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Here’s what it looks like when Nike asks women to re-imagine its most-iconic sneakers


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Photo: Nike

They say don’t mess with a good thing—and Nike’s iconic Air Force 1 and Air Jordan 1 sneakers definitely fall into that category. That could be why neither shoe’s undergone a major overhaul since its inception (1982 and 1985, respectively).

But on February 6, the sportswear giant’s dropping a new footwear collection, Nike 1 Reimagined, which, as its name implies, contains 16 pairs of classic kicks completely re-designed for the next generation. And because the OG brand believes the force is female, it tasked 14 designers—all of whom are women—with the job.

The idea that sneaker collecting is strictly a boy’s club can easily be debunked by a simple scroll through social media. Women are equally as obsessed with what’s going on below their ankles. That, combined with a growing preference for comfort that doesn’t skimp on style, has caused a shift in the sneaker biz.

Nike recognizes the ascension of female sneakerheads and their desire to make fashion statements with their footwear. “These sneakers are for a style chameleon,” says Georgina James, a senior creative designer for the brand. “She’s got different looks and different items within her wardrobe, and could have an opportunity to wear these so many different ways.”

Each of the shoes falls into one of five pronounced personas created by the Nike design team: the Explorer, Lover, Sage, Rebel, and Jester. The craziest part? They were all conceived in just five weeks. James says that the biggest challenge of the innovation process was giving every one a different personality, but still finding common connection.

“We’re excited that they each have qualities attached to them,” she explains. “We imagined the Sage would wear the shoe to something like an art opening, while the Lover would wear it to brunch with her friends.” Or, the same woman could conceivably wear both at different points during her day—especially since each pair retails for the relatively affordable price of $120–$160. I say relatively, because avant garde and limited-edition kicks can cost hundreds of dollars (cough, Yeezy Beluga 2.0, Rhianna x Fenty creepers, and Virgil Abloh Off-White everythings).

The neutral, white color palette allows their design details to speak for themselves. Think: cleating and platform soles, wrap-around laces, and cut outs. Made of materials like leather, suede, and velvet, expect these limited-edition kicks to fly off shelves once every sneakerhead from here to Hypebae discovers they exist. The collection, which is currently sized up to a women’s 12, goes on sale in the New York City area on February 6. It’ll be available starting February 9 on the Nike SNKRS app.

Hey, guess which ’90s fitness accessory is trending in a major way. Plus, don’t miss this limited-edition SoulCycle clothing collab.

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