Bring it Back to 1996 with the Nike Air Zoom Alpha
Perhaps second only to Nike‘s own Air Max, Zoom Air is one of the most ubiquitous and beloved footwear technlogies to have emerged in the last few decades. Preferred by runners and basketball players for its low-profile deployment and agile, responsive nature, Zoom Air is a performance-oriented evolution of the Air Max concept. Utilising a podular design with specially-shaped pockets of encapsulated gas, the tech can be tailored to the requirements of each sport, even to individual players as seen in the numerous NBA signature models that deploy Zoom to varying degrees. Yet, while the original bearer of the Air Max label — the Air Max 1 — retains an unparalleled status as a pop culture icon, the same cannot be said of the first shoe to use the Air Zoom moniker: the 1996 Nike Air Zoom Alpha.
A technological marvel from the moment of its release, the Alpha was nevertheless quickly overshadowed by its immediate successor, the Nike Air Zoom Spiridon, whose flashy metallic branding and evolutionary mesh build resonated more strongly with sneakerheads of the time. However, as is often the case, fashion comes and goes in cycles; now, in 2019, the bulky leather panelling and aggressive stance of the Air Zoom Alpha are a perfect fit for streets rife with similar silhouettes.
Boasting a distinctive ‘wave’ design that Nike would revisit the next year in the Air Zoom Spiridon and Air Max 97, the Air Zoom Alpha is built from layers of breathable mesh and hardwearing synthetics, set atop a Phylon midsole that carries on the undulating visual language while providing extra comfort and shock absorbency. Meanwhile, underfoot the signature Zoom ‘pods’ can be seen to the outsole, used as a basis for the outsole tread pattern and promoting healthy foot movement — which translates to a supremely comfortable ride for modern wearers.
In honour of its cult classic status, Nike have reissued the Air Zoom Alpha in two distinct colourways for Spring 19: one hews closely to the sneaker’s OG colourway, with mid-90s monochrome bolstered by Nike Running’s signature Volt Yellow shade; the other delivers bold colour pops in green and red in a visual homage to a certain Italian fashion house that’s beloved by streetwear aficionados. Whichever you choose, the Nike Air Zoom Alpha is the perfect choice to flex your Swoosh knowledge this season.
The Nike Air Zoom Alpha Trainers in Black / Wolf Grey / Volt and Lucid Green / Habanero Red will be available in-store and online from Aphrodite Clothing from the 19th of April. Make sure to zoom in early to secure your size.