Some sneakers that stand the test of time gain cool nicknames over the years. Like the Converse Pro Leather going by the name “Dr. Js,” the black-and-blue Air Jordan XI gaining the moniker “Space Jams,” or that denim Lebron 8 ending up referred to as “James Dean.” Then, there are those shoes that don’t need a nickname to sound cool because their name is just cool from the start. That’s definitely the case with the Nike Space Hippie.
That’s right, Nike has a new pair of sneakers named after flower children of the 60s, who take lots of drugs, don’t take lots of baths, and sing weird songs about peace. Oh yeah, they’re in space, too, because they were shoved inside the Apollo 11 back in 1969, landing on the moon with Neil Armstrong and the rest of the guys, where they decided to build their own hippie commune. Seriously, the moon is like a non-stop Woodstock festival nowadays.
The Nike Space Hippie doesn’t actually have anything to do with the attendees of Woodstock back in the day. Instead, these sneakers are so-named for their environmental credentials because, you know, hippies are totally the kind of folks who will actually care about climate change. But what does it have to do with space, you say? According to Nike, the shoes are built using scrap material accumulated at various factories, so it’s like they’re building sneakers from some sort of “space junk.” We know, those relationships sound tenuous at best, but we’ll take it.
The shoes boast the lowest carbon footprint out of any footwear Nike has ever created and they managed to achieve that by being creative. The engineered knit upper, for instance, is made with yarn that’s produced using 100 percent recycled materials, including PET bottles, discarded T-shirts, and yarn scraps. That knitted section constitutes about 90 percent of the footwear’s uppers, giving it quite the impressive environmental resume.
The Nike Space Hippie uses recycled foam sourced from ZoomX scraps for the midsole, while the outsole is made using a blend of traditional foams and Nike Grind Rubber, which reduces the use of virgin materials. According to the outfit, this lowers the outsole’s carbon footprint, while giving it a unique color mix and texture, helping improve the shoes’ overall aesthetics. So, basically, it’s a shoe made from a mix of scraps and fresh materials, which should further help the company explore more sustainable ways of producing footwear.
There are four variants of the shoe, all using the same upper, midsole, and outsole in a single gray/orange colorway. What’s the difference between them? The Space Hippie 01 is a low-cut standard-looking trainer, while 02 takes the same silhouette but adds extra support behind the ankle. Space Hippie 03 is the mid-top version while 04 gets the hi-top treatment, with tons of support throughout the shoe, making this feel like a viable shoe to wear in the basketball court.
The Nike Space Hippie will be hitting stores this spring. No price has been announced.