The UCLA-Inspired UNDEFEATED x Nike Air Max 97 Headlines This Week's Best Footwear Drops

Happy New Year HYPEBEAST footwear family! Hope you all had time to relax and unwind during the holidays and safely ring in the new year with your loved ones. Of course with a fresh batch of 365 days comes even more sneaker launches, and imprints such as Jordan Brand, New Balance,

HYPEBEAST’s Sole Mates series continued with FACETASM’s very own Hiromichi Ochiai last week, and the topics covered included that of his Jordan Why Not Zer0.4 collaboration, the sneaker scene in Japan and more.

In terms of the day-to-day news, there were definitely some notable footwear moments that popped up. For example, Nike, Jordan Brand and Converse all revealed footwear plans for the forthcoming “Chinese New Year” celebrations and YG’s new 4Hunnid Block Runner sneaker stirred up some conversations for its close similarities to the Nike Cortez. Also, whispers of Kobe Bryant wanting to leave Nike to start his own sneaker brand started to go around.

Additionally, we also saw a close-up look at the upcoming Air Jordan 4 “University Blue”, an Air Jordan 1 High Zoom CMFT “Modern Orange” that sports heavy “Rookie of the Year” vibes, a Nike OverBreak SP emblematic of the Mars Yard and more.

All caught up? Amazing. Let’s dive into this week’s 10 best releases. As always, please note that any pairs listed here ahead may be pushed back due to the continued effects of COVID-19, and be sure to check out HBX find even more new footwear styles.

Jordan Why Not Zer0.4 “Upbringing”

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Release Date: January 6
Release Price: $130 USD
Where to Buy: Nike
Why You Should Cop: To kick off 2021, Russell Westbrook is introducing his newest signature shoe with the Jumpman: the Jordan Why Not Zer0.4. Its inaugural makeup entitled the “Upbringing” is symbolic of his time growing up in the city of Los Angeles. This iteration’s vibrant palette and multi-patterned aesthetic speaks to the moments, places and teams that helped mold him into the perennial All-Star superstar he is today.

Nike Air Force 1 ‘07 Craft “Mantra Orange”

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Release Date: January 6
Release Price: $120 USD
Where to Buy: Nike
Why You Should Cop: When it really boils down to it, it doesn’t get much more classic than the Nike Air Force 1, and this season, the Swoosh family is proffering up the silhouette’s Craft variant in an ultra-clean “Mantra Orange” makeup. This specific iteration is engineered with premium leather uppers dialed to a clean Sail hue, and paired next to striking suede Swooshes and heel overlays dialed to its titular tone making for an extra versatile footwear option to keep in rotation all year round.

adidas ZX 5000 “Vieux Lyon”

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Adidas

Release Date: January 7 (EU) and January 8 (US)
Release Price: $130 USD
Where to Buy: adidas and Hanon
Why You Should Cop: The Trefoil brand’s A-ZX series is set to to continue this week with the adidas ZX 5000 “Vieux Lyon”. As opposed to honoring another collaborator, the German imprint instead commemorates the history of the Jacquard region in France. The lifestyle-ready model here is bolstered with a padded weave on the upper and ustom lace jewels, making for one of the most intricately-styled A-ZX colorways we’ve seen in recent memory. Down below, it’s cushioning unit is loaded up with adidas’ classic Torsion system making for a plush and stable ride.

Nike React Infinity Run 2 and ZoomX Invincible Run”

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Release Date: January 7
Release Price: TBA
Where to Buy: Nike
Why You Should Cop: Nike continues to put a measurable amount of chips towards fine tuning its running category, and more fruits of its labor are set to hit the market via two new silhouettes in the Nike React Infinity Run 2 and ZoomX Invincible Run. Both takes are engineered with breathable Flyknit uppers, the React Infinity being one that is reinforced with Flywire cabling for lockdown support while the Invincible is enhanced with extra padding around the ankles. Additionally, a substantial amount of either React of Zoom foam cushioning is loaded into the sole units to provide peak comfort and energy return when hitting the pavement. If you’re in need of new kicks to rack up your miles in, it might be a good time to pick up either one of these pairs.

Nike Overbreak “College Grey”

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Release Date: January 8
Release Price: $140 USD
Where to Buy: Nike SNKRS
Why You Should Cop: The Nike Overbreak is arguably one of the most unique silhouettes we’ve seen birthed from the Swoosh family. Its upper is clean cut, but its sole unit is anything but that and finds itself built with rough textures and an aggressive look. This season, the “College Grey” colorway is arriving, and this is one of the most versatile makeups the silhouette has had to offer thus far. It’s tonal and neutral motif makes for a versatile footwear option to keep lacing up throughout the year.

Reebok x Kung Fu Panda

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Release Date: January 8
Release Price: $100 USD (Club C) – $200 USD (Instapump Fury)
Where to Buy: Reebok
Why You Should Cop: It’s not everyday that one of your favorite animated movie series gets a shoe collaboration, but Kung Fu Panda has finally received its moment to do so. The Dreamworks franchise which tells the tales of a clumsy-yet-skilled-at-fighting panda voiced by Jack Black finds itself reimagined into a full-fledged collection with Reebok. On deck, the two have remixed classic silhouettes such as the Instapump Fury and Club C, as well as the modern day Zig Kinetica into playful, animated-inspired sneaker art.

UNDEFEATED x Nike Air Max 97 “White”

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Release Date: January 8
Release Price: $180 USD
Where to Buy: Nike SNKRS
Why You Should Cop: Longtime collaborators UNDEFEATED and Nike have come together to roll out a third Air Max 97 collaboration. For this colorway, the two parties unofficially pay homage to UCLA’s newest inked deal with Nike INC. The low-profile Sportswear staple gets dressed up with stark white backdrops and integrates notes of Bruin-esque aero blue and midwest gold accents sprinkled on the center overlays and tongues. Down below, the kicks finish with gum-colored treading to usher in some lifestyle-centric flair. These will see a release on SNKRS, but be sure to set your alarms as these will likely fly just as quickly as its predecessors.

Air Jordan 1 High “Volt Gold”

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Release Date: January 8
Release Price: $170 USD
Where to Buy: Nike SNKRS
Why You Should Cop: The Air Jordan 1 High is set to keep on rolling in the new year, and one of its first propositions to the sneaker scene will be its “Volt Gold” makeup. Here, the Jumpman team takes its ever-favored “Black Toe” inspired color blocking, and merges it with modernized and vibrant titular accents that line the ankle flaps and heels to make for an energetic take atop one of the most classic Jordan silhouettes ever. Tonges are seen with exposed foam to add a bit of a deconstructed look and feel, and the laces contrast with cream skins to add a nice lifestyle touch.

Stray Rats x New Balance 574

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Stray Rats

Release Date: January 8
Release Price: TBA
Where to Buy: Stray Rats
Why You Should Cop: Building off of the momentum from its 827 and 990v3 collaborations, Stray Rats has joined hands with New Balance once again for two iterations of the classical 574. For a silhouette that is usually known for its more understated color-blocking, SR really takes the silhouette to uncharted territories here as they apply extra loud color schemes of mossy greens, pinks and reds. The installments form its uppers with a healthy blend of suede, leather and mesh fabrics, and usher in oversized “SR” branding atop the heels to nod to the partnership.

New Balance 57/40

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New Balance

Release Date: January 9
Release Price: $120 USD
Where to Buy: New Balance
Why You Should Cop: After showing out strong in 2020, New Balance is ready to deliver brand new footwear innovations this year, one of which is the 54/70 silhouette. Its design is heavily inspired by that of the classical 574, but it brings it modernized details such as the double stacked midsoles, wavy overlays and oversized “N” logos which are emblematic of the 327. For its introduction, New Balance is proffering up the model in two striking colorways that pair neutral backgrounds with 90s-esque multi-colored accents. So if you’re on the hunt for something with classical heritage and present day lifestyle feel, this might be the pair to pick up.
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