This is a Nike Sportswear project that split opinion in the office.
We like a heated debate but here in the UK the Huarache runner has a certain aura. We remember it appearing and we recall it being adopted at street level pretty quickly. This, a shoe like no other, with no visible air and no swoosh, was desirable just for being different and amazing to look at. Nike's Huarache system was a huge punt — if you've listened to the excellent Obsessive Sneaker Disorder Tinker Hatfield Q&A, you'll know that it was a leap of faith by one man, selling this shoe at track meets to reach a market beyond traditional stores that led to further orders and the model's bestselling legacy. Prior to that, it was about to be scrapped due to a lack of sell ins to Nike accounts. The Huarache could have been the greatest shoe that never was. In 1992, the runner and Huarache Flight design changed everything. Yeah, we had Bermudas, Sock Racers, Currents and Flows, but this was something substantial that implemented the sock fit. The Huarache boxes were amazing too. How many sneakers this experimental have been adopted by rudeboys since? The Presto had a moment, but its never been like the Huarache era since.
Even the JD and Foot Locker reissues a decade later attracted fresh disciples at road level too. The W+K campaigns focusing on the strangeness of the shoe and a "Have you hugged your foot today?"
query stay classic. We saw the runners on everybody, from Jerry Seinfeld to Kriss Kross. The Huarache Flight might have been treated with caution to begin with, but once Michigan's Fab Five broke them out alongside baggy shorts, rebel status inspired sales. Then we got the Trainer, the Football shoe, the Light, the Racer and the International. Derek Redmond's dad helping his stricken son across the finish line in a promo tee featuring that foot embrace sloganeering, plus the notion that you could actually run in these things (depending on whether arch height and thermal issues affected you). 'The Source' (back when it was good and blogs weren't dictating our rap diet) even declared it 1992's sneaker of the year. It was that latter co-sign that captures the true power of the Huarache system. We've been waiting on a retro of the New Emerald runner and Voltage Purple Flight for a minute and we're getting them in Quickstrike form. Except there's a catch.
The sole unit (a key element of the Huarache) has gone Free 5.0 on us. If you thought the changes to the forefoot on retros from the last decade were heracy, your year just got much, much worse — a first world problem, but a problem for you nonetheless. Perhaps closer in line to the flex minimalism of the shoe's Mexican sandal influence, that Free sole gives the shoe a completely new dynamic. Ah
, say the supporters, but this is what the Huarache would look like if it was designed now!
That argument doesn't really work. If it was designed now, it would look like the Nike Free Run+ 2. But the Free's getting a big pre-Olympic push and those uppers were too progressive to date. How effective would that sole be for basketball though? We might be overanalysing these ones though, but we maintain that trying to tinker with Tinker's perfect formula is pretty pointless.
As we said earlier, these have caused a few arguments round these parts, but we noticed a substantial amount of support for them and the other OG Flight colour (not shown here). What do we know? We're just old farts standing in the way of regression and a new audience is feeling them. Still, we hope we see a release of the real-deal like we did with the Lunar Flow and Air Flow earlier this year. Anyway, it's good to see that the Huarache mythos has maintained for twenty years. These Nike Sportswear Huarache Free 2012 and Huarache Flight Free 2012s arrive in the Crooked Tongues store soon as Quickstrikes, before more colours roll out next year...