The Sneaker Drop: The Four February Releases To Have On Your Radar
Tomorrow, depending on when you read this, is Groundhog Day. Yep, the annual festivity derived from an old Dutch superstition, centring on Punxsutawney, Pennsylvania, where a woodchuck called Phil emerges from its burrow to predict the weather for the next six weeks. Of course, the cult 1993 film of the same name, where Mr Bill Murray gets stuck in a time loop in the aforementioned town, has led to the phrase “Groundhog Day” entering our vernacular to describe the perpetual repetition of events as our lives stretch into an endless grind, with no meaningful difference between one 24-hour segment of time and the next. (Perhaps it’s just us?)
If – and just a guess here – the year since the last Groundhog Day has felt in anyway monotonous, may we suggest that you could do with a bit of variety in your life. Take up a new hobby, learn a language or, you know, add a far-out pair of running shoes to your rotation. The shortest calendar month boasts no shortage of sneaker releases. From high-profile collaborations to high-tech reissues, these are best places to put your feet in February – and, thankfully, none of them could be considered humdrum.
New Balance X Casablanca MS327
When New Balance’s 327 imprint launched last year, it seemed like it didn’t really need a designer collaboration to make an impact. A silhouette that clearly belonged to the Boston brand’s roster of runners, but an overblown, exaggerated greatest hits, as if redrawn by a Place du Tertre caricaturist, it had more than enough personality without outside input. That said, Casablanca’s take has added a certain something – first, zingy citrus colours, then a more pared-back look. With this latest team-up, the model is established enough for designer Mr Charaf Tajer to bring something of himself to the shoe, with bold prints at the toe and heel drawing on his Moroccan heritage. A grown-up remix of the lovable cartoon shoe, if you will.
Yeezy 700 V3 by adidas Originals
Of the many disciplines Mr Kanye West has mastered, we wouldn’t have him down as a geologist. And yet the latest colourway of Yeezy’s now-established 700 V3 model takes its moniker from a mineral. In fact, looking at its namesake aluminosilicate, you can see where he’s going with this – the organic form of the shoe does resemble the semiprecious gemstone in its raw state, stacked around other deposits. Whether this shoe sees as much pressure as needed to produce this blue-hued crystal is down to the wearer. The knitted mesh upper with rubber overlay and EVA midsole, not to mention black sockliner, should ensure that your foot is comfortable, at least.
Yeezy 350 V2 by adidas Originals
Five years on from its debut, the Yeezy 350 V2 still holds up, and is perhaps the most “Kanye West” of the producer-turned-rapper-turned-designer’s range of sneakers. Dubbed the “Beluga” on launch, for its bulbous styling, it remains a piece of gym-ready footwear that will always look like the future. Indeed, half a decade on, it feels like we’re still playing catch-up. The new edition, called Yeeshai – a modification of the Hebrew name “Yishai”, tellingly meaning “rich gift” – is a reworking of the Yeshaya version from a couple of years ago, in a darker shade of grey with a more prominent stripe across the outside upper. Not that the colourway distracts from the architecture, which is more Mr HR Giger than your standard runner.
Air Max 95 PRM by Nike
This latest release has caught Nike in a reflective mood. Not only a premium reissue of its iconic 1995 Air Max model – itself a radical reimagining of the brand’s flagship running shoe when first launched – but now with added elements that really make it stand out. True, the dark colourway appears subdued in daylight, but night is when the magic happens. The upper is wrapped with 3M reflective detailing, as well as silver laces and a midsole, and the shoe really pops in low light levels. A nice nocturnal update of a classic shoe from back in the day.
Illustrations by Mr Ben Lamb