Nike Sportswear: The Story Of The Spiridon Cage 2
Nike has looked to the start of the last millennium for their latest archival re-release of the Nike Air Zoom Spiridon Cage 2 Shoes, a style that has proved ahead of its time during its revival in 2003 and original release in 1997. Designed by the legendary Steven Smith whose work for the likes of Kanye West, adidas, New Balance, Reebok and FILA is enough to prove that anything he creates is sure to have impact, the sneaker was initially intended for the Japanese market and offered a focus on the overall design being as lightweight as possible. Highly successful during its presentation to sneakerheads and running enthusiasts, small tweaks were made to increase international appeal but key features such as open-screen mesh on the upper and rubber on the insole remained to showcase the design's ability to provide a high level of ventilation and flexibility in all the right places. As the name suggests, the Nike Air Zoom Spiridon Cage 2 is the second iteration of a 1997 running model which was presented in a silver, black and red colourway across mesh uppers which provided an impressive level of breathability whilst enabling sweat and water to run off the surface during marathons. Named after Spiridon Louis, the winner of the first Olympic Marathon in the summer of 1896, the Air Zoom Spiridon was placed within Nike’s lightweight category and featured a technological innovation called ‘Caged Zoom’ - a Zoom Air bag inside a protective and functional plastic cage - which directly inspired the creation of the secondary release.
Allowing the mix of materials to do the talking as opposed to bright colour pops or bold decorative elements, the latest metallic and block colour variations are reminiscent of a selection of early 00’s releases where reflective accents and polished synthetic materials took centre stage for a space-age inspired aesthetic. Wrapping around the entire shoe from the toe box to the back panel, a modernised version of the same synthetic honeycomb-style mesh upper cage seen on the 2003 model remains and perfectly captures Nike’s ability to think ahead with detailing that somehow remains relevant decades later. Lined with additional mesh that helps to support its structure, a portion has been left open around the ankle to show off the construction of the two layers with tilted synthetic leather Swoosh tick emblems positioned on either side. The mesh tongue sits below a lacing system that includes four loops on either side with double plastic eyelets at the top that allow for a customisable fit created to hold the shoe firmly in place whilst in motion. Supported by a woven pull tab centrally at the top of the tongue, a boot system within the design is complete with a mesh liner that ensures the extremely lightweight selling point of the model remains. It goes without saying that the memorable caged heel system sits at the heart of the design with borders that vary in thickness to help keep the weight down whilst improving stability and showing off the construction of the responsive Air Unit that merges into a sculpted outsole design.
Helping to boost the models reintroduction for this summer, an exclusive collaboration with iconic streetwear label Stussy sold out almost immediately and saw the design reinterpreted with light coloured hemp and cotton uppers. True to the original focus of the design, nowadays the design is considered more as a streetwear statement as opposed to a go-to running style but nevertheless, the new Nike Air Zoom Spiridon Cage 2 confidently stands out against the vintage look of many revived retro footwear styles by Nike that are currently on the market. Far from the first 1997 edition, the latest release more accurately resembles the 2003 edition but boasts a noticeably polished finish where new materials and innovations have been chosen to bring out the best features of the innovative design and they remain as impactful as ever.
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