NSW Spring 19 :
The Story Of The Nike React Element
The React Element 87 first debuted in 2018 on a catwalk in Paris, through a collaboration with Jun Takahashi’s Undercover. With such a significant name backing it from the start, it was evident that this shoe was something special and it received an online reaction to match, quickly becoming the main talking point on every platform. Appealing to a menswear market where the majority are stuck in stagnation of recycled designs, the minority are opening up to the likes of technical-wear which sees footwear heavily inspired by nostalgic design from the last twenty years, combined with the use of materials that are at the forefront of innovation.
Created for the modern man who was defined as a ‘commuting urban-dweller’, work on the React Element began through pressure map testing on individuals who spent all day on their feet, be it for running errands or sports. This gave insight into which parts of the foot dealt with the most stress and lead to holes being drilled into Nike React foam outsoles at specific target points, resulting in a highly responsive, shaped sole that offers up to 13% more energy in return.
Recognisable through a captivating, futuristic look that bears a cork sockliner within modern deconstructed uppers of varying transparencies - inspired by the 2017 Zoom Fly SP - the Nike React Element 87 plays into a growing trend that has been endorsed by the likes of Comme des Garcons and Virgil Abloh’s ‘The Ten’ collaboration with Nike. It does of course include some brand new features of its own such as suede accenting and rubber pods on the outsole which conveys sportive movement through its sculpted construction. Lead designer Darryl Williams explained that people are drawn to the shoe due to its complex layered look and noted: "It's not a flat shoe, and the way it looks depends on the socks you wear. It's like when Nike exposed the Air bag, except now we're able to expose the inside of the shoe, too" - hinting at this being the twenty-tens equivalent to the nineties Air Max generation.
Offering the same performance features within a more subtle aesthetic and a traditional sockliner - combined ideas of nostalgia with futuristic design are prominent across the React Element 55, which despite being undisputedly similar to its parent model, includes influences from mainstream runners. Taking design references from the 1983 Nike Internationalist running shoe, the upper is primarily made of a close knit synthetic nylon instead of translucent TPE, whilst other aspects such as 3M detailing and the asymmetric tongue have been replaced with suede detailing - notably resulting in a tighter fit compared to the React Element 87.
Between these designs, React technology has quickly become Nike’s most highly praised contribution to sportswear. Running parallel to their indisputable function is the shoe’s incredibly sleek and futuristic design which came not a moment too soon as the streetwear community seeks something that will pave the way for generations to come. This is what Nike do best; blending nostalgia and innovation harmoniously, to continually update the complexity of global fashion trends.
Always in Colour offer the most updated colourways from these models, including lighter dusty peach and rich moss tones, accented with pops of laser fuschia and deep royal blue. Like many of its predecessors, they will be fast to go so make sure to secure yours before they’re gone.
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