The Nike Huarache occupies a prominent place in the pantheon of sneaker greats. Originally released in 1991, these shoes came from the mind of Nike designer Tinker Hatfield, who also designed the Nike Air Max and a huge chunk of the Air Jordan line. Over the years, the Huarache has evolved and developed with new technology to become some of the most comfortable, stylish sneakers of all time, and they just keep moving forward.
Huaraches were created originally to be running shoes. They were named for a Native American Sandal, and that was the inspiration for the most prominent design elements.
They were constructed with a neoprene spandex sock in the upper that gave a supportive, flexible fit. In the heel and forefoot was Nike’s trademark Air-Sole unit for impact protection, and it was all brought together by a thermoplastic heel strap, which gives Huaraches their signature look.
This design is actually a result of Hatfield’s own experience while water-skiing. The neoprene booties worn while water-skiing inspired the idea that shoes should form to feet, and not the other way around. Feet are all constructed differently, yet we all wear sneakers that aren’t built distinctly for them. If a shoe can form to feet, that can increase comfort and support across the board. That thought is the foundation of the Huarache design, and the reason for the sleeve-like fit of the shoe.
When it released in 1991, Nike’s slogan for the Huarache was “Have You Hugged Your Foot Today?” That couldn’t be a more accurate way to describe the shoe, and looking at the design, it was the only thing that really did. The shoes weren’t released with prominent branding. There was no giant Nike swoosh that went across the outer. These shoes left the focus on design — a sneaker exoskeleton wrapped around a sock-like upper and Phylon midsole. It was a true designer’s design, pure in every sense of the word.
The Huaraches were designed for performance and comfort, but ended up as a flashbulb moment in street style. The technology, all built for running, ended up giving the Huarache a look that the world just hadn’t seen before. They remain just as popular, if not moreso, today as the day they were released, and that’s because they transition so well between shoes built for training and shoes built for men’s, women’s, and kid’s style.
Later iterations of the Nike Air Huaraches like the Air Huarache Ultra lost some of the bulk of the originals without sacrificing the look. Nike did this by implementing perforated foam and three-layer mesh to give the shoes a lighter, more flexible feel. The Ultra midsole also uses injected foam to decrease the weight, and huaraches are complete with perfectly placed rubber pods that add in extra traction for stability and protection during cuts and jumps.
In a little bit of a different direction from the NIke Air Huarache Ultra goes the Air Huarache Utility. It keeps the same design elements, but build s them out with extra protection in the upper. The Utility keeps the lightweight Phylon and Air Sole cushion, but adds on a beefy upper that makes the shoes sturdier overall.
In 2018, Nike introduced the latest rendition of the Huarache, dubbed the Nike Air Huarache Drift - a street style version based off Tinker Hatfield’s running shoe from 1991. Featuring a customizable lacing system, this new silhouette comes with adjustable straps and removable clasps so you can thread the laces for a perfect lockdown fit. Available in full-family styles in Black, White and more colorways, this 90’s runner will have you feeling fast.
Another hybrid Huarache that makes its debut in 2018 is the Nike Air Huarache City. This silhouette is a mashup of the classic ‘90s runner the Air Huarache and another notable retro the Air Raid. Removable and interchangeable velcro straps inspired by the Air Raid create for a laceless construction while the neoprene textile upper keeps the shoe lightweight and comfortable. Take to the streets in this all new women’s exclusive sneaker, available in Particle Rose, Desert Sand and more colorways.
From these two to everything in between, KicksUSA has what you’re looking for when it comes to Huaraches. Shop men’s, women’s and kid’s styles on the Nike Huarache and make sure you hug your foot every day.
The iconic Nike Air Huarache gets bolder in its newest iteration: the Nike Air Huarache Gripp. Since its launch in the early ‘90s, the Nike Air Huarache has dropped in a barrage of colorways, collaborations and new designs making it a classic lifestyle shoe for athletes and sneaker aficionados alike.
In October 2018, the silhouette gets its newest update with the Air Huarache Gripp. A bigger, boot like version of the original Huarache, the Gripp features an extended inner bootie that grips your ankle, a detachable shroud that protects your feet from the elements, and an outer bootie that can be zipped on and off. The additional letter speaks to the shoe’s aggressive traction for excellent “gripp”. It holds true to its original slogan of “hugging your foot” while giving off a futuristic feel with its snug sock like upper and translucent sail that covers the lace.
The Nike Air Huarache Gripp will be available at KicksUSA for $150 in both ‘Olive Canvas-Indigo Burst’ and ‘Sail/Team Orange-White-Wolf Grey’ colorways.
In January 2019, Nike is dropping a brand new iteration of Nike Huarache dubbed the Nike Air Huarache City Move Premium. Exclusively for women, the Huarache City Move will arrive in a classic black and white colorway (Sku AO3172-100 and AO3172-600) with leather detailing giving it a rather premium vibe. A toggle lacing system locks down your foot down for a secured feel while a wavy sole unit under the heel provides superior cushioning.
The Nike Air Huarache City Move will be available at KicksUSA on January 10, 2019 in black and white colorways.
Nike Huaraches are designed to hug your foot, molding to the shape of your foot and ankle. Huaraches usually run small so it is recommended to order a half size up for a snug fit or full size up for comfort. Sizing can also vary based on your foot and what the shoes are used for. Runners might prefer a snug fit for the track or gym, while some prefer a roomier pair for walking or casual wear.
For its superior comfort and cushioned fit, the Nike Huaraches offers a very reasonable price tag. Men's and women's Huaraches are priced between $100 - $140 while kids styles range between $50 - $90. There’s always a good selection of Huaraches on sale at KicksUSA, so you can find a pair at cheaper prices too.
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