The Sneaker Drop: June’s New Shoes From Nike, New Balance And Oakley

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The Sneaker Drop: June’s New Shoes From Nike, New Balance And Oakley

Words by Mr Jim Merrett

5 June 2023

Sweaty sneakers are never a good look. But the hottest shoes of the summer? Now, that we can help you with. Behold, the latest drops from Nike and New Balance, with a welcoming glance in the direction of Oakley Factory, the Y2K-era performance accessories brand given a new lease of life thanks to upstart, skate-adjacent LA collective Brain Dead. Their latest wheeze? Cut off the back of Oakley’s signature shoe… Which we guess is one way to keep your cool this season. (Psst. Another tip: invisible socks.)

Chop Saw Mule by Oakley Factory

The origin story of Oakley is like something out of a comic book, involving an obsessive pharmaceutical dropout (and motocross enthusiast), a patented non-slip rubber material known as Unobtanium and a dog called Oakley. The performance brand, rather than the dog, made its name with its distinctive sunglasses, but in the late 1990s began, inevitably, to explore the realm of sneakers. A generation on, the skate and outdoors-orientated creative collective Brain Dead delves into Oakley’s archives and picks up where it left off. Enter a clutch of shoes under the banner Oakley Factory that look like the future, as imagined from the perspective of the 1999 X Games. The chunky cutaway Chop Saw Mule is the summer slip-on that you never knew you needed.

Air Max 1 CO.JP “Michigan” by Nike

There’s a strong case to be made that the 1990s Japan-only website turned Nike subline CO.JP is the reason you’re still wearing Dunks today. By the end of the decade, its regional-exclusive colourways had become red-hot, must-have items in the US, with the low-top version of the mid-1980s college campus basketball shoe its signature long before it was embraced by the official SB skate division. This reworking of the original Air Max takes its cues from the Tokyo streetwear scene, but also the blue and maize livery of the University of Michigan. Not to mention the reptilian scales of previous Nike releases. The snakeskin pattern on the Swoosh in particular has not been seen in the wild for a good 20 years, making this reissue one to be kept locked away. Vivarium optional.

2002R Protection Pack by New Balance

Beige. Khaki. These are not colours that typically stand out. But slap them on the latest drop from New Balance’s Protection Pack line and you’ll struggle to look at anything else. The USP of this limited run is the unique deconstructed aesthetic, as if it were a prototype that had snuck out of the design studio and bypassed product development. But this unfinished look only serves to showcase the quality of the materials involved. From the fuzzy suede panelling to the mesh structure and the pillow-soft felt lining, this shoe is a very deliberate collage of textures and fabrics, and one that only looks better in neutral tones.

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