The Nike Montreal Racer has been one of this year’s success stories at retro level.
Somewhere in the brand’s 40th anniversary (and there’s evidently been a tactical decision to look forward and not make too much of an issue out of that milestone birthday), they’ve managed to put out a 1970s milestone and drop the FlyKnit collection — a set of shoes that’s putting contemporary design back in the spotlight. But you can see the lineage between that new innovation and what Bill Bowerman engineered for Steve Prefontaine that became the Pre Montreal spike and ultimately the Pre Montreal Racer you see right here. That seamless forefoot was something that Bill worked on in line with the rebel runner’s requests, minimising rubbing during a run and upping the comfort. Without that kind of move, would we get the Sting, Bermudas, Sock Racers, Flows, Huaraches, Wovens, Prestos and ultimately, the FlyKnit? Probably, but those designs may well have been delayed. This kind of design let Nike forge their own identity and take their lead in the brand wars to create a definitive athletic shoe. This couple of colourways are perfect examples of proto tech and suede and mesh will always win. By dropping a little contrast light grey suede on the heel, these makeovers deliver plenty of texture and colour. Did that basic, lightweight runner format change a lot? Sure, it got excessive in the 1980s and 1990s as we walked with a bop on portable trampolines, but now simple shoes are considered a revolutionary concept. Bill seemed to understand that from the very beginning. These road-friendly takes on a pivotal Nike moment deserve all the success they're getting at the moment and both colourways are in the Crooked Tongues store rright now