Nike N.345 Series brings innovation to AF1
The N.345 Series is new from Nike. Attempting to showcase an aspect of the trainer industry that as consumers we seldom concern ourselves with: The design process. The resulting Air Force 1 N.354 is a stripped-down, but highly detailed trainer. Successfully cosplaying as a prototype for the iconic Air Force 1 low platform. The silhouette acting as this model’s base is one of the most recognisable and overtly successful in the brand’s history. The AF1 is a shoe we all love, and most of us at one point or another have owned. What we are probably less familiar with is how problematic a refined model like this is manufactured.
The Air Force 1 N.354 design
The N. 354 collection draws influence from this catalogue and merges the past, present and future of footwear to birth boundary-pushing innovations. The Air Force 1 N.354 is attempting to fill in that gap in the consumer’s knowledge. Presenting to us in the mainstream, a re-imagining of what a pre-production prototype of the iconic model would look like. Complete with a forefoot that suggests design-studio kitbashing (combining elements from other products). Faux hand-drawn Sharpie numbering, simulated hand stitching, and a transparent skin on the inner sides.
Of which is similar TPE construction to the very popular Nike React Element 87. All of this suggests a mock-up of a future product. A gesture that points all the way back to the shoe’s inception in 1982. With a somewhat more modern tongue added to hybrid the design further. While a Velcro strap wraps around the heel, locking your foot firmly in place for a supportive fit. Taped seams also sit on the lateral side. The most telling aspects of the design, however, come in the form of the model’s rubber toe-bumper that extends from the midsole on to the toe-box to offer added protection.
This shoe dropped on July 15th across online trainers platforms, priced between £70-£150 in men’s and women’s sizes and is still available on some sites online alongside the second component of the N.354 Series the Drop Type LX which boasts a similar concept-influenced design. Borrowing design cues from the NikeCourt family – namely the All Court 2.