What started a few years back with Nike’s first attempt at constructing a shoe’s upper material entirely from cork has now taken hold and carved out a pretty decent niche for itself in the sneakergame. The guinea pig for this experiment was none other than the LeBron 10 “Cork”, a release that celebrated LeBron James’ first NBA title in 2012, and has advertently ushered in the age of the cork. Since then, the good folks over at Nike have shown little to no restraint in cork-creativity as this design has colonized other departments of the swoosh. The compressed bark material generated so much success and subsequent hype that it prompted a wave of releases ranging from Air Max 90s to SB Dunks, all laced with that bottle-popping love. Now Nike’s cork work is resurfacing this weekend with the Blazer, Flight Squad and Air Force 1 Mid for a triple release.
As the cork continues its takeover of Nike, the Air Force 1 in general has seen many different designs. Some stranger than others, but this one definitely hits the top of the scale on both extremes in terms of unique design and popularity, which also might be the reason why this silhouette is making its return. I mean, if it ain’t broke, why fix it…right?! However, this time around color schemes are reminiscent of the recent Air Max 90 Cork with bright crimson accents.
Another classic “once upon a time performance now turned lifestyle sneaker” that receives the cork treatment is the Blazer. Along with its cork upper, the original Nike basketball shoe gets a nice black leather trim while it continues the theme of bright crimson accents. Perhaps not as visible as the AF-1, but sometimes less is more and this Blazer definitely is proof.
Lastly, the Nike Flight Squad completely goes against the grain…well, as much as an all cork shoe can go against the grain in a lineup of all corks. Instead of bright crimson accents, the shoe that has been compiled from past designs of the Air Flight ’89 and the Air Tech Challenge II features a neon green outsole to offer up a dose of contrasting colors quite different from any cork release that we’ve seen thus far. All in all, this trio is another reason to be excited for the weekend. So, commence with the celebration, because the “Corks” will be popping off this Saturday, July 18, 2015.