Prose: Jake Sittler (@jtsittler)
10/15/13 Update: Thanks to savvy reader Anastasios Thomaidis, we’ve got a few pics of a used but still gorgeous blue/silver colorway of the Flight Lite II via an auction on German eBay. It’s always awesome to get input from readers, so enjoy the new pics.
We’re testing out a new blog mini-theme here at The Gym Rat Review, called Underrated Kicks. Throughout any sneaker era there have been shoes that, for whatever reason, haven’t gotten the love they deserve. Finch and I will pepper these in whenever we have time to give these unique kicks some props. First up, the Nike Flight Lite II.
The best picture I could find was from krossovki.net, a wonderful website with pictures and descriptions of tons of shoes…except that it’s in a completely different language that I do not speak. (In fact besides the ads, the only thing in English on the site read “f*** nike.” Not very nice.) Leave a comment if you know how I could translate the picture below.
A Google search of “Nike Flight Lite II” yielded about three pictures of the shoe before I got sick of scrolling. Part of this is because the Flight Lite II had the misfortune of sharing a name with a handful of other “Flight Lite” models. The 1991 Flight Lite shoe was, at the time, the lightest shoe in the Nike Basketball lineup despite its bulky appearance. There’s a couple different versions of that shoe, including a Flight Lite Hi, Flight Lite II and Flight Lite Mid. There’s also a boring Flight Lite that came after the Flight Lite II that I was originally talking about.
Regardless, it’s a gorgeous, confidently designed shoe that has long been a hopeless grail in my eyes. It boasts an asymmetrical lacing system (swoon), a full-length, encapsulated Air unit, a Phylite midsole and an awesome exposed monkey paw anti-ankle inversion structure. And of course, the legendary Alpha Project dots are prominently featured on the forefoot midsole and heel. I also love the dimpling of the midsole with various dots. Even the simple sculpting of the midsole near the heel augments the rest of the design and gives it a low-profile, sleek look. The colorblocking, particularly the red toebox piece and red Swoosh against the white midsole, is clean as well.
It’s a shoe that probably doesn’t have a prayer to be retroed but nonetheless deserves respect for the ingenuity and creativity in design while incorporating and exposing elements like the asymmetrical lacing and monkey paw structure.
Black/Silver images are from here