Recent Scoop Up: Nike N.354 Drop Type LX
The Nike N.354 Drop Type LX Footwear Review
I was up late one night and scanning through my usual footwear websites when these Nike N.354 Drop Type LX came across the screen. Having no idea what the N.354 line meant and intrigued by the raw uniqueness of these Nike’s, I decided to give them a shot. These days it seems like there is a trend of experimentation and bringing to life the constructive process of footwear. The Nike N.354 Drop Type LX is a great example of this. Here’s my thoughts on the shoes since receiving them.
Just a little side note on the background behind the numbers. Supposedly the N.354 is a Nike tribute to track athlete Steve Prefontaine and his fastest mile time. The new line is also going to be releasing many experimental designs and ideas from the Nike archives. Mixing the old with the new and bringing the inspiration out from past models.
Initial Impression of the Nike N.354 Drop Type LX
My initial thoughts of thinking the shoes looked very raw were not off when I opened up the box. Immediately I thought that the shoe looked like an experiment. With mixtures of materials that looked like they were glued on for future changes and inner materials protruding out, the N.354 brings about a very different design process. The one part that really sticks out is the foam tongue making up the outside lining of the tongue. It’s also the eye catcher since it has the underlaying neon-pinkish tone and royal blue outside coating.
The midsole of the shoe is also creative and you can tell the Nike engineers were really insightful on the sole design of the shoe. With layers upon layers of materials stacked for an extra support look, you would think this Nike was built to be a comfort and support shoe. However, the angles and strips of material give the silhouette of the shoe a nice flow that makes you turn around the whole shoe to see how it has been constructed. The rubber toe cap was also an interesting detail I had mixed opinions on.
Sticking with the layered sole of the Nike N.354 Drop Type LX, the materials that compose the shoe give it a very unique feeling. The majority of the upper is made up of nylon-based material that should hopefully be able to fend off dirt and grime. That’s also something people are always weary of with clean, white sneakers. The eyelet upper area and back heel are made up of a softer, felt material. As I analyzed the shoe, I enjoyed the actual feel of the shoe and how the materials all come together to complete the design.
Then there’s the rubber toe cap. The toe cap cutout to just the front edge of the toe box, not a whole toecap like many sneakers. It’s also layered in a way to where the front is raised slightly higher. Visually I’m not sure if I like the raised effect and think it would’ve looked better just as one, flat layer. For some odd reason clown boots come to mind with this toe cap design.
The biggest element of the deconstructed look if the foam tongue. I really appreciated how the foam and colors make up the focal point of the shoe from a creative standpoint. The shoe obviously speaks to textures and materials with the foam tongue being very well thought out.
The other part of the Nike N.354 Drop Type LX that makes it stand out is the wrap around piece of rubber connecting the mid sole and bottom sole. It’s basically glued around unevenly from the midpoint of the outer side to just around the cup of the heel. Once again it makes you curious enough to continue rotating the whole shoe around.
Comfort and Fit of the Nike N.354 Drop Type LX
While the constructive elements of shoe are eye candy to look at, the comfort is always a major factor. Just looking at the shoe I could tell it was a narrower last. As my gut told me, when I slipped them on I could immediately notice the narrowness of toe box. For those with narrow feet, this was designed for you.
The foam padding of the insole is decent, but nothing to get too excited about. There also isn’t any game-changing interior padding as the upper is basically the nylon upper with no in-liner. Personally, I believe the adidas Stan Smith is more comfortable than the Nike N.354 Drop Type LX for a similar comparison. Interesting enough you don’t really feel the rubber toe box when wearing the shoes which is a positive. Some reviews I’ve read have mentioned the foam tongue influencing the comfort of the shoe. I haven’t found the tongue to be an issue with comfort or fit. To me the Nike N.354 Drop Type LX was just built on a narrower last. Mine was also a half size long as my heel slipped some.
I loved the overall design aspects of the Nike N.354 Drop Type LX, but wasn’t impressed with the fit of the shoe. With the design details, I’m a big fan of the foam tongue and would like to see Nike develop upon this idea further. The nylon and felt material are also innovative materials that would be great to see incorporated more of in future models. The color combinations of this shoe are also pleasing with the sleek silhouette.
My holdbacks are on the toe cap design and the fit. This may cause some hesitancies for people. It’s not only narrow but fits awkward around the mid part of the foot. If Nike makes another similar model, I would definitely recommend the reanalyze the last. Once again the shoe is built around its rawness and Nike could’ve been tinkering around with multiple things here.
Overall, I loved the design elements of the shoe and overall aesthetics. I would keep them if the fit was better and perhaps relooked at the toe design.