Last month I felt like I was writing a love letter to New Balance – rightly so, their product in June was incredible – but July saw far more variety and some killer pairs hit the shelves. This was a very balanced month, with strong releases from everyone and anyone, be it big names like Nike and adidas or newcomers like Afew Goods (yes, Afew launched a sneaker).
July saw the Tokyo 2020 Summer Olympic Games commence, and the product on offer this year has been better than ever, on all fronts. While I’m the first person to trash the Dunk for being oversaturated this year, the collaborations using the Dunk as a canvas for the Olympics are strong as can be: AMBUSH, Undercover, Quartersnacks, Piet Parra and FTC are all massive pairs that, had they released 12 months ago, would have people going crazy. Alongside these pairs, Nike SB also designed some incredible kits for the competing skaters at the Games, featuring city skylines, mountain views, and more in Piet Parra’s art style. I’m already excited for Nike SB to continue to shine every 4 years – hopefully they do even better next time in Paris.
It’d be criminal to leave out Travis’ name from this review. He’s back, and more hyped than ever, with his next effort with Jordan Brand seeing him debut a threeway collaboration helped along by Fragment Design. The backwards Swoosh is conserved, as is the stash pocket in the heel, but we see a far more out-there color scheme than Travis has ever used, taking inspiration from a 1985 sample “Reverse Royal” pair of Air Jordan 1’s that never made it to production. Being such a massive pair, it’s no surprise to hear that bots are out in full force. I heard that two kids got upwards of 150 pairs each after botting out the Travis Scott site raffle.
While the aforementioned heavy hitters above are the big news of the month, there’s been a number of underrated gems I’ve been a big fan of. The adidas Spezial 2021 collection is, as expected, very strong, especially the likes of the Hoylake. Salomon had a strong collaboration with The Broken Arm, with a X-Descalpes ready to wear on both the streets or the mountain trail, while the New Balance x AURALEE 550 is as subtly cool as it gets. I just with the latter pair was available in the UK – those Japanese exclusives are far too cool, and far too elusive for my liking.
An unexpected entry this month was Afew Store, who under their eponymous merch label Afew Goods, have released their very own sneaker dubbed “Yamasura”. The Yamasura, a product of 24 months of design, ideation and re-iteration, is constructed of recycled materials and is a lesson in conscious design. In terms of design, the Yamasura is uncompromising yet falls in line with heritage 80’s/90’s runner silhouettes – a wholly brilliant product that I hope gets followed up with more environmentally-friendly developments. Check out the incredible editorial put together by Adrian, Yuthanan and the SABUKARU.ONLINE team – that Japanese coastline is as good as it gets.
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My pick of the month is a weird one; the adidas and HUMAN MADE linkup has created many a brilliant shoe but this one is perhaps my favorite, albeit the least popular. The Tokio Solar HM draws from the Tokio Trainer, which was originally designed for the ‘’84 Tokyo Olympic Games – it’s only fitting that NIGO brings back the silhouette for 2021. Superbly sporty, and perfect for summer wear, the Tokio Solar HM is another of my favorite adidas pairs of 2021, a year of resurgence for the Three Stripes.