ARTICLE BY Boon Mark Souphanh
Nike React 87 Sneaker Freaker
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Nike Designer Breaks Down the React Element 87

Since debuting, the Nike React Element 87 has gone on to sell-out basically everywhere. A standard bearer for Beaverton’s ground-breaking new React foam technology, the shoe has garnered a strong following off the back of its futuristic aesthetic and eclectic design quirks.

As Nike explains:

Many classic Nike shoes were born from a simple desire: to make running and walking more comfortable. The Nike React Element 87 is one such shoe that also owes its geometric design to data drawn from everyday athletes.
Work on the shoe began by pressure map testing individuals who walk heavily throughout the day. These maps show the points where feet experience the most fatigue from commuting, running errands, and otherwise. Designers then drilled holes into these spots on running shoe soles and repeated the process with Nike React foam for added comfort.

The aforementioned pressure maps played a huge role in eventual appearance of the shoe, providing the framework for the trademark wavy sole pattern. Nike’s Sportswear Innovation Designer, Darryl Matthews, applied the algorithmic pattern to the outsole. The result: a curvy deboss that communicates movement.

‘After receiving this data, I worked on a two-day sketch,’ says Matthews. ‘The whole process was really a back-to-basics exercise that taught us new ways to make a shoe look and feel great, while also harnessing the power of cutting-edge computation design.’


A hybrid makeup of sorts, the React Element 87 is inspired by original 1983 Nike Internationalist (the tongue, toe, and heel clip) and the translucent textile and asymmetrical tongue of last year’s Zoom Fly SP upper.

‘People are drawn to the shoe, because it has layers,’ he says. ‘It's not a flat shoe, and the way it looks depends on the socks you wear. It’s like when Nike exposed the Air bag, except now we’re able to expose the inside of the shoe, too.

At this stage, however, sneakerheads are hoping Nike expose the date of a restock and new colourways. We’ll let you know when get any intel.

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