Throughout the years, the evolution of Nike as a company designed around experimentation and risk-taking has found itself with three important figureheads at the helm of pushing forward in the world of footwear design. Originally only operating internally under the HTM pseudonym, Nike CEO Mark Parker, revolutionary designer Tinker Hatfield and Japanese design icon Hiroshi Fujiwara have spent the past 14 years testing the limits of what can be categorised as ‘footwear’. Experimentation with material construction and midsole alterations have always been the key variables in their design process, and when you’re working alongside the Boss, anything goes.
One such example from the teams extensive brainstorming resulted in 2004’s Sock Dart. Although not labelled up as an ‘HTM’ project and individually numbered as with earlier products in the range, it showcases the usual revolutionary materials we’re used to seeing on their output. Taking cues from the Presto four years previous, as the name suggests the concept behind the Sock Dart was to create something that gripped to your foot and gave you the feeling of not actually wearing a shoe.
The Sock Dart also gave a slight glimpse into the future with it’s material application, debuting a knitted fabric with selective elasticity dependent on how it was constructed in certain areas (an important precursor to modern day Flyknit Technology). As with the Presto and Mayfly, lightweight Phylon was again used in the midsole tooling to lose as much weight as possible, and combined with the minimal upper it made for an incredibly comfortable ride.
Following a re-introduction at the beginning of last year via Fujiwara's Fragment label and with a few higher-tier releases throughout the rest of 2015, the Sock Dart returns in three very clean colourways, all sitting atop matching black & white midsoles.