Tucked in amongst the more frenzied releases at the moment are these gems: definitely something to consider if you need a break from the Huarache, Jordan and Gel Lyte madness we’ve seen recently. Some brands have operated like a chop shop by applying various technologies to a wide range of releases, but the NIKE FREE POWERLINES II LTR marry up a number of different elements particularly well. The first thing you’ll notice when you pick these up is just how light they are: that Free sole unit might look like it’s constructed from dinosaur teeth, but it weighs less than a pair of rope laces. The lightweight nature of the sole is designed to mimic going barefoot but shouldn’t have you questioning the comfort or support though, as the flex and movement is perfect.
Technology and fit are undoubtedly important, but it’s the aesthetics that got us excited about this shoe. Whilst the sole looks relatively low-tech (in all actuality, it isn’t – and these are Nike+ ready too), the top half has all kinds of interesting details going on. The mesh and synthetic uppers are stretchy and comfortable, with a mesh-molded inner sock and one-piece tongue that hugs your foot like a shy tarantula. The Flywire adds support and is a perfect place to add an accent of colour, along with the heel tab: it’s these tiny dashes of vibrancy that make these stand out on the shelves. On that note, the colourways are insanely good: Iron and pewter look amazing with the red details and the grey/anthracite scheme is perfectly spiced with a sprinkling of waspish yellow. Throw on a speckled midsole and a reflective Swoosh and that’s the icing on the cake. There’s also a blue/grey/orange Mowabb-ish colourway out there too (and a Newsprint/Green version), which completes this season’s offerings very nicely.
We’ve watched the reception for this model increase over the past year – search the forums and completed auctions on eBay if you’re in any doubt – and this latest set have added a dash of fuel to the fire. At a time when the spotlight of hype is hovering over the basketball and classic runner departments, this model should have a few savvy people reaching for their wallets. Just as happened with the Alpha Project shoes of the early 2000s, we think this will be a shoe to go back to in years to come. And, Nike, if you’re reading this, please please for the love of God bring us the Strata Grey colourway that we’ve been patiently waiting for. We know there are samples out there, so no excuses!
The shoe is snug in its nature: go true to size if you like to feel that you’ve got something on your feet, otherwise our advice is to go a half size up to give your toes a bit of extra room. The NIKE FREE POWERLINES II LTR in both the Grey / Anthracite & Iron / Pewter colourways are AVAILABLE NOW and can be found via the link-through below.