The concept behind 1996’s Air Rift was deceptively simple: to give runners only what they need to run and nothing more. Almost completely devoid of excess components, the shoe — thanks to its decoupled toe and laceless upper — represents one of Nike’s earliest attempts at minimalist running. Taking that approach a step further is NikeLab’s upcoming Free Rift Sandal. Combining the aesthetic of the original Rift with the brand’s celebrated Free technology — itself born out of the natural, unrestricted movement of the split-toed runner — the new design boasts a one-piece TPU upper that was initially meant to cooperate with an interchangeable midsole. Ultimately, however, the two components were fused together; thus, the unique silhouette sees a plush Phylon midsole coupled with a Free sole of hexagonal flex grooves while durable rubber pods have been added to the outsole for added protection to high friction areas. As a final nod to the Air Rift, a topographic motif appears across the entirety of the upper.
The Free Rift Sandal is due to be available at nike.com/nikelab and at select NikeLab retailers beginning May 7 before hitting North American NikeLab accounts May 28.