Wailuku Who?

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We’re reaching deep into the Nike archives today with a look at an obscure, sparingly seen, ACG model from 2001 – the Air Wailuku. Most people have never heard of this shoe as it’s not one of the popular ACGs models with multiple retros over the decades like the Air Mowabb. Our friend Luis (just_luis97) found this pair while thrifting in Portland, OR and from what we’ve researched online it’s extremely difficult to find wearable, non-deteriorating pairs. The shoe itself draws interest with it’s unique design, but this particular women’s pair features some awesome insole branding that says “Engineered for Women Athletes”. Nike has always created quality athletic equipment made specifically for women and they advocate for women’s equality on and off the court, pitch and field. Lets break this shoe down in detail, enjoy!

First things first – the awesome insole branding seen above hasn’t been seen on another womens shoe by us or Luis. Have you seen this before? If so please tell us in the comments section below if you have any extra info on this line or campaign. The collar of Luis’s Waikulu have remained in tact with minimal sagging – this is rare of a 17 year old worn shoe.

The Wailuku’s most noticeable feature is the zippered shroud that covers a speed lacing system; this setup allows for ease of entry and protection. An ACG patch stitched to the shroud gives the shoe’s tonal grey some contrast.

What makes the Air Wailuku a standout is the dynamic use of lines and textures. The picture above gives us a great look at the toebox pattern that resembles soft waves, the divots on the midsole and the tread on the outsole; when these three elements combine they create a unique look unseen on other ACG models.

We saved the best for last… the shoe’s dual-tone orange upper is simply gorgeous. The Air Wailuku’s upper utilizes a velour-like textile that’s softer than suede while being tighter and more resilient than mesh; it has a fair amount of stretch also.

Those lines are insane, right? The outsole and midsole combination are a visual feast of line work and contours. The wave-like pattern of the toebox finds its way onto the heel of the Air Wailuku just above the heel Air unit too. Overall these are some gorgeous, random kicks. Stay tuned to Sneaker History as we continue to cover vintage Nikes!