Nike have pioneered their way through innovation for many years; developing new product, combining materiality and bringing function to the forefront. As of late, a focus has been put on their archive with retro releases combining the old with new. Most recently, the Air Max Tailwind V was re-purposed and re-released for the first time ever. Now another call to their back catalogue comes for a revival of the 2003 Air Zoom Spiridon Cage.
Originally released in 2003, the sneaker was designed by Steven Smith. Famed for his work at a range of sportswear brands, Smith was the brains behind New Balance’s 1500 silhouette, Reebok’s InstaPump Fury and now currently works with Kanye West at YEEZY. He first started at Nike in 1999, a time when their output was dominated by a constant stream of forward-thinking technologies for the footwear sector.

Four years previous in Spring 1995, Zoom Air technology was created by Nike; a lighter, more responsive, closer to the ground alternative to the Air Max. This would base the fundamentals of Steven Smith’s design. When he arrived at Nike, the lightweight design of sneakers was in his mind and by turning to his love of cars for inspiration, the Porsche 935 ‘Moby Dick’ gave him the creative spark he needed. Designed for minimal weight and well-suited for any distance, the core of this automotive inspiration finally transcended into the initial designs for the Air Zoom Spiridon Cage.
Smith’s output was focused to the Japanese market in which the Spiridon was originally created for. He turned his attention to their specifications and fit, with preference for more cushion and a considered approach to support the structure of the foot. A perfect unity from design to consumer.   

The sneaker became available in 2003 and again in 2005 with design tweaks that made the cushioning more responsive and visible. Since then, the Spiridon Cage has predominantly remained unseen, no re-issues or updates of the classic until now. A time where the past of a brand is just as important in shaping the future. Nike have taken models from the ‘80’s and ‘90’s and informed their workings of today through collaboration, new technology and fabrication. The advancement in footwear manufacturing and design has brought the new Air Zoom Spiridon Cage with an essence of its older self, and allowed Nike to re-develop a favourite for the modern day.
To start the year of the Spiridon comeback, Nike have partnered with Californian brand Stussy to bring the first new reinterpretation of the Spiridon Cage. It is a partnership that goes way back to the early 2000’s, built on sneaker collaborations for both the streetwear and skate market. A cohesion between the two has explored the limits of design of which is present in their caged offering. By dropping the original silver toned mesh and tapping into a natural fossil colourway feathered in hemp fabrication, the two brands have accentuated the use of premium manufacturing and mirrored the old school aesthetics of the Stussy brand.

The Nike Air Zoom Spiridon Cage 2 release embodies the aesthetics of the early 2000’s. Arriving in its original colours, the silver mesh and metallic overlays sit on a mold surrounding the air bubble. Intricate colour pops of red come together in a profile adorning the signature swoosh branding. The second silhouette provides a neutral injection dominated by grey, alongside a versatile mesh upper taking us back to the lightweight years of Steven Smith’s OG design. Both are concluded with the intricate Air Zoom cushioning – a true welcome blend of nostalgia and technology.
The Nike Air Zoom Spiridon Cage will be available to purchase online from 18 APR 20.

Select images courtesy of Steven Smith & Archive DNA via Magdi Fernandes.