Have you ever just been walking down the street and noticed a sneaker you’ve never seen before? One that is suddenly the dopest pair of sneakers you wish you owned? This post is dedicated to those special finds. Those random shoes that didn’t release to much fanfare, only to find a place in your heart. Sadly I don’t own most of these shoes, but I wish I had purchased them when I had the chance. (I am a Nike fan so this post ended up being all shoes from the swoosh.) Let’s get into a few of my underrated Nike sneakers…
The Nike Air Zoom Cabos came out in different colorways, but this clean black-and-white version won me over. It was a modern update of another shoe — Nike’s Air Zoom Flight The Glove, a signature shoe belonging to NBA point guard Gary Payton. I absolutely love the style of this pair. I have always been big on mid- and high-top sneakers, and I really like the shape and wear of these shoes. The mesh upper and bungee cords in place of laces give the shoe such a unique look. (The bungee cords also look amazing at night thanks to the reflective 3M.)
The NikeLab Air Force 1 Ultraforce x Loopwheeler was a collaboration between Nike’s experimental division and a Japanese fashion brand best known for its high-quality cotton fabrics. Having a soft spot for Air Force 1s, this collab was an impressive spin on the iconic silhouette to me. I love the indigo fabric upper with two-toned color blocking. The leather tag on the tongue is my favorite small detail. The contrast makes it pop and adds personality. (See photo at the top of the post.) This release was only available at the NikeLab store in Tokyo and at Loopwheeler stores in Tokyo, Osaka and Fukuoka.
Another limited release of an important silhouette from the Swoosh was the Nike PG-1 ‘Flip the Switch’. All-NBA small forward Paul George’s first signature shoe launched in 2017. A number of amazing colorways have come to the market throughout the silhouette’s first year. This colorway released in May 2017 as part of a special pack to commemorate the start of the NBA Playoffs.
Just look at this eye-catching pair: the fractured swoosh; the neon blue-violet gradient along the midsole; the hot pink strap. It is an aggressive colorway that is so well-executed in my eyes. (This is one I really regret sleeping on.)
During my recent time working in Nike retail, one of the first things I learned about was the techwear movement. Prior to that, I had no idea what the heck techwear was and why people were dressing up like urban ninjas. Since then, I’ve learned to appreciate the look and the Nike Pocketknife DM is a silhouette I would definitely rock if I wanted a more ‘tech’ look. With a lace cinching system and an attention-grabbing blocky midsole, this is a subtle way to catch some eyes.
When Nike introduced the Flyknit Racer ahead of the 2012 Summer Olympics, they uncovered a new niche that has since dramatically changed the industry. Between then and now, Nike has led the way with a number of flyknit releases — I personally love my ‘Fire Rooster’ Flyknit Racers.
But I want to give a special shout out to the Air Max 90 Ultra 2.0 Flyknit released last year. Not every Flyknit makeover of a classic sneaker has worked out too well for Nike (direct your eye rolls to the Cortez Flyknit), but in this case I thought the company did an awesome job recreating the original look of the decades-old classic while still giving it a new feel. They even reimagined the classic ‘Infrared’ colorway to great effect, pictured above.
Do you have any underrated sneakers close to your heart? Which ones are they?