The Kicks You Wear, Vol. 43 — The Joyride that never pulled off

Keep your eyes on the road, Nike

Goooood morning, family! Happy Monday! Welcome back to the Kicks You Wear. Thanks for letting me kick your week off. Let’s make it a fantastic one.

Shoutout to all the moms, but especially this one and her beautiful, black daughter. This video touched me. I hope it does the same to y’all. I don’t know who needs to know it today, but y’all are beautiful. Don’t let anyone tell you otherwise.

Y’all bout ready? Let’s jump in.

What the hell happened to the Joyride?

(Photo by Freddy Do on Unsplash)

Remember Nike’s Joyride? Yeah, I probably wouldn’t either if I didn’t write a kicks newsletter.

It came and went without a peep when it dropped last summer. Nike touted it as it’s next great piece of innovation in the footwear space and, in all honesty, it probably is great.

  • It was created as a recovery day shoe designed for comfort.

  • The midsole is filled with thousands of beads that supposedly mimic the feeling of walking on sand without the struggle.

Sounds pretty neat, right? It sounds like Nike’s true competitor to the comfort of Adidas’ boost — you know, like what folks thought React cushioning was made for. The primary function of this shoe was comfort.

But it never connected with the consumer and has been sitting in stock for, pretty much, its entire existence. It’s so bad that the shoe is 44% off right now. That’s a big sale with no specific reason for the promotion other than Nike’s struggle to actually move it.

This is striking because the Joyride might be Nike’s biggest project right now as far as innovation goes. That’s why it’s $180 price tag was initially so heavy. The knit upper and TPE beads in each shoe are what bump it up.

But that also is where Nike’s problem with this shoe comes in.

  • People don’t really care about innovation or performance as much as they care about a shoe looking good. The same principles we apply to basketball shoes apply here.

  • Nobody is going to pay $180 dollars for a relatively normal looking shoe. It looks like a casual runner — especially on the heels of Nike’s react runner debut.

I mean, just look at it. It looks like a regular-degular runner.

It’s probably a great shoe, but the casual consumer doesn’t know what the hell those beads are for. That’s not what they’re paying for. They’re paying for something sleek — something that catches their eye. If it doesn’t do that, it’s not worth $180.

You could argue the shoe’s price point at it’s initial launch, but now it’s clear it’s not worth that to people. Which is why we’re seeing these deep discounts.

This brings up another problem worth discussing for Nike. In terms of combining innovation with look and cultural relevance, they’ve been playing catch up for a while. They never really came up with a comparable counter to boost that actually sold well.

  • They’ve put react in a ton of products over the last few years, but it’s just simply not as good. And we see what’s happening with the Joyride.

Style and relevance have kept Nike at the head of the footwear market, but at some point they’re going to have to find the next Air bubble or the next Boost sole or whatever the next thing is. That’s why they’re so dominant in the first place.

No idea what the future of Joyride is, but whatever it looks like I’m sure it won’t be at the same price point. At least not in the near future.

I’ll try a pair at some point and let y’all know what I think. That big discount is calling my name.

Adidas goes into space

(Photo by Octavian Rosca on Unsplash)

And not in some, like, corny 90’s movie sequel kind of way. Adidas is actually sending some materials to the International Space Station for research into more comfortable footwear.

They launched pellets that they meld into boost up to the space station for research. It sounds super weird reading that, I’m sure, but I promise you this is actually a normal thing.

  • They were included among 4,500 pounds of other supplies going to the space station, according to CNN.

  • Most of those items are sent to sustain the astronauts living on the space station but some are research experiments — like the Adidas’ pellets.

Adidas is trying to gain a better understanding of boost. This is about to get real scienc-y, so bear with me. The pellets molded together have two different polymers — meaning they have slightly different molecular structures. This is a thing in many plastics.

Astronauts will basically make a boost sole without the Earth’s gravity playing a factor. This will change how the pellets behave and give researchers more insight into how they work together. Here’s more from Adidas.

Boost pellets will be injected into a midsole cavity, and the motion of the pellets, their interactions, and their final orientation will be captured with a highspeed camera in the clear mold. The molds will be preserved and returned to Earth for inspection so we can unlock the future of Boost and understand what it takes to create truly out-of-this-world running technology.

Pretty neat, right? Now, the nitty gritty on how this process works out is beyond me. I got a 12% on the last science fair project I did so, obviously, science isn’t my thing.

But from what I understand after reading these pieces 46 times over, it seems that they’re simply trying to gain a better understanding of the molecular structure of Boost, which could lead to more comfortable kicks for us.

If that’s the case? To infinity and beyond, fam.

VEJA just opened an New York store

It looks exactly what you’d think it would look like. It’s pretty much a bare bones store, but it’s all in the name of sustainability which is dope.

The Soho based store is as minimalist as it gets. The walls are either exposed brick or just plain bare. The floor is literally made out of wood. Take a look.

This is Veja’s second retail brick and mortar store — the first one opened a few months back in Paris.

The store also has a display that plays a video that shares the brand’s story and its mission in sustainability. It also shows the process of how its shoes are created, which is cool look under the curtain.

This is a big step for Veja in informing the culture and spreading its beliefs about sustainability. New York is the capital of the sneaker industry — most of the voices that matter are based there. Having a spot right there, front and center, in Soho is a big deal.

Another big step for Veja is another big step for sustainability. We all win with this.

New Balance cool stuff

Look, I know I said I’d stop writing about New Balance for a second. But they keep doing insanely cool things. I’m sorry — this is good content.

Last week, they did a Made in USA special with 100 pairs of the New Balance 998. Folks who bought pairs were promised a 1 of 1 colorway of the shoe that would come as a surprise once it reached them.

Folks, they did not disappoint. Shoutout to the homie @BrodyLogan for getting me hip to this thread.

It’s a pretty creative idea and a pretty cool way to get folks energized around a New Balance staple. Seeing stuff like this is great, man. It’s brilliant.

Check out the thread and get me hip to the pairs you like. If you participated in this, let me know! I want to see what you got.

Salute to New Balance, man. They’re really doing the damn thing.

What’s droppin’ bruh

Family, we have some BIG drops coming this week. Be on the lookout. The Sacai Waffle is back and there’s lots of Dunk love coming, too. Turn them notifications on.

That’s it for Monday, y’all! Thanks so much, again, for spending a bit of your time with me today. If you have any feedback or tips for the newsletter or things you’d just generally like to see, as always, just let me know.

Talk to y’all on Friday! As always, peace and love. Be easy. Be kind.

Signing off.

-Sykes 💯