Tuesday, 3 April 2012

Genealogy Of Speed | The Forgotten Bits

Two recent re-releases of 2012 (the Nike Air Flow & Current) have once again placed the spotlight upon the minimally designed runner/racer niche. For those who are believers that less is more, it has come as a welcome return of this neglected aesthetic. Over the years, however, Nike's lack of focus upon re-releasing old school runners has seen important members of this family forgotten, most noticeably the founding model, the Nike Sock Racer. In all honesty, its chances of seeing a re-issue are nominal at best. But that does not prevent the celebration of its approach towards innovation from which numerous successive models have taken inspiration.       

In the mid '80s foam was glued to the bottom of a pair of socks in an effort to make a minimal running shoe. Needless to say, they didn't quite have enough support, so Bruce Kilgore, intrigued with the notion of the minimalist approach, added anatomical contouring to the bottom, girdle material to the sock, and attached some nylon closures to two straps across the instep and ball. The idea of a running shoe made from a pair of socks was now no longer so left field. The elastic upper hugged your foot to provide the best-fitting running shoe available. Because it could conform to whoever was wearing it, it was virtually a custom fit. It was the first time anyone thought you could make a shoe that literally hugged the foot and removed everything else. It's bona fide legacy is still evident in Nike's latest venture, the Flyknit.  

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