Throwback to the ’90s? Nah, let’s throwback to the 15th century

In Japan, sneakerheads have long enjoyed a variety of cool and limited edition kicks. From sneakers with cherry blossom motifs to certain pairs paying homage to Japanese pop culture, there’s a lot of variety to go around, and now lovers of Japanese artisanship as well as slick-looking shoes are in for a pleasant surprise as Nike is set to release a special pair of sneakers which blend traditional Japanese indigo dyeing and footwear with modern shoes.

Dubbed the “ISPA Drifter Indigo,” these distinctive sneakers incorporate the construction of tabi, or sturdy Japanese split toe socks, and employ a dye made from a fermented version of the Japanese indigo plant. Though this isn’t the first sneaker to incorporate a blue hue iconic to the Japanese cloth-dyeing scene, we’re certain fans of Nike, Japanese culture, or both, are in for a treat given the amount of detail and care put into the design.

▼ Fun fact: ISPA stands for “Improvise. Scavenge. Protect. Affect.”

▼ Amusingly enough, complementing split-toe socks will also be included so you don’t have to hunt for a pair of fitting socks immediately.

Dyeing and overall manufacturing of the sneakers will be overseen by Tokushima-based atelier BUAISOU, which is known for cultivating its own indigo. For the ISPA Drifter Indigo, this atelier will primarily focus on using traditional techniques passed through generations of artisans, which is a great appeal point if one happens to like historical craftsmanship.

In terms of the materials going into the sneaker’s design, the outer sole and suede will consist of cork whereas hemp will be used for the sneaker’s top part. The latter is a nice touch considering how hemp was one of the main materials used for waraji, or Japanese sandal-like footwear in the medieval period, so folks who are avidly interested in Japanese craftsmanship will no doubt be excited by this new sneaker.

The ISPA Drifter Indigo will be available from August 31, 2021 at 9 a.m. Each pair will cost 60,500 yen (US$550) and customers are limited to one pair per purchase. If you happen to be a sneakerhead cultivating a Japanese tradition-inspired collection, feel free to also check out these amazing sneakers such as this pair modeled after Japanese sweets or even these shoes imbuing Japanese calligraphy.

Source: Nike via Japaaan
Images: Nike
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