I love fashion but I hate you.

in defense of the Flyknit.

Flyknits are running shoes by Nike. The upper is made of fibers woven together by machine, creating a shoe that is very light, breathable, and moldable. Imagine a more durable, more streetworthy version of a sock.

And while the running-shoe-as-casual-shoe debate rages in corners of the internet near and far, Flyknits in particular are subject to extremes of praise and derision, in no small part due to their high profile and Nike’s juggernaut marketing. Lovers praise the techno-precision, the turn-it-up-to-11 level of racing practicality. Haters gonna hate, but their reasoning highlights on an immutable fact — it’s just a fancy running shoe. Below I’ll reason — or rationalize — the hype behind the ‘knit.

1. Comfy-ness. These shoes aren’t comfortable. They’re comfy. Like a good parent, they allow the perfect blend of support and freedom, safety net and breathing room. The Lunar Plus 1 versions, utilizing the Nike Lunarlon technology, are the equivalent of resting your feet in diminutive waterbeds made for toes and high arches.

2. Techy-ness. Techwear is a trend I’ve been noticing in the past year or so, no doubt as the 2000s millennium just has that “apocolypse” feel. Buttressing the techwear aesthetic is a worship and fetishization of practicality, protective qualities, and customization. Flyknits can be seen as a natural reaction to and extension of this tech trend. It’s not a coincidence that Flyknits play (or survive) in this post-casual, tech-inspired world. I’ve paired my Flyknits against Gibson-black jeans, shimmery Champion shorts, and splotchy desert camo cargo pants.

3. Ugly-ness. Flyknits have a face only a mother, or obsessive blogger, could love. Flyknits have an ugly-ness (attributable to their practicality) which in itself becomes beautiful.

As is true for any argument around aesthetics, the aboveĀ  qualities of Flyknits could easily become its offenses. Comfy-ness can give way to slouchiness, techy-ness to esoterica, ugly-ness to, well, ugliness. It’s up to you, beholder, to judge Flyknits for yourself. Just don’t go running in them.


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