Nike React Element 87
There is something to be said for a trainer that dares to stand alone, innovation is not an expectation, and to follow trends in today’s fashion landscape is a sure-fire way to guarantee sales. To go against the grain, to strive for something different, that is what separates the originators from the imitators, what takes a launch from good to godly. 2018 was a big year, the Off-White range multiplied, and the ‘dad shoe’ trend took over – putting a pair of Nike Monarch’s on Drakes’ feet and the Yeezy 700 Wave Runner on everyone’s wish list. To put a trainer in the conversation that wasn’t designed by a man called Kanye or a man named Virgil is a feat in itself. To do so without collaboration from a musician or celebrity, or by using nostalgia as its main selling point is what makes the release of the Nike React Element 87 so outstanding.
By taking on the heavy hitters of Adidas’ Yeezy and Virgil Abloh’s Off-White ‘The 10’ Collections you really are braving the elements and this performance runner hybrid named after the 87th element in the periodic table Francium had a fittingly explosive impact on 2018’s footwear meta. Designed with the simple desire to make running and walking more comfortable, this kick’s geometric design is owed in no small part to the analytic approach Nike took during its initial inception. Drawing from data collated from everyday athletes and the use of pressure map testing, the brand was able to develop a sole that supports the areas of the foot which experience the most fatigue in a way that hasn’t previously been achieved. The shoes aesthetic, beyond the innovative sole takes DNA samples from both the 1983 Nike Internationalist and 2017’s Zoom Fly SP, two of Nike’s most technically astute running shoes to help develop the framework for this model. The finished product, however, has evolved into a trainer mostly unrecognizable from its source material, and something you can genuinely describe as unique.
To quote directly from chief designer Darryl Matthews “People are drawn to the shoe because it has layers” built with translucent panelling on the shoe’s upper, the React Element 87 has been gifted one of its most unique qualities, a morphing aesthetic dependent on the socks you wear. The ability to develop layered and changing hues is a very modern adaptation for this shoe that takes it from being exclusively a high-performance runner to appealing to street wear ideals of customization, allowing wearers to tailor the look to suit them. For a shoe to achieve so much as a stand-alone creation in the current fashion climate is incredibly impressive. The React Element 87 can genuinely be described as a new trainer, and with the shelves being flooded with products looking to cash in on the seemingly well-established trends, to break the status quo and bravely break new ground is what makes a shoe stick in the memory for years to come. The React Element 87 for me was the most exciting release of 2018 and here are my top 3.
React Element 87 Anthracite
First on my list is the React Element 87 Anthracite, with a colourway derived from the element from which this shoe owes its name, this coal coloured creation arrived alongside its Light Bone counterpart during the silhouette’s maiden release in June 2018. It is hard for me not to imagine this shoe emerging from a crater after a meteor hits the earth, the profoundly elemental and natural themes that surround the React Element 87 is something I took particular notice of. That, juxtaposed against the revolutionary technological detailing behind this shoe is something that is most notable in the Anthracite – a delicate fusion of futuristic methods presented on materials we could almost consider as raw is this shoe’s main attraction aesthetically and really does make it look like a shoe for the future.
Undercover x React Element 87 Green Mist
Following the success of the initial React Element 87 release, it seemed almost inevitable that a collaborator would step forward to go to work on this much sought-after new school silhouette, enter, Japanese street wear label Undercover, and this is where we find number 2 on my rundown. The Undercover x React Element 87 Green Mist for me represents the best of what the link up has to offer, arriving alongside ‘Volt’, ‘Light Beige’ and ‘Lakeside’ colourways. The Green Mist’s swamp-like aesthetic delivers the same natural almost botanical vibe that surrounds the previous non-collaborative releases, and now with this partnership’s rather fitting synergy with the futuristic style that echoes through the rest of Undercovers’ product line, it creates a match made in heaven.
React Element 87 Light Orewood
Heading into 2019 the silhouette looks in no way like it is losing steam and the React Element 87 Light Orewood, one of the newest available colourways from the range is the third and final shoe in my top 3. Looking at the Orewood, I can’t help but make a comparison between it and the upcoming release of the Off-White Air Max 90 Ore, and although not a direct match, for me the similarities in tan hues that appear on the pairs while both sporting an orange-ish swoosh make it a comparison worth making. If not only for the vaguely similar colour palette, but more interestingly that the React Element 87 has somehow got its elbows in among the crowds and pushed itself to the front of the start line for 2019, rubbing shoulders with the very best. The React Element 87 model was the perhaps unexpected success of 2018 and going into 2019 already with a new colourway the ‘Royal Tint’ on the way the range has one glaring advantage over its Off-White rivals. This silhouette can genuinely carve its own path, go where no one else has gone, create something the fans have never seen, and here at Laced, we believe the React Element 87 from here can only grow.