The Nike Air Huarache: A brief history…
Originally released in 1991 and named after a Native American sandal, Nike’s Air Huarache model landed with the question ‘Have You Hugged Your Foot Today?’ relating to the beacon design element within; a neoprene and spandex sock contained within the upper. The sock literally ‘hugged’ your foot and coupled with Nike’s trademark air unit and the notorious thermoplastic heel strap, the Huarache was arguably unrivalled for comfort and the ‘Huarache fit’ was born. With minimal branding, exoskeleton design and Phylon midsole, it was one of the purest performance footwear designs ever seen.
Pictured above is our creative for 2013 OG re-release
Following on from the original, Nike started to release a series of Huarache trainers. Basketball, International, Burst, Cross Trainer, Triax and the high-spec Racer models followed, all containing the famed inner sock and to varying degrees of popularity. The Huarache family was worn and endorsed by athletes including Olympic gold medalist Michael Johnson, adding to it’s actual sports performance credibility but also continuing to champion what was, and possibly still is, one of the comfiest shoes Nike has made.
Tinker Hatfield’s initial vision and sketches for the training shoe at the time dubbed ‘Harrachi’
The futuristic and advanced nature of the shoe was even translated into the original ads
Thanks to Sole Collector for the above image of the ‘Light’
An original advert for the 1991 release
The Nike Air Huarache Basketball
The ‘Burst’ version of the Huarache
Another rarity pictured above, the Huarache ‘Air Trainer 94’ (thanks to Sole Collector for the image)
The lesser-spotted Huarache ‘Plus’
With the latest release of the OG verisons selling out within minutes earlier in the year, the Nike Air Huarache has gained somewhat of a legendary and almost mythical status amongst the footwear fraternity’s newer generation. Older heads will remember previous re-releases of these hitting sale racks (the signed verison below actually sold for £39.99!) and coming and going with little more than a window POS to promote. But it seems tales of past missed opportunities and ‘sleeping’ pairs on eBay have only helped enhance the recent clamour for anything ‘Hua’ related. Always a firm favourite for those who ‘knew’, the modern Air Huarache hype doesn’t seem to be dying down anytime soon.
With talk of further colourways, re-releases and the like, we hope our office find below satisfies your Huarache pangs for a while longer. Found sitting on a shelf surrounded by other various deadstock from over the years, we dusted off these circa 1999 Nike Air Huarache trainers in the sought after ‘Scream Green’ colourway. Once opened, we noticed pen markings of some kind, scrawled on in permanent marker. On further inspection, it turns out that this initial blemish on what is a perfectly good pair of 14 year old Huarache trainers, is in fact the signature of none other than Tinker Hatfield, legendary designer of the Nike Air Max 1, various Air Jordans and, of course, the Nike Air Huarache itself. Quite a find.