Product reviews have a tendency to come across in kind of a nerdy, slightly snobby manner. Guys informing the world via WordPress why they prefer this AM90 to another, why X colour works and why Z style doesn’t. For me, product reviews in that sense are bland, over analytical and irrelevant, but that’s just a personal preference. When I got the chance to take the Nike Flyknit Lunar 1+ on a recent trip to Bangkok, I saw an opportunity to write an account of how the shoe fits. Not how it fits around my slightly wonky, slightly hairy toes, no, how it fits within a four week trip, exploring the densely populated metropolis that is Bangkok.
I shuffled off the plane, after the 18 hour long-hauler from London Heathrow to Bangkok’s Suvarnabhumi Airport. The heat hit immediately, just about the same time as my outfit combination of Nike sweat pant and Patta fleecy t-shirt, proved to be a naive one. As my slightly flabby, fully pale torso dripped with sweat before even arriving at passport control, my feet were allowed to breath -smug- as they coped with the climate a lot better than I was. The much talked about woven upper of the Flyknit was living up to the hype and speculation. I’d never owned a Flyknit trainer prior to this, and was always sceptical of it’s performance as I read reviews and ingested the hype from my computer screen. There’s a lot of ‘purpose’ models released that are in fact not fit for purpose, but it was immediately evident that the Flyknit didn’t fall under this category.
After a lazy first day in Bangkok, mainly getting over jetlag, I packed my daypack, pulled on a tourist tee shirt (a vest), pair of red Ralphy shorts (which already packed a pungent punch) and the Flyknits. The city is hot, really hot, so your feet need to be comfy. You can walk for entire days without really getting anywhere. It’s the kind of place where soaking up the cultural variations is enough, as opposed to doing ‘touristy’ shit. The Lunarlon sole was something I’d experienced previously, but not like this. The marriage of the foam sole, with the knitted upper is one that was meant to be, a Will and Jada, Bacon and egg type deal, it worked and it worked well. Traipsing up and down staircases, across roads, dodging tourists, backpackers, locals and ‘ladies’, the Flyknit took every hit and then some. Sure, my feet were sweating, it was 36 and humid, but they didn’t feel uncomfortable. As my temperature heightened, the yarn on the shoe’s toe seemed to react and tighten to my foot creating a comfortable, snug, grasp that I can only compare to the slightly more suffocating ‘hug’ of the Haurache’s neoprene ‘sock’.
After a week or so I left Bangkok for a break, I hadn’t taken the Flyknits off for 9 days by that point. I jumped on a 13 hour overnight sleeper train to the South -Surat Thani- and the shoes remained on my feet throughout. Frequently, I’d think about how I was going to write about the shoe, without churning out the same cliched hyperbole, but it’s tricky not too. I lay on my tiny drop-down bunk and let the carriage’s rhythmic sway send me to sleep, Flyknits on feet. The trainer is more like a sock, really but as much as it’s functionality is utilised within the running setting, absorbing uneven surfaces, allowing breathability and lightweight comfort, it performs on a lifestyle level too. It became a trainer that rid my feet of discomfort, in a considerably uncomfortable climate, and for me seeing the shoe from a ‘fashion’ perspective, that matters more than it’s functionality when running.
It’s a life shoe in essence, in my opinion. It’s a trainer for exploring -running, cycling, eating, sleeping, drinking, partying, cities, beaches, planes, trains- it’s comfortable, breathable and it looks fucking fantastic.