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This Nike Sneaker Looks Exclusive, But It's Always in Stock

Compared to its luxe cousin, the LDWaffle, the Waffle One is made for the masses.

nike waffle one sneaker in an open box
Nick Grant

When I first caught a glimpse of Nike and Japanese luxury sportswear brand Sacai’s collaborative effort, the LD Waffle, back in 2019, I knew they were going to get the attention of everyone — from the hypebeasts who may not wear them at all but have to have them, to folks working the Storage and Organization section at IKEA who simply think they look as though you could stand in them for an eight-hour shift. They had a beautifully chaotic look that could appeal to anyone interested in innovative footwear.

Sure enough, they sold out immediately — and quickly hit the resale market for upwards of $1,200 a pair. (They're still $520 now.) While that is an outrageous price to pay for a pair of sneakers — especially since there were 10-plus versions released over the course of two years — you could definitely see the appeal of the sneakers, if you could make it past the fog of relentless hype.

That fog is exactly why I was so intrigued by Nike's more pedestrian — and obtainable, at $100 or $110 for the SE model — 2021 follow-up to the popular hybrid sneaker, the Nike Waffle One.

I’ll admit, it’s hard to follow in the footsteps of a sneaker many deemed the best of year, but Nike looked to keep as many of the important features as they could in order to keep both hypebeasts and IKEA staffers on board. And as someone who falls in between these two consumers — and who was lucky to get my hands on a few pairs of the LD Waffles — I wanted to put these good-on-paper Nikes to the test to make sure they indeed walked the walk.

Here’s what you can expect from the Nike Waffle One.

writer holding a nike waffle one sneaker
The toebox is translucent but not alarmingly so. Sure, a patterned sock will stand out, but if you wear plain ones they’ll look pretty normal.
Nick Grant
writer holding a nike waffle one sneaker
The shoe itself looks far more exclusive than it actually is.
Nick Grant

What I like about the Nike Waffle One:

It makes great use of its materials.

Personally, I am a sucker for sneakers that feature suede as the predominant material. I know it isn’t always practical, especially if this were a true running shoe — but as a professional athleisurer, I can assure you these were made specifically for athleisuring (which, again, I am a professional at).

The soft suede has the perfect nap to it. It really pops in comparison to the translucent mesh toe box that wraps all the way around to the back heel tab, which is capped off with the contrasting leather Nike swoosh. The company even modernized the tongue, upgrading it from the exposed foam of yore to an astounding amalgamation of performance and pure aesthetics.

The toebox, the karaoke machine of this sneaker.

Quite possibly the best part of the shoe — especially if you compare it to the LDWaffle — is the translucent toebox, which has been upgraded. Not only does it help keep these super-lightweight and comfy, but being able to wear a fun pair of socks — or even just a regular white or black pair to let a little bit of your personality shine through the toe and midsection — is a gimmick that puts cheeks in the proverbial seats. It's kind of like a karaoke machine that gives you a bit of help with the music and lyrics, but lets you bring everything together with your vocals.

They're very comfortable, for a shoe based on a 1970s classic.

The original Nike Waffle line of sneakers launched in the early 1970s to much fanfare — especially the Waffle Racer, which took the popular protruded rubber sole and sat it atop a lightweight, cushioned EVA midsole for maximum comfort. (This is a feature Nike still uses to this day — with some minor 21st century technological tweaks, of course.)

The Waffle One has a dual stacked midsole with a modernized arch to protect our delicate feet and a TPU heel cup for additional support. I don’t want over-cushioned shoes when I’m active, but I don’t want to feel as though I’m walking barefoot, either. And again, while I do not picture myself running in a marathon in these...it’s just because I do not picture myself running in a marathon ever.

Nike Waffle One: the Verdict

model wearing nike waffle one sneaker
There’s a lot to love about the Waffle One, which comes in over a dozen colorways.
Nick Grant
They proved perfect for dog walking, working out and everything in-between.

These Nikes are slim and stylish — and they’ll make you look cool, too.

While the LDWaffle was an absolutely chunk of a shoe due to its double, well, everything, the slim profile of the Waffle One immediately gives off more casual vibes. Between the shoe’s general profile and the low-cut, stitched collar, they make my Fred Flintstone-esque clodhoppers look and feel dainty. I regularly struggle to find slim-looking shoes — but lo and behold, the Waffle One is my glass slipper.

Nike Waffle One

  • $100 but looks like it cost a lot more
  • Flatters big feet

  • Translucent toe box isn't for everyone
  • The tongue isn't terribly tough
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