The Nike Air Rift has always been a unique-looking member of the Swoosh family. Combining a split-toe-design evocative of the traditional Japanese tabi worn by samurai (the only group to ever make top-knots look cool) together with futuristic running tech, the shoe looks equally as much Rashomon as it does Akira.
The next Air Rift on the way is poised to be a little more unique than the rest. NikeLab have hit the unconventional silhouette with a modern makeover, releasing flicks of a re-engineered 'Strapless' Rift in coke-white mesh. What's most noticeable about the new design is, as the name implies, the removal of the distinctive upper-foot strap, which has been replaced by an all-over foot-hugging mesh upper. The removal of the strap also does away with the Rift's distinctive window of exposed forefoot, covering up that cheeky bit of skin – the opposite of what might come to mind when one hears the term 'strapless'. Despite the name, the silhouette isn't entirely strapless, with the Rift's standard heel strap remaining, to secure the perfect fit.
Perhaps the most glaring omission on these, strap aside, is the apparent nixing of the split-toe design. It could just be the angles, but the Rift's most distinctive feature appears to have been given the boot. It will be interesting to see if this extreme deviation from the original will sit well with Air Rift purists.
Stay tuned for all the NikeLab Air Rift release information dropping shortly.