Nike Mercurial Vapor ‘Future DNA Mercurial’

March 09, 2020 – If Undefeated’s initial Nike Air Max 90 paid direct 1990s-homage, the second effort from the LA-based outfit delivers a sneaker design version of a retro futurist approach. 

Rugged leather from edition one is replaced by myriad materials referencing the ’90s New York street scene’s adoption of technical outdoor gear. In respect for the function-first origins of those practical pieces, the shoe itself is striped down and the silhouette’s features deftly reinterpreted for 2020. 

Approach to the design began first with  fabrication, trying to mix iconic sneaker fabrics, such as nubuck leather and hairy suede, with translucent materials and technical mesh to give a modern vibe to a classic silhouette.

This approach lead to some restructuring of the shoe’s paneling to both reduce material and streamline the upper pattern. The Swoosh is thus elongated and the typical rubber “Air Max” marker above the Air-unit window is removed. Padding in the tongue and heel is also minimized, adding to the sleeker form. Additional details include a heel pull tab and tongue lacing reminiscent of the Nike Vomero 5. 

The colorways are a study in contrast — a concise, all-black look highlighting the depth and texture of the build, and a blue Undefeated exclusive, honoring past Nike ACG and Running footwear and apparel.

The Undefeated exclusive colorway was inspired by the colors and hues that came out of the golden era of running shoes — the late ’80s and early ’90s — and the pop colors of outdoor sneakers that were making noise from ’92 to ’95 in NYC.

The black Undefeated Nike Air Max 90 launches March 14 at Undefeated stores, followed by a second release March 19 on SNKRS. The Undefeated exclusive blue colorway retails on Air Max Day, March 26. 

To download hi-res images, click here. 

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