Why 2022's Coolest Sneaker Is 'Incredibly Boring'

·3 min read
Photo credit: Courtesy of Retailer
Photo credit: Courtesy of Retailer


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Tom Sachs’ NikeCraft General Purpose Shoe will be released this week in the Archive colorway. 2022 marks the tenth year of the artist’s ongoing collaboration with Nike starting with the Mars Yard sneaker back in 2012. This June, Sachs and Nike launched the General Purpose Shoe in the Studio gray colorway with blue pull tabs. The first campaign marketed the GPS as–quite simply–BORING. “It took us ten years to make a sneaker this simple–as simple as can be and no simpler,” according to the release. “A do-more sneaker. An own-less sneaker. A show-up, prove-it, whole-life, be-you sneaker.” In its first run, the General Purpose Shoe proved to be a materialization of mastering the basics.

Sachs’ values throughout this time have focused on the idea of having less so you can do more. In a 2016 interview with Vogue, Sachs stated, “I’ve been wearing the same tie, this width, for 30 years. Things go in and out of fashion quicker than they wear out. That’s called planned obsolescence, or, to be technical, it’s perceived obsolescence. Those things prevent us from buying heirloom and making heirloom products. I think it should be made to last.” In his interviews over the years, Sachs’ principles often speak to buying necessary, quality items and caring for or repairing instead of replacing them.

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This week’s release of the NikeCraft General Purpose Shoe stays on track. After years of perfecting the Mars Yard’s successor, the only change we should expect to see to the GPS is the colorway. “Just because you can doesn’t always mean you should,” states the Archive’s manifesto. “Resist newness for newness’s sake. Build on a proven foundation and innovate incrementally.” The latest iteration, Archive, features the familiar GPS low top silhouette but with a breathable knit yellow mesh and functional suede overlay. Differentiating detailing is seen in the form of orange pull tabs and plush worn yellow sole, while Nike’s signature waffle tread is cast in a new black outsole. (Famed track coach and Nike co-founder Bill Bowerman is known to have crafted Nike’s first shoe in the waffle iron.)

Sachs’ personalized finishing touches are subtle. There’s no logo in your face or brightly colored tag hanging off. Rather, if you look hard enough–or know where to look, that is – Sachs’ identifiers can barely be seen at all. From the hand-drawn printed swoosh on the insole to the manifesto-printed tongue tags, Sachs’ hand-written Nike embossed heel is actually the only branded marker on the shoe’s exterior. As the new campaign reads: “It’s not what you do, it’s how you do it.” The GPS Archive sneakers reference Nike’s history and values brought to life by Sachs’ studio.

The GPS design process was an incredibly thoughtful one from both Sachs’ studio as well as Nike HQ–resulting in the pinnacle simple silhouette that optimizes best-in-class research and technology. “The sneaker is a product of our ongoing research into how our bodies meet the ground,” according to the latest GPS release from the Seattle-based sneaker brand. “We opened up the archive, wore it out, stripped it down, kept what worked and added what was missing in pursuit of a perennial sneaker. An ever-better sneaker. A never-settle sneaker. A round-the-clock, made-to-last, built-to-code sneaker.” The script on the shoe’s inner tongue states that the sneakers are built for performance yet intended for everyday wear. “NikeCraft shoes are manufactured to the exact specifications of champion athletes throughout the world” while still supporting “all activities of your life”.

The new NikeCraft General Purpose Shoe in Archive mustard yellow will be available for sale on September 1 online at nikecraft.com and September 2 across select Nike retail locations worldwide.

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