe for Penny Hardaway, the truly disruptive model reimagined the future of footwear and released between Hardaway’s namesake Air Penny 2 and Air Penny 3 models.
  • This “Gradient Sole” style lives up to its nickname, sporting a translucent outsole that shifts from royal to red to orange to purple when moving from heel to toe. An iridescent upper is dubbed black but almost reads as silver due to its glossy nature.
  • Retailing at a wild $180 when first released in 1997, the MSRP on this pair of Foamposite Ones has since jumped to $230.


Swarovski x Nike Air Max 97


  • The Nike Air Max 97 was designed by Christian Tesser, inspired by the radiating ripple effect of water. Tesser, now at YEEZY, is also credited with the Nike Zoom Spiridon, Reebok Aztrek, Nike Air Max Light III and other models residing in running and soccer.
  • Starting in 2017, Swarovski styles of the Air Max 97 have upped the ante on the all-time classic, launching in ladies sizing and taking on OG “Silver Bullet” and “Metallic Gold” colorways as well as a muted “Black” makeup.
  • This “Polar Blue” rendition recalls another acclaimed OG, redressed in women’s sizing with tons of tiny crystals and retailing for $400.

Air Jordan 1 High “Patina”

  • The Air Jordan 1 debuted on the feet of Michael Jordan during his 1984-85 rookie campaign. Designed by Peter Moore, the concept of selling MJ as a signature athlete brought to Nike by Sonny Vaccaro completely changed the sportswear industry and laid the foundation for what we now know as Jordan Brand.
  • This “Patina” pair pays homage to the original “Shadow” colorway, offering a distressed take on the foundational favorite.
  • While based on the original “Shadow” High, deconstructed tongue branding separates this style noticeably while a metallic, rusty patina effect graces that of the Swoosh and forefoot paneling.

Nike ZoomX VaporFly NEXT% 2


  • Serving as a sequel to the progressive original, the Nike ZoomX VaporFly NEXT% 2 continues the trajectory of the pined performance running series. Relatively linear in design, the sequel showcases a lightweight mesh upper rather than that of Vaporweave with famed ZoomX cushioning still serving as the calling card.
  • The propulsion-oriented carbon fiber plate and full-length ZoomX are highly regarded for their energy return with the second installment of this series adding padding to the tongue for a less pinchy fit.
  • The Nike ZoomX VaporFly NEXT% 2 retails at a whopping $275, having first launched for Nike Members and now seeing wider online availability. 


Nike Air Max 1 “Evolution of Icons”


  • The Nike Air Max 1 debuted in 1987 and served as a landmark moment in the history of the Beaverton 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.
  • An Air Max Day drop, this pair sports the famed holiday date on the heel with nods to the evolution of the Air Max line all over the upper.
  • Look closely and you’ll see toe box branding likened to the Air Max 98, an eyestay from the Air Max 90, teal logos taken from the Air Max 93, and grey gradient nods likened to the Air Max 95 and Air Max 97.

Nike Air Max 90 “Bacon”

  • Released appropriately in 1990, the Nike Air Max 90 also known as the Air Max III was yet another breakthrough from the touted Tinker Hatfield. The performance running shoe featured sturdier ethos introduced on the pivotal Air Max 1 to include TPU support, a sloped stance, and a larger Air unit.
  • This “Bacon” colorway is of Dave’s Quality Meat fame, honoring the NYC concept store’s butcher shop theme. First released in 2004 in hyperstrike form, the shoe grew from cult favorite to a culture-shifting collaboration in regard to storytelling.
  • Returning to retail in 2021, this re-release is an homage to the OG that represents raw bacon in terms of tones and follows famous Air Max Day bring backs from the likes of atmos collabs and OG inline favorites.

Nike Air Max Pre-Day

  • Debuting for Air Max Day 2021, the Nike Air Max Pre-Day is an entirely new model with nods to pre-Nike Air models like the Daybreak merged with ultra-modern tech likened to Matthew M. Williams collabs.
  • Simplified for sustainability, the model’s eco-friendly upper is enhanced by a heel that entirely exposes the Air bag for a pronounced and protruding progression on the selling point of the original Air Max 1 runner.
  • Created for lifestyle wear and said to be extra bouncy thanks to the new Air bag construction, this model follows modern Air Max innovations intended for everyday casual use such as the Air Max 270 and VaporMax Plus. 

adidas Yeezy Foam Runner “MXT Moon Grey” & “Sand”

  • First released in 2020, the adidas Yeezy Foam Runner introduced Kanye West’s interpretation of the foam-injected styling made famous by Crocs. Using similar design language to that of the ovular 700 series, this sculpted style proved popular and polarizing from the start, launching for a low price point but also in very limited quantities.
  • New “MXT Moon Grey” and “Sand” styles follow that of the “Ararat” debut, bringing to life a new two-tone aesthetic as well as continuing the original muted look. 
  • Releasing for $75 – though some reports say $80 – both new styles will launch in the US, Europe and Asia. Based on regional range alone, it is expected there will be more pairs in production than that of the “Ararat” release.


CLOT x Nike Air Max 1 “Kiss of Death” & “Kiss of Death – Cha”


  • 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 “Kiss of Death” 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 “Kiss of Death” retro first released on February 27th via JUICE locations around the world and pop-up shops. The original “Kiss of Death” colorway returns a month later on SNKRS in the US. On the same day, the alternate sample “Kiss of Death – Cha” will debut at JUICE locations as a China exclusive.

Air Jordan 5 “Stealth 2.0”

  • First released in 1990, the Air Jordan 5 was designed by Tinker Hatfield and worn by Michael Jordan on the court as a member of the Chicago Bulls prior to winning his first NBA Championship. A molded ankle collar, ventilated mesh window, and Air cushioning provided the technical tooling while 3M tongue styling, flame midsole graphic and a translucent sole provided pizzaz.
  • In 2006, the Air Jordan 5 “Stealth” released as a new take on the old favorite, departing from Bulls tones and sporting Sport Royal accents on the midsole and lining. Conversely, this “Stealth 2.0” drop elects university blue lining and black contrast on the midsole.
  • Last year, the Air Jordan 5 celebrated its 30th anniversary by way of Off-White collaborations, a “Fire Red” retro, and new styles honoring Oregon exclusives and “Bel-Air” themes.

adidas Yeezy 700 V3 “Kyanite”

  • First released in December 2019, the adidas Yeezy 700 V3 is the third generation of the progressive lifestyle running series with Waverunner roots. Unlike the V1 and V2, the V3 does not feature Boost but rather EVA foam.
  • This “Kyanite” colorway appears to continue a theme of royal hued Yeezys. In recent months, the adidas Yeezy BSKTBL and QNTMN have carried similar “Frozen Blue” motifs.
  • Mark Miner is said to have worked on the design of the Yeezy 700 V3 with previous creative credits including Nike Free favorites.


adidas Yeezy Desert Boot “Taupe Blue”

  • Introduced in Kanye West’s Yeezy Season 6 collection, the adidas Yeezy Desert Boot carries a similar upper aesthetic to that of the Yeezy 500, beefed up as a boot. Pairs were first released in 2018, later dropping in 2019 and 2021.
  • This “Taupe Blue” take continues to see the Yeezy line juxtaposing natural shades with that of royal tones. 
  • Set to retail for $200, this model is slated to launch at Yeezy retailers in the US, Europe, and Asia.

Nike Dunk Low PRM “Medium Curry”

  • Designed by the great Peter Moore, the Nike Dunk debuted in 1985 as a way to bring color and team spirit to college basketball. Since then, the shoe has crossed over to various categories with the Nike Dunk Low “Medium Curry” serving as a Nike Sportswear drop.
  • This “Medium Curry” colorway departs from OG Be True To Your School styles by electing earthy suede styling as opposed to varsity hues expressed in leather.
  • In the past, the Nike Dunk Low released in “Curry” and “Reverse Curry” iterations in 1999 via availability. Years later, “Medium Curry” Dunk Highs dropped in 2003 with Premium tagging and an all leather build. To many, “Curry” is commonly associated with Nike Air Max 1, Air Max 90, Air Max 95 and Trainer SC releases.

Nike Dunk Low SP “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 liken these to a Georgetown feel with red perimeter branding and a semi-translucent sole taking these all the way to the Sportswear sector.
  • The “College Navy” Dunks has been deemed a women’s exclusive. After first launching in Europe, pairs will now hit SNKRS.

Images via adidas, New Balance, and Nike

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