Last year, photographer Ryustyler and sneaker customizer Chase Shiel teamed up for a pair of bespoke Air Jordan 1s inspired by the matcha used in traditional Japanese tea ceremonies. Following the sold-out, limited-release “Matcha” Air Jordan 1s, the duo is back with another pair of beautifully crafted sneakers: the “Wagashi” Air Max 1s.
Wagashi are traditional Japanese sweets usually served with tea. Their creation is seen as an art form, and falls into line with the aesthetic and philosophy of a tea ceremony. Taking a wide range of shapes and designs, Wagashi’s forms most commonly refer to nature or reflect on the ephemeral beauty of the seasons. The sweets, made from a glutinous rice flour and traditional Japanese ingredients, are made by hand with the highest degree of detail and craftsmanship.
Paying homage to this creative art form, Ryustyler and Shiel crafted the “Wagashi” Air Max 1s from luxurious nubuck and pigskin sourced directly from Japan. The swoosh is covered with a flower print, referencing the chrysanthemum shape often seen in wagashi design. The upper consists of boar leather in five different pastel colors, while leather insoles provide maximum comfort. Custom-made translucent laces were inspired by wagashi ingredients: six additional sets of laces in colorful hues are included in a wooden gift box, mimicking a box of traditional confectionary.
Each purchase will come in a shoebox packaged in handwoven Japanese fabric. The “Wagashi” Air Max 1s are set to release on October 20 on Chase Shiel’s website in a limited run.