Whether you’re familiar with Japan’s Ekiden season because of Nike SB Dunk Low SE 85 Bone Green or because you’ve been following the competition on your own, you know how special the race is. For decades, Nike Running has been paying attention to the two-day relay race, studying athletes and their footwear needs.
Over the last several years, the Swoosh has reimagined some of its marquee running products through the lens of the competition. Prepped under the aptly-named “Ekiden Pack” banner, the lineup draws inspiration from Japan’s rich running heritage and culture. The collection is designed to be and look fast, often employing color schemes that’s sure to raise eyebrows. For the Ekiden 2024, Nike has covered five silhouettes – including the Vaporfly 3, Alphafly 2, Pegasus 40, Zoom Fly 5, and Rival Fly 3 – in bold “Luminous Green/Crimson Tint/Volt/Black.” The headlining ZoomX-cushioned marathon race shoes opt for mismatched arrangements that see left shoes opt for a pinkish makeover; by comparison, the right shoe revels in a near-fluorescent combination of greens. These colors have become synonymous with speed thanks to Nike’s performance innovations and elite athletes.
The lineup has been produced via the Swoosh’s Global Express Lane strategy, the same initiative that developed this year’s Día de Muertos collection. In addition to expediting manufacturing processes, the Nike Global Express Lane program incorporates local culture, insights, and trends into the brand’s design process. The result is a thoughtfully-curated range of footwear and apparel that speaks to a specific audience while inviting others to interact with compelling stories. Graphics that harken back to the Ekiden race’s origins and majestic landscapes found across its best known courses. (As history tells it, the first Ekiden event was held on April 27th, 1917 to celebrate the 50th anniversary of the Meiji State. Two teams raced the 316 miles (508 km) from Kyoto (Japan’s historical capital) to Tokyo (the Meiji government’s capital). The word “Ekiden” is formed from “station” and “transmit” as government documents were once transported with the help of relay messengers.) Accompanying apparel also nods to the event as it features stripe-detailing inspired by tasuki – or the sash – that is used in place of batons in Ekiden races.
Enjoy official photos of the entire “Ekiden” collection ahead. The roster releases across Japan starting on Friday, December 1st. A global nike.com launch will take place before 2023 ends.
For more sneaker news, check out the “Kobe Grinches” set to release in mid-December.