It seems like NikeiD has been with us forever. Slapping your own colours on an Air Max was hilarious good fun back in 2004 and though the initial high-fiving has faded, Nike has had the foresight to keep us on alert by periodically tweaking the colours, materials and styles on offer. Two years ago they announced NikeiD Bespoke, a souped-up version that, as the name suggests, upped the ante in every conceivable way. At the time, we genuinely thought iD had reached the absolute pinnacle of its potential.

Well, we are preparing to eat our words because we have the hot scoop on iD Bespoke’s next incarnation. You could say this is ‘back to basics’, but that would imply corners are being cut, which is definitely not the case here. Far from it. If anything, this is a welcome return to traditional shoemaking, meaning Nikes that are produced by hand using dress leathers that are so ruggedly handsome, they reset the parameters of what is now considered premium.

Let’s dive into the detail. The padding and lining have been removed and the shoe itself has been pared back to reveal a minimalist construction that has more in common with dress shoes than Rucker Park. The laces are hand-rolled and stitched. The leather-wrapped midsole is both lighter and softer than a standard Air Force. The sockliner is premium leather with full-length memory foam. The hang tags are also leather, with personalised laser etching all part of the package. All in all, it’s a radical and classy upmarket overhaul of the Uptown, Nike’s bona fide NYC sneaker franchise. And if that’s not enough, the first 30 customers through the Mercer Street doors will receive their Bespokes inside a wooden box made from reclaimed fir, complete with laser etching and a custom seal.

They say if you have to ask the price you can’t afford it, so look away now. You’ll need just north of $800 to park a pair of these Bespokes in your closet. It’s nuts for a Nike, right? The outlay may seem ludicrous, but all things considered, it seems a small price to pay for total perfection.

Bespoke AF-1 is only available from 21 Mercer St, NYC. Each design session takes about an hour and a half. Four weeks later your shoes will arrive.

Buy Sneaker Freaker Issue 23 now for this world-first exclusive!