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Back to Basics: The Nike Roshe Run

Like many of the best things in life, the Roshe Run came about as a labor of love. Nike never made a specific request for the Roshe. In fact, the idea was overlooked initially. But this worked out just fine for designer Dylan Raasch, who used what little spare time he had to design the Roshe. His goal was to make a cost-effective, simple shoe. With just this constraint in mind, Raasch let his creativity flourish, and he broke down the box of traditional shoe design.

For inspiration, he thought of the peacefulness and simplicity found in a Zen garden. Keeping with his inspiration, the first color of the Roshe was moss green with an off-white sole to mimic colors typical of Zen gardens. Flip the Roshe over and you'll see a modified tread pattern, which is meant to represent stepping-stones. The shoe's name was originally “Roshi, ” a title given to Zen masters.

After its release, the eventual success of the Nike Roshe was unprecedented, unexpected, and welcomed. Its simple design and low price made it the versatile shoe many were looking for.

A number of companies took notice. They saw the simple upper and casual lines as the perfect canvas for artistic experimentation. The result was an unending supply of designs that ranged from simple patterns to works of art. Just a few of the notable collaborations include Nike's work with GourmetKickz, Lakai Studios, and Pendleton. Though you might be hard-pressed to find some of these creative collaborations, the Nike Roshe is always available in solid, clean colors that call to mind its original design.

The Roshe's inherent comfort enhanced its popularity. Composed of a mesh upper and a Phylon sole, it's lightweight, breathable, and you don't even have to wear it with socks. Mesh construction allows air to move easily through the upper, keeping your feet cool in warmer temperatures. The lightweight Phylon foam sole provides a soft, cushioned layer underfoot. Due to this simple design, the Roshe is lightweight and comfortable. Not to mention, it's easy to construct, which helps reduce cost and environmental impact. Though it was originally designed with running in mind, it is a casual shoe, made more for everyday wear than running. The unforeseen popularity of the Roshe Run prompted Nike to release other variations of the Roshe Run.

Designed for warm weather and everyday comfort, the Roshe Run Slip has a convenient slip-on construction. It's a good option for traveling to a yoga class or the gym where you might change your shoes or go barefoot. Not to mention, it's not too heavy to wear at home for extra comfort and warmth. The Roshe Slip comes with a sockliner that makes barefoot-wear even more comfortable.

You don't have to put the Roshe away during fall and winter, simply switch to the Nike Roshe Run Sneakerboot. It features the same soft, cushioned construction as the Roshe Run, but it is not as breathable. While this isn't a benefit in the summer, it's perfect for fall and winter. A water-resistant coating works with the protective upper to hold in warmth and hold water out. It comes in different heights, so you can match the boot to different outfits. If you don't want to let that Roshe-specific comfort go during the winter, try out the sneakerboot.