What can indigenous native cultures teach us about running? Everything we need to know, if you listen to proponents of the growing barefoot running movement. Considering that one statistic reveals 79 percent of all runners are injured every year, even while running shoe technology continues apace, those shoeless joes may have a point. As with most things, Tinker Hatfield was ahead of the curve, designing performance athletic shoes inspired by the primitive huarache sandals of the Mayans. (For our purposes, let's ignore the fact that Blue Ribbon Sports, the company that would later become Nike, was mostly responsible for introducing the world to the concept of cushioned running shoes.) Nike released Tinker's Air Flight Huarache in 1992, a futuristic looking basketball sneaker that did away with excess padding (as well as the Swoosh). The shoe represented a lightweight minimalist approach, and featured a stretchy interior bootie for a snug fit. A revolutionary sneaker, they were worn by Michigan's Fab Five, the brash and fearless freshmen quintet who themselves would go on to revolutionize the game of basketball, even down to how men should wear their shorts. (John Stockton, alas, never did get the memo.)
This month Nike is re-releasing the Air Flight Huarache with a twist, though this is a refashioning that makes absolute sense. In fusing the shoe with a Nike Free sole, the brand finishes what it began twenty years ago, creating a performance sneaker that allows the human body to run the way nature intended it to. Available now at Japan's atmos, these should be hitting select Nike Sportswear retailers here in the next few weeks.
Color: White/Royal Blue-Purple