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Air Force 1 Fontanka

Inspired by European rave culture, the Nike Air Force 1 Fontanka is a welcome addition to the AF1 collection. Designed specifically for women, the shoe’s bottom half is quite chunky, with a slightly raised midsole that has a flat edge and a deep indentation where it meets the upper, giving it a more distinct appearance. The groove along the top of the midsole lacks stitching, and the heel contains a brick of soft React Foam, granting comfort along with energy return. Sometimes, as in the case of the Triple White, this foam block comes in the same tone as the midsole, but on versions like the Phantom, it is different. In fact, this colourway has two forms; in one the React foam is red and the sole white, while on the other the foam is grey and the midsole beige. A rectangular section of indented diagonal lines decorates the area between mid and forefoot, creating a subtle effect. Although most designs have a midsole in one single tone, there are a few select models which vary the shading through these lines. One notable example of this is the bright green stripes on the Have A Good Game colourway. On all Fontankas, these lines match the construction of the outsole below, where the lugs around its edge are set closer together in a continuation of the effect. Underneath, the sole has been split down the middle, with one side shifted slightly forwards to establish a clear divide between the two halves. This means some of the outsole, which curves up at the back rather than remaining straight, juts out beyond the midsole.

Up top, there are also a number of compelling design elements that define the Air Force 1 Fontanka, one of which is its unusually shaped sections of real and synthetic leather. As well as the classic panels on the forefoot, midfoot and heel, the eyestay has an additional layer that starts at the second eyelet of the main one. It then extends beyond the uppermost eyelet, culminating in a winged edge. A small piece of material pokes out in between these two layers around the middle of the laces, almost appearing like an extension of the swoosh, which it nearly touches. On sneakers like the Archeo Pink, the three sections of the eyestay are all the same tone – here an appealing rosy pink – while others, like the Flowers colourway, which has a small yellow piece wedged between a white upper layer and a flowery bottom panel, use a variety of colours across them.

Each sidewall swoosh features a second layer that runs along its lower half and cuts up through the centre of the logo. Sneakers such as the Sesame have the same colour and material on both parts of the swoosh, while others add variations in colour and texture through the use of alternative materials like suede and synthetic leather in differing hues. For example, the Rattan release has ruddy orange suede on the main part of the swoosh and brown leather over the added section. 

The tongue has also been doubled up and contains three Nike swooshes – branding specifically given to the AF1 Fontanka. The most commonly used colour scheme on this trio of logos is red on the left, followed by blue in the middle, then green on the right if looking at the shoe from the front. This formation can be seen on sneakers like the Pearl White and the University Blue colourway, which is blue from heel to toe and top to bottom. In contrast, the multicolour Doernbecher is one of several designs to go with a different formation – blue, white and red in this case. The heel panel has been separated into three segments, a larger one in the middle flanked by two narrower sections, sometimes in a different colour or material, like on the Tortoise Shell, whose heel panel has black tumbled leather on the sides and glossy tortoiseshell leather in the centre.

Dynamic zigzag stitching connects these distinct parts, revealing another feature that enhances the style on this model: intricate stitching drawn in offbeat patterns throughout the upper. Two rows of stitches skirt the perimeter of the toe box before crossing over each other and straying from the overlay to the section below then back again. Extra thread is also woven into the midfoot and across the middle of the swoosh. Finally, the toe perforations on this women’s model are arranged in a random pattern, creating an idiosyncratic aesthetic that sums up the quirky Nike Air Force 1 Fontanka.

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