The same era also produced the Reebok Insta Pump Fury which
used air for a custom fit, as well as other freaky-deaky elastic foot
covers such as the Nike Seismic and Air Rift. As we’ve noted often,
Nike designs from this era inspired many a double-take in sneaker
stores. As neoprene and elastic engineered a takeover, a new
direction was forged. Though the Air Flow, Air Current and Presto
featured laces that were token at best, aiming for a 100% laceless
construction became the natural progression.
Emboldened by this trend, the Nike Footscape with its quirky side-
lacing system debuted in 1995. The initial reaction was confusion
and suspicion. What the hell were the laces doing on the side of
the shoe? A major campaign with excellent ‘blown-up’ advertising
from Wieden+Kennedy prevented the Footscape from disappearing
quietly. To this day they still look unusual, proof that breaking with
tradition can be both functional and beautiful. We also unearthed an
extraordinarily rare ASICS model known as the Gel Mai which also
features a side-lacing system.
Now it’s time to bring this discussion all the way back to the home
base. There’s no doubt that laces are the most perfect example of
cost-effective, minimalist design, but life would be boring if
everybody stuck to the rules and respected tradition. Let’s take
a look back at the last three decades of shoe design and see if we
can uncover some more dastardly Wacky Laces!
Check out our next feature: 2011 - BEST OF THE BEST SNEAKERS