If you’re looking for the next minimal and understated sneaker for your collection, you’ve come to the wrong place. As part of Nike’s ISPA initiative — an acronym for improvise, scavenge, protect, and adapt — the brand is gearing up for a double release of its maximized and modular ISPA Link sneaker.
A three-piece puzzle — In lieu of glue and other unsustainable materials and practices, the ISPA Link is held together by tension and designed to be taken apart at the end of its life cycle. Looking at the kicks, you probably wouldn’t believe there are only three components that make up the shoe: a knit upper, tooling, and a cage sole. Its avant-garde aesthetic is only further confirmed with the overly chunky lower half and brutalist detailing.
On the “Black” pair, the ISPA Link is given an inky exterior with exaggerated stitching on the upper, different prints on the knit fabrics, and a high collar. Loops secure the jagged, flexible lacing system, and Swooshes appear near the toe and heel. Down below, an olive green sole features a lattice pattern that’s inspired by cut mangoes.
As for its “Barley” counterpart, the sneaker implements a lighter color scheme with muted mustard, beige, and gray along the upper. The overly stitched components are still front and center, along with the special laces and branding. This pair opts for a contrasting dark red sole unit that also has the lined cut-fruit details. Because each shoe can be taken apart and reconstructed in eight minutes, you can mix and match components of the sneakers to become what Nike VP Darryl Matthews calls a “co-creator.”
The Swoosh goes even more sustainable — While it’s one thing to make a useful eco-friendly product with natural materials, like a water bottle or a bag, it’s quite another to create a product that actually adheres to the human body. Building the sneaker to have all the performance qualities that Nike demands while being easy on the planet was no simple feat. Matthews told Input he hopes the ISPA Link’s looks aren’t its main selling point, but instead the process that went into making it and its longevity. Once the sneaker is ready to be recycled, it could become Nike Grind material that will help build new products or equipment.
Despite all the innovative Nike technology, the Nike ISPA Link in “Barley” and “Black” will each be priced at a mere $225 — lower than many other ISPA sneakers A release is slated for June 22 via Nike and select stockists. Although the only way to reduce your personal carbon footprint and give the planet a break is to stop making new products, Nike is making it a little easier to shop more responsibly.