The Nike Free Trail Albis is an interesting update on a shoe that we've loved over the years here at Crooked Tongues. We hear you murmuring though, "Why not retro the Nike Terra Albis?" There's an answer to that: for years we campaigned to get the Albis reissued, alongside its high-cut bredren, the Terra Sertig (as seen in He Got Game), so we could live out the 1997 era when loads of good stuff dropped and funds were low. There might have been bad indie music, embarrassing movements like the big beat scene and lots of glasses with yellow lenses), but we had Humaras, Spiridons, a great Air Max and the Albis.
We made a fundamental error there because when they finally did release (and we're not taking credit for that — there's many fellow Albis and Sertig fans at Nike HQ) they ended up on saleracks for £20 or less and the OGs of both the Albis and the Albis II (which is an even more excellent shoe) were readily available on eBay for not a great deal more. Does that stop the work of Peter Fogg (one of the greatest shoe designers ever) being relevant? No way. We're just not sure that the current brace of shoe fanatics care much for Terra or ACG (and there's a difference — the Albis represents that year when trail running seemed to shift to the Terra range rather than All Conditions). But we love the whole Terra design language - those tongue labels and the iconic palettes on the shoes.
Want to know another great, underrated shoe? 2005's Nike Free Trail 5.0. That shoe was the evolution of classics like the Terra ACG and every Terra that followed. The perforations and the extra rubber spike support and traction made it a sleeper. The Stüssy and Sophnet editions are for those who know. The only real downside was the smedium fit of those things, complete with the fear of ripping through that fabric heel panel (much like the Huarache heel strap paranoia 14 years prior).
Nike Sportswear have kept the faith with the Free Trail in recent seasons, but the Nike Free Trail Albis covers two Nike lines fairly effectively. Sure, these shoes as mush like the underrated Terra Endeavor and its mid-priced ilk as the Albis, but anything that brings back this look is a good thing as far as we're concerned. Plus, these are better than those Sertig Air Max things from a few seasons back (though a friend in DC reported that they were pretty popular out there). Why Nike never put the ACG Salbis GTX out in 2009 remains unexplained, but it's good to see they've still got Albis on the mind in one way or another. Two of these colourways arrive in the store next month and they're a comfortable reminder as to why we're still stuck in the Terra era.