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In 1986, the Sock Racer was hailed as a serious racing flat suited for runners who race in extremely lightweight shoes. Extremely lightweight is exactly what it was, featuring a four-way stretch open weave mesh, first of its kind synthetic suede straps and a polyurethane midsole to bring longtime Nike Designer Bruce Kilgore’s vision to life.
Recognized as Nike’s first attempt in minimizing shoes to their essentials, the four-way stretch mesh ignited the design with the look and feel of a lightweight sock, helping pave the way for plenty of today’s lightweight, road-racing footwear. The Sock Racer has also been recognized as the first polyurethane unit sole with full-length Air cushioning.
The Sock Racer’s minimal, lightweight design also required a break-in period that was best accomplished with a pair of lightweight socks. With this in mind, Nike designer Wilson Smith designed a matching pair of socks now known as the “Bee Socks.” The vibrant tube socks were given away by retailers to customers who purchased the Sock Racer during its initial launch in 1986.
In the over three decades since its introduction, the Sock Racer’s effects have been felt by many. The radical design by Bruce Kilgore helped create a lane for some of the most innovative runners and icons of today, from the Air Presto to the Sock Dart, and many models in the beloved Flyknit family.
Now today, the out of this world idea of sock-like footwear comes full circle with the arrival of the Air Sock Racer Ultra Flyknit.
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