In comparison to the past two months, August felt awfully balanced – at least, in comparison to the New Balance and Nike-laden summer we’ve endured – with notable releases from everyone and anyone, be it adidas, Reebok, Jordan Brand or even Saucony.
The biggest release of the month once again came from rap superstar and prolific collaborator Travis Scott and his partnership with the Swoosh, this time through an Air Jordan 1 Low featuring the characteristic reverse Swoosh and Cactus Jack branding we see so much of these days. Am I a fan? If these were simply a Travis Scott x Jordan release, yes. But, I’ve got to mark down the pair for a pointless and lazy inclusion of fragment design’s namesake. Why is Hiroshi Fujiwara lending his logo to Nike for so many releases this year? I guess we’ll never know, but I hope this threeway collaboration trend gets buried sooner rather than later – or at least just the lazy ones. Hiroshi, just get back to collaborating with Nike and push out some HTM-level silhouettes once again.
Closely following up the Cactus Jack pair is a 50-shoe pack released by Virgil Abloh’s Off-White. At first glance I was uninspired by the Dunks, but once I got a couple pairs in hand I actually grew to love them – maybe not to keep, but they’re actually pretty good. One thing I will sing praises for, however, is the amazing release method. Buying a pair of sneakers, without knowing which colorway is going to turn up, I love it. I hope this gets employed in a wider sense for some other collaborations or projects across the sneaker scene very soon because it brought back some feeling of anticipation, like opening a Yu-Gi-Oh pack in the playground in your lunch hour.
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I’d find it hard to leave the Three Stripes’ success unpraised this month – between the NMD S1 and Pharrell’s Sičhona sneaker, I’m a big fan of the new direction the brand is taking and I think this feeling is widely reciprocated across the board. It almost feels like the Boost era all over again, but I don’t want to jump the gun on that call, so come back in 6 months and I’ll let you know if adidas have kept up these good releases. Can knitted uppers be a thing again in 2021? I’m unsure, but with new tooling like the below pairs I think it’s doable.
New Balance couldn’t go a month without a mention, releasing the Joe Freshgoods 990 in a perfectly executed colorway that works ever so well on the classic silhouette, even though I feel as if it probably shouldn’t (just like his last pair). As well as this, the Boston brand announced a follow-up to one of my favourite pairs from 2020 by way of a second WTAPS collaboration, this time in a more understated greyscale colorway. While not as exciting as the OG, I’m still a fan, even if my bank account winces looking at the price tag of some NB retails.
Aside from the heavy-hitters of the month, there are a few pairs I feel should be getting some big love. ASICS’ rendezvous with the official Kiko Kostadinov collaboration and Brain Dead needs some attention, arriving as a mismatched, hyper-functional sneaker I wish I could have gotten my hands on, while Reebok and END. linked up on an interplanetary-themed take on the techy Zig Kinetica which I was a big fan of.
My shoe of the month, however, comes out of nowhere from Saucony, with their recently released “Megabyte” pack. All three shoes are stellar, while the Grid Azura 2000 is particularly interesting to me – I’m currently after a pair, big time. Between these and the loudly-designed collaboration with Trinidad James showcased on the FSR show last week, is Saucony coming back? I hope so, just for a breath of fresh air at the very least.