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What Differentiates a Nike Huarache from other Nike Models


Nike has been consistent in delivering sneaker designs that appeal to a broad segment of the population. The top-ranking footwear company maintains high standards in the use of state-of-the-art technology in its products with premium materials and designs that promote comfort and high-performance. The popular brand has also developed some different designs in its sneaker collection and one of its most unique is the line of huaraches. Here are the elements that differentiate the Nike Huarache from other Nike sneakers.

The Nike Huarache Sneaker: a rare model

GQ ranks the Nike Huarache as one of the weirdest sneakers that the brand has ever developed and produced. It's also one of Nike's best sellers. What makes this oddly designed sneaker so different? It's rare to see a sneaker in Huarache form. It's also a member of the Nike Air sneaker line. There is no other Nike Air model that is even close in design.

The Nike Air Huarache design

The Nike Air Huarache is made with a chunky heel strap that you won't find on any other Nike sneaker product. It's a bulky design that was invented in 1991 by the brand. Tinker Hatfield is the Nike designer who takes credit for its architecture. It had a slow start with most consumers skeptical about the merit of the shoe. Nike continued to manufacture the shoe until it found a consumer base and its popularity seemed to spread like wildfire. In 2014, the Scream Green colorway was brought back to life and sales began to pick up. The brand's consistent production kept it stocked in available supplies with a few collaborations to make it a special sneaker. The Nike Air Huarache went from a slow-burning novelty to a highly desired sneaker suitable for use with streetwear. Nike currently has trouble keeping up with the huge demand for the Huaraches. Huaraches are widely considered to be ugly shoes but Nike Huaraches are comfortable. The midsoles are layered to provide a wider stance with an upper made of mixed materials that provide the ultimate in support while maintaining comfort and flexibility. Since it was first introduced in 1991, the Nike Huarache qualifies as a classic shoe style as well as a retro sneaker delivered in a modern iteration.

The fit of Nike's Huarache

the Neoprene upper and sock-like design kept them snug against the feet with uncommon comfort. Hatfield derived inspiration from the feeling you get when you put your feet into the neoprene foot holders used for skis. The goal was to use this concept in an ultra-comfortable shoe design. This is one of the few Nike sneakers you'll see without the signature Swoosh. Hatfield defended the decision not to include the Swoosh. The Air Huarache was released in a variety of different colorways which gave fans a range of choices.

Who prefers Nike Air Huaraches?

Nike's Huaraches were first popular with runners. As time passed and the style became more well-known cross-training athletes and basketball players became fond of these secure sneakers that made training more comfortable. Through time the design was amended to make them lighter with more color choices. According to Sneaker News, Nike Huaraches were also a top choice for NYC marathon runners. Celebrity figures endorsing Nike Air Huaraches include Michael Johnson and Jerry Seinfeld.

Various Nike Huarache models through the decades

The first models produced in 1991 were the Nike Air Huaraches. These were followed by the 1992 Nike Air Flight Huarache. This model was taken to a pinnacle of popularity when the University of Michigan Fab Five donned them. The ankle strap was lighter to make the sneakers more lightweight and basketball sneakers loved the feeling they offered. The same year Nike introduced the Air Huarache International that was even more unique. It dropped the chunky heel counter and the upper was made with less neoprene near the toebox. The Nike Air Trainer and Nike Air Tech Challenge Huaraches were also released in 1992. The first was prized for the lock-down strap that held it snugly in place and has been re-issued on multiple occasions. The latter was a model that began to show more modern iterations of visible air technology.

The Nike Air Dynamic Flight was worn by Scottie Pippen during the 1990s and created a stir among Bulls fans. While it wasn't branded with Huarache in the title, it was also a related sneaker with the associated logo and neoprene technology. In 1993 the Nike Air Huarache light made good on its promise to provide lightweight comfort and performance with a similar model called the Nike Air Huarache Racer. Other popular variants in the Nike Huarache design include the Nike Air Trainer Huarache in 1994, the Air Zoom Huarache 2K4 in 2004, the Air Max 90 Current Huarache in 2009, followed by the 2010 Zoom Huarache TR Mid, and the Nike Huarache Free 2012 in 2011. The latter was followed by the Nike Air Huarache Light.

Final thoughts

The Nike Huarache is one of the most distinct sneakers ever made by the brand. The sneaker got a slow start because one doesn't naturally equate anything that is deemed a Huarache style with athletic performance. This couldn't be further from the truth though. Developing, producing, and marketing the Huarache style sneakers was a big risk that Nike was willing to take for the sake of offering something different. They stuck with the shoe model throughout the decades and after a slow start, it took off and became one of Nike's weirdest yet best-selling sneaker styles. Several variants of Nike's Huaraches were designed in a variety of different colorways to please an ever-growing base of the style. Retro huaraches are becoming yet another profitable niche for Nike with the sneaker that was miles apart from its other models.

Garrett Parker

Written by Garrett Parker

Garrett by trade is a personal finance freelance writer and journalist. With over 10 years experience he's covered businesses, CEOs, and investments. However he does like to take on other topics involving some of his personal interests like automobiles, future technologies, and anything else that could change the world.

Read more posts by Garrett Parker

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