The American multinational corporation known as Nike Inc. is best known for its Swoosh logo that's featured on a variety of athletic sportswear that includes footwear, apparel, and various sporting equipment. This includes the Nike Vaporwaffle, which has been the buzz of the footwear industry ever since it made its official debut in early 2020 as part of Sacai's Fall 2020 Menswear runway show. The abstract features added a futuristic design of aesthetics and silhouette to this highly demanded athletic running shoe referred to as the Nike LD Waffle Sacai. Sized to fit the same as the Nike Sacai Blazer, the Sacai Waffle's features have a breathable mesh and buttery suede finish that offers more give than the Blazer, or any other style of shoe from the Nike lineup for that matter. Both the Blazer and Waffle come across as sleeker shoes, thanks to the upper narrow design. Despite being narrower than the rest of the athletic shoes offered by Nike, the Sacai Waffle, or rather Vaporwaffle, are remarkably comfortable.
The black and white colorway featured on the 2020 Nike Sacai Vaporwaffle features the trademarked Swoosh logo and the original waffle sole, flipping it on its head with a thickly stacked midsole that peers out from the heel. Similar to the Nike Cortez, the upper part of the Vaporwaffle uses a mix of black suede and mesh instead of leather as a design to make it a more breathable shoe. The Sacai Vaporwaffle features a second Swoosh logo, which is white in color and is placed on the shoe's tongue. At the timing of the 2020 release, the Nike Sacai Vaporwaffle was priced at $180.00 USD. Since then, the demand for the Nike Sacai Vaporwaffle has spiked, as well as the options in colorways. Because of the spike, this has also resulted in a number of counterfeits popping up like toast, as well as price points of the real deal as the scramble to sport these shoes have some Nike fans not caring if they have to pay at least twice the price of an authentic Nike Sacai Vapoerwaffle. On sites like Sneaker Files, there is a display of many different colorways that have become available since November 2020.
Founded in 1999 as a luxury Japanese fashion brand, founder Chitose Abe (nee Abe Sakai) sought to merge casual and formal clothing into its own brand that sported the Sacai label. According to Vogue Magazine, Sacai was influential in breaking down the dichotomy between casual and formal clothing. Before the founding of Sacai, Abe first worked with her mother, who was a seamstress, making doll clothes. She has also worked as a pattern cutter before launching her own brand in 1999. From 2016 until 2019, Sacai has collaborated with the brands Sophie Bille Brahe, The North Face, Beats Electronics, Apple, and Nike. It is due to her collaboration with Nike that has brought forth a number of Nike Sacai designs since 2017. This includes the introduction of the Nike Sacai lineup of running shoes.
In 2017, Nike Vaporfly made its introduction and its popularity resulted in a new series of running shoes that saw Nike and Sacai work together. The Vaporfly featured new technological compositions that have since revolutionized long-distance running as studies showed the shoes could improve a runner's time by at least four percent. The construction of the sole features a foamy material known as Pebax, which has since been Nike-altered to call it ZoomX. This foam can also be found in airplane insulation and is more absorbent than foams normally found in standard running shoes. Situated in the middle of Nike's ZoomX foam is a carbon fiber plate that is designed to add extra spring per step taken. This, combined with the VaporWeave material, is what brought forth the Nike Sacai Vaporwaffle series.
When the World Athletics issued new guidelines on January 31, 2020, for shoes featured in the Toyko 2020 Olympics, this sparked controversy and criticism that revolved around the Nike Vaporfly running shoes that were already in circulation as of 2017. The critics had stated Nike's shoes provided runners with an unfair advantage and went as far as calling it technology doping. As for the runners, their agreement that running in these shoes reduced discomfort and pain added to the controversy. Not since 2008's LAZR swimsuit controversy had the Olympics Committee faced this level of criticism. One of the major changes in the guidelines revolving around running shoes was the sole could not be any thicker than 40 millimeters and cannot sport more than one rigid embedded plate or blade, regardless of material, that runs at any given length of the shoe. The plate may be in more than one part but must be located sequentially in one plane, not stacked, overlapped, or parallelled. In addition to the changes announced on January 31, 2020, another stated on April 30, 2020, that any shoe purchased or worn by an athlete on the open market for a period of at least four months prior may be used in competition. At this time, the World Athletics reviewed Nike's Vaporfly shoes and concluded its brand's independent research suggested the new technology Nike incorporated into the soles of road and spiked shoes may provide an advantage in an athlete's performance. It recommended further research was needed to establish the validity behind the Vaporfly technology.
More About Vaporwaffle
The Vaporwaffle bridges two of Nike's infamous silhouettes. The controversial Nike Vaporfly and the 1983 Nike Pegasus running shoe were combined as one innovative design that was debuted in January 2020 and has since become an emblem of intergenerational sports innovation. Originally, this mashed-up design of suede and nylon made a fashionable debut at Paris Fashion Week 2018 as the Nike x Sacai LDWaffle. The features of the dual overlaid tongues, shoelaces, and trademark Nike Swoosh logos were highlighted with the co-labeling of Nike x Sacai on the heel. The colorways that were introduced at that time were green multi-color and blue multi-color. Designed to be functional and fashionable, one of the key features behind the waffle design itself is to also make it breathable and more comfortable.
Written by Lily Wordsmith
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