2018 has been another big year for Nike when it comes to hype-producing sneaker debuts. Just to name a couple, Sean Wotherspoon’s Nike Air Max 97/1 hybrid created a frenzy on Air Max Day in March, and the launch of the React Element 87 in July helped the Swoosh overshadow other sneaker brands’ major releases of the summer.
Now the next must-have Nike sneaker is ready to takeoff, the stylish new Moon Racer.
The performance-meets-lifestyle design of the brand’s latest hyped model may look thoroughly modern — even futuristic — but the Moon Racer is actually inspired by one of the label’s very first running shoes, the Moon Shoe. The vintage sneaker is one of Nike co-founder and legendary Oregon track coach Bill Bowerman’s earliest prototypes of a running shoe with the classic waffle tread outsole. It picked up the name from the imprint the waffle pattern made in dirt, reminiscent of the footprints astronauts left on the moon on their first walk on the lunar surface in 1969.
Bowerman’s ingenious tread provided more traction and comfort than other running shoes of its time, making the Moon Shoe an integral part of the brand’s history. It propelled Nike to the forefront of running footwear technology and innovation, and helped to revolutionize the industry as a whole.
Current Nike Sportswear designers recognized parallels between the vintage Moon Shoe and Nike Running’s Breaking2 initiative of 2016 to design the brand’s fastest sneaker ever, the Zoom VaporFly 4%, to help runners attempt to break a 2-hour marathon finish. A team of designers set out to create a shoe that honored the Swoosh’s running innovations both old and new, and the Moon Racer was born. It features a Moon Shoe-inspired upper atop the same tooling as the VaporFly 4%, built with the new React foam cushioning.
The Moon Racer debuts August 2 in its first two colorways, a vintage-inspired “String/Black/Volt” iteration and “Black/White/Gray” to represent the present. Both feature lunar graphics on the insoles and come packaged with a dust bag that has graphics of the phases of the moon on one side and the goddess of victory on the other. It’s priced at $150 and is expected to release in limited quantities at Nike.com and select retailers.