Sneakers are in. Over the past few years, we've seen the concept of the It shoe veer away from high heels and thigh-high boots to comfortable, down-to-earth kicks. We love this not only because we love to be comfortable whenever possible, but also because adding sneakers to an unexpected outfit — think sneakers with flowery maxi dress, or a cool suit — automatically ups the ante.
And when it comes to adding a dose of cool, Nike always knows where it's at. Whether it's issuing its classic styles in unexpected materials like purple velvet, or collaborating with our favorite designers (hello Riccardo Tisci and Virgil Abloh!), we know the sportswear-cum-fashion brand will never steer us wrong.
Now the company is launching a new collection, the 1 Reimagined, which takes the iconic styles of the Air Force One and the Air Jordan One, and well, reimagines them for the 21st century woman. But this offering isn't just about different color ways. No, the all-female design team behind the 1 Reimagined managed to completely turn the concept of the sneaker on its head.
"One of our key objectives [when developing this collection], was to deliver something for the consumer that she'd never seen before, based on the [Air Force Ones and the Air Jordan Ones," Georgina James, senior creative director of women's footwear, tells Refinery29. "It was incredibly exciting to see how within the space of a few days we went from the OG styles, to ten completely new styles."
The 10 new styles are divided into five themes, or personality types; the explorer, which features details like reflective utility layering; the jester, with its off-center details, like a swoosh that goes into the chunky, extra-thick soles; the lover, arguably the most feminine styles, with one style closely resembling an ankle-strap Mary Jane; the rebel, with one style featuring lacing on the back of the shoe; and the sage, which features the most minimal styles devoid of any extraneous details.
The fact that the final designs have proven to be so unlike anything the brand has produced before might also have something to do with the design process behind them. "We set some rules up about how we wanted to work together," Marie Crow, material design director at Nike Women, adds. "Be open, be honest, stay chill, have fun, check your egos at the door." Although these were the rules the designers set for themselves during their creative process, it's not hard to see how the shoes themselves reflect those same ideals — and in the process, reveal the type of woman — or man — who might be into these new styles. Because although the shoes were designed with women in mind, the designers are well aware that when it comes to sneakers, gender is truly a construct. "We know these icons mean a lot to men and women, and we know that our consumers love to buy our shoes and style them in their own way," James said.