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Nike’s Footscape has come a long way from its original design and intention, and it has taken another step in the mash-up evolutionary process with the latest drop: the NIKE AIR FOOTSCAPE DESERT CHUKKA QS.

The Footscape has always been an oddball. Originally conceived by Nike’s special engineering division APE, (the same guys that brought us the bonkers Air Rift) the shoe was designed as a specialist lightweight runner based on anatomic footforms – hence the name – with an innovative side-lacing system. Like the rift it looked weird, in a good way. Distinctive, different. That was key to its appeal.

Whilst it found decent success in most markets, the Footscape really found it’s niche in the Far East, generating a hype and subcultural clout in Japan that soon rippled throughout the rest of the sneaker-obsessed world. As with a lot of Nike’s best innovations, the growing cult following saw the shoe gradually switch from its origin as a techy runner and move toward street level, with versions adding a free motion sole, a woven upper, and chukka height, all dropping in a myriad of colours and materials.

So given the complex history of its family line, it’s easy to imagine how this drop could have ended up an over-complicated mess, but thankfully they’ve been kept clean and simple. Rather than the familiar side-laced chukka, this version brings back the entire upper of the ultra-rare 2006 Hiroshi Fujiwara/fragment design Footscape woven, which weaves criss-crossing strips of nubuck into that signature chukka silhouette.  Midsole duties are taken care of by a white free motion unit, where the detailed slashed and knobbled design contrasts the simplicity of the upper to great effect, looking better in our opinion than the original sole unit.

With the RRP on these being hefty, you’ll be wondering what makes them so expensive. For us, this so close to the original Hiroshi Fujiwara model (especially in black!) and so inkeeping with the bloodline of previous HTM Footscapes that they look and feel like an HTM drop, even if they don’t say it on the label. These are also brilliantly versatile: pinrolls, shorts, jeans or cuffed joggers, these will work with whatever you rock. That aside, the shape is superb and as with most Footscapes the comfort is unreal – although you may want to go half a size down unless you’ve got wide feet.

The NIKE AIR FOOTSCAPE DESERT CHUKKA QS is available now in three superb colourways, with limited stock. An expensive purchase, but one you won’t regret! Hit the link-through below to grab a pair.


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By @Slangwerks