Midsole Troubles


Pictured : 1997 Air Max 95 Leather SC | Picture Credit @Lyam.EXCHNG & @Notboxlogo

A thought tucked deep in the back of the minds as many collectors lace up their favourite time tested models every day. Crumbling, pealing and overall ditereation is something many of us have had to deal with over the last few years as keeping our shoes on shelves has become a ticking time bomb.

Polyurethane, one of the go to materials for midsoles on premium Nike models over time can be subjected to oxidisation much like steel would rust. The PU will deteriorate as years go on, moisture is lost through contact with oxygen, drying out the midsole and turning it brittle. This may not be prevalent until pressure is applied to the sole, however when this time comes the shock of this weight can be enough to turn the brittle and dried out midsole into dust.

UV light also plays a big role in this process, a prime example would be when one foot of a sneaker has been left on display in store, not selling for months on end. When you then compare the two side by side there will be a noticeable difference in the colour of the sole with the harsh lights causing a yellow tinge. Whilst this may not happen to every material as quickly as some, over time light will cause deterioration in any material.

What does this all mean? Those 2009 AM1 might only have another 3 years in them, depending on how they’ve been stored or if they are worn (wearing a shoe stops the midsoles from going firm, meaning it’s less likely to show these signs of wear until a later point).

Knowing this alone has caused some collectors to sell up old pairs while the value is still high. As new players enter, the market becomes thirsty for these older releases but our question is will that last as these pairs begin to past there used by dates? Sure, the easy answer is a sole swap to keep these older pairs alive, but will the value seen in these releases remain as high with buyers knowing the process they are in for?


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