There's no shortage of rare sneakers dropping in 2020. But, as much I'm looking forward to styles like the Air Jordan 1 x Dior, there's one pair in particular that I haven't stopped thinking about since it was revealed in February: the "Space Hippie 3." This sneaker is part of Nike's Space Hippie collection, which consists of four different models, each made from recycled materials and sporting their own unique, funky design. The Space Hippie 3, thanks to its exposed Flyease lacing system, high-top form, and a thick Crater Foam midsole, is as futuristic as can be — and if you're gonna call a sneaker Space Hippie, well, it better look like I could easily wear it to the moon, Mars, or basically anywhere that's not our planet.
Good, sustainable looks — From the moment you set eyes on the Space Hippie 3s, or any of the other pairs in the collection for that matter, you know they're not a regular shoe. The Earth tones on the Flyknit upper are well complemented by loud accents (including a bright orange Nike Swoosh) and, in the case of the Space Hippie pictured here, an unorthodox (yet simple) mechanism to tie your laces. Nike's Flyease technology is designed to make it easy for people to get their shoes on and off, so with the Space Hippie 3 all you have to is slide your feet in and, if you want, you can pull a tab on the top or back of the sneaker to tighten or loosen the fit, respectively.
Throughout the Space Hippie 3 silhouette, you'll notice subtle details such as an embossed "Eject" label, which is part of Flyease and shows you the spot where you can pull the flat tab to release the entire lacing system once you're done wearing them. It's a small detail, yes, but it makes the sneaker just that much fresher than it already is — and sneakerheads will certainly appreciate it. There's also the hard-to-miss, speckled midsole that instantly makes the sneaker pop. That's largely due to the Crater Foam mentioned earlier, which Nike says uses a combination of recycled Nike Grind rubber (15 percent) and recycled foam materials to create a lightweight, responsive, and sustainable feel.
In the Space Hippie 1, 2, and 3, that Crater Foam comes in a baby blue color, while the women's specific Space Hippie 4 offers it in a light gray variant — all accentuated by small specks of color that reveal the sneaker's recycled innards.
Light and comfortable — The big draw to the Space Hippie collection is, naturally, the sustainable materials they're created with. And they do not disappoint. Along with that Crater Foam, the Space Hippie 3 features a Flyknit upper made from recycled plastic water bottles, T-shirts, and yarn scraps. Its moon boot aesthetic definitely does make it feel like a "big" shoe, but in reality it feels light, comfortable, and most importantly perhaps, durable. Although I've only been able to wear them indoors so far – because New York is still practicing stay-at-home measures – I can already tell these tanks won't have any issues handling the rugged NYC streets.
I was fairly impressed by the packaging, too, which is also made out of recycled materials and doesn't look like any traditional Nike sneaker box. It's brown, plain, and rectangular, with almost zero Nike branding on the outside. On the inside, however, you'll find a QR code that, when scanned with your smartphone or tablet, will take you to Nike's "Move to Zero" sustainability website, where you can get more information on Space Hippie and other green projects the brand is working on. Again, it's nice to see Nike try different things, even with something as simple as the box the Space Hippies come in.
“A lot of the technologies and ideas that we've displayed today are already well into the line,” Nike's Chief Design Officer, John Hoke, told Input in an interview in February, during the Space Hippie announcement. “This is not a once and done. We got this behind us. But this is a fundamental pivot in the way we design and think, from how we source materials to how we make profit, etcetera.”
In other words, you can expect Nike to evolve on the promise of Space Hippie, as the company looks to continue investing heavily in sustainable products and ensuring they're not just a gimmick or a simple marketing play. Space Hippie is the start of a project and an idea that Nike, seemingly, intends to make mainstream in the near future.
Coming... eventually?— The Space Hippie collection was originally set to launch this spring, but Nike had to change its plans due to the COVID-19 outbreak. There's still no word on when the Space Hippies will hit stores, or how much they will be. But, as businesses and the global economy slowly start to adjust to life after the novel coronavirus, chances are it's only a matter of time before the Space Hippie 3 and the rest of them arrive.
For now, here's a closer look at what the Space Hippie 3 looks like out in the real world (aka my Brooklyn apartment). And let's hope things get better for everyone soon, because as soon as I can put some real clothes on, I already know which sneakers I plan to wear to the ground — we'll see then how well that Crater Foam actually fares.