More people are reaching for their favorite slip-on shoes these days in the name of comfort and convenience. Crocs are as popular as ever, and even brands like New Balance and Reebok have retooled some of their beloved sneakers to go backless. Ever on trend, Nike is broadening its slip-on footwear lineup with a backless N7 Free Crater Trail.
Nothing kicks like a mule — The mule’s upper is set on a beige suede base and overlaid with swirled pink panels across most of the body. Tan loops are stitched across the toe to secure a toggled bungee cord lace, connecting with multi-color webbing across the midfoot. N7 branding appears on the tongue in sage green (to match the heel tabs) and on the imprinted insoles.
At its foundation, the mule features a sustainable, speckled Crater Foam sole from Nike’s Free Run Trail line. It’s also inspired by the Free Crater Trail Moc N7, a sneaker designed to mimic Native American basket weaving, which carries the same sole. While both of the shoes take after a traditional Nike running shoe, their uppers are shaped like a moccasin.
Honoring the Native American community — Nike’s N7 division launched in 2000 with the purpose of supporting the Native American community, specifically its athletes, creators, and cultural game-changers of the seventh generation. Textures, fabrics, and patterns — like the quilting, basket weaving, and webbing of the aforementioned sneaker and mule — are meant to reflect the “Indigenous defense of Mother Earth’s biodiversity,” according to the line’s website.
The mule and moccasin sneaker are similar to another N7 sneaker, a basket-woven Air Force 1 Low that you can pick up right now. It features the same color palette and the moccasin’s multicolor weaving, as well as 20-percent recycled materials in its construction.
While the slip-on shoe’s recent resurgence could be linked to Crocs during the pandemic, there’s now a plethora of options to choose from. Ranging from structured sneakers to leather boot alternatives and more versatile variations, it appears we’re deeper in the age of exposed ankles than ever.
There currently isn’t an official release date for Nike’s N7 Free Crater Trail Mule. However, the official images mean the kicks should have a spot on the release calendar and on your feet pretty soon.