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Nike Reinvents Iconic Split Toe Sneaker as a Sandal

Nike’s new take on the Air Rift shoe toes the line between sandal and sneaker.

Renamed the NikeLab Free Rift Sandal, the relic from the ’90s known for its iconic split-toe component has been re-imagined as a sneaker/sandal hybrid made with a one-piece, cage-like TPU upper, Phylon midsoles and Nike Free Technology.

The sandal features hexagonal flex grooves that create a natural barefoot feel, and rubber pods on the outsoles in high friction areas.

The NikeLab Free Rift Sandal was built to be protective training footwear for volleyball players, however the updated shoe is bound to stir up pangs of nostalgia. In 1996, the Nike Air Rift was the brand’s first attempt to offer runners a minimalist design. The shoe fell out of favor, but laid the foundation to Nike Free, which allows the foot to move unrestricted as nature intended.

The NikeLab Free Rift Sandal will be available online and at select NikeLab retailers around the world beginning May 7. The sandal will land in North America on May 28.