In the spring of 2019, Nike debuted a collaboration with sacai, the cult Japanese luxury goods brand founded in 1999 by avant- garde designer Chitose Abe. It was a wild success. Universally praised for playing with the narrow divide between couture and sportswear, Abe brought a design sensibility to Nike that was instantly recognized as game-changing. She took Nike’s staid retro silhouettes like the Blazer, the Waffle Racer, and the Cortes, and pushed them toward abstraction by doubling the shoe’s tongues and eye stays and Swooshes and stacking soles. The resulting line was bold, different than anything we’d ever seen before in a shoe. The artistic intent, however, didn’t overpower the shoes, largely because the colorways of the sacai releases were irresistible (case and point: sacai’s Sesame Blue Void).
As we enter the warmer months, we’re all in search of clean kicks. This year, I’m urging you to leave the Stan Smiths for everybody else and get on the hunt for a pair of Nike sacais, like the green and gray Blazer. You can’t find these shoes at your local Factory Outlet or the Nike website; you’ll need to hit the secondary market. But there are plenty of pairs available at prices ranging from totally doable to wallet crippling. For this shoe, you need to hunt — which is part of the fun. Once you do land yourself a pair, just watch the heads turn. It’s not everyday you don a pair of museum-grade sneakers.
Alex French is a contributing editor for Fatherly and has been a journalist and editor for decades with work in Vanity Fair, Esquire, GQ, Grantland, Wired, and many others. He’s also the co-author of Sneakers, which will tell you pretty much everything you need to know on the subject.