Shoe: Nike Lunar Flyknit Chukka (Wolf Grey/Wolf Grey-Black-White)

Release: Jun 22, 2013

Price: $200, eBay in 2015 (Retail: $170)

    The Nike Lunar Flyknit Chukka is proof that opposites attract. Only one year after Flyknit’s big debut at the 2012 London Olympics, the high-performance material was coerced into a lifestyle silhouette designed for anything but athletics. By all accounts, the Flyknit Chukka shouldn’t have been successful. Flyknit was ludicrously expensive when it launched, but at least the Racer and Trainer had Olympic-caliber pedigree to justify their price tag. A $170 mid-top built on a standard Lunarlon outsole, well, didn’t. Retro Jordan money for an unproven silhouette was hardly an easy sell. Until you gave it the right paintjob.

   The 2013 “Supreme” colorway is perhaps the best Flyknit Chukka ever released. First and foremost, it’s the closest the Chukka family has ever gotten to a proper “Bred.” They’re not the classics for nothing. Not only that, but Wolf Greys were a relatively limited release. Whether by internal planning or underproduction of a formerly-unpopular model, these Chukkas sold out when all other colorways sat. The fact that this was the first non-HTM mass exposure of such an unconventional silhouette only stoked demand even more.

    Long story short: discerning sneakerheads love these shoes. Just look at the reaction whenever a pair is posted online: “Wolf Grey” is the Bred III of the Chukka family. Desirable; iconic; and most of all, hard to find. So when a pair in my size popped up on Ebay last June, I moved quick.

Impressions

    Right off the bat, Lunar Flyknit Chukkas are comfy like you wouldn’t believe. Your entire ankle is wrapped snug by ultralight Flyknit material, secure but comfortable on a Lunarlon footbed. It’s like memory foam for your feet, minus the cold ankles.

    As a result of the higher-than-expected silhouette, they’re also some of the most visually-interesting shoes I’ve ever owned. The Flyknit Chukka doesn’t go as far into “sock” territory as a Huarache Flight, but it tapers so well into your ankle you’d swear it’s an extension. It’s also a shockingly smooth shoe. Yes, Flyknit is speckled wool, but it’s splashed across a one-piece upper. The marled grey knit material looks both high tech and scratchy: like Grandma’s sweater made from woven carbon. Contrast Flywire and a bright red Swoosh tie the package together with perfect color complements.

    The only issue I have with the Wolf Greys: they’re not a shoe you just work in to existing outfits. More often than not, I find myself working around them. I’ve decided that some days will be Wolf Grey days, checked the forecast, and then put together a both weather and color-appropriate outfit. That’s not to say the shoes aren’t versatile. By contrast, I own a lot of clothing I can wear with them. It just has to be very carefully selected for the occasion. I’ll give you an example: the grey of the knit upper means anything neutral short of black doesn’t work. If it’s cold out, that means I’m now wearing black pants. However, lest I go full matchy-matchy, my choice of shirt colors has now been narrowed down to white or olive.

   That’s not all bad: the shoe positively shines in monochrome fits. My favorite outfits with this shoe have even learned towards techwear, highlighting the Flyknit’s performance DNA with a black Arc’teryx shell and neck gaiter. In the right sportswear silhouette, the Wolf Greys are the best shoes on the planet.

    Spending the time to deliberately assemble that right silhouette, however, has the tendency to feel like a lot of trouble. I love my Wolf Grey Chukkas, yet dollars-per-wear they are the most shoe expensive in my collection. If I feel remotely lazy, I just as easily throw on Pure Platinum-Squadron Blue Chukkas and look almost as fresh with substantially less effort. Call it Diminishing Marginal Returns to Freshness. Somewhere, my freshman Econ professor smiled.

    As a result, I end up wearing this cold-weather-appropriate Chukka more in the warmer months than the cold. Simply put: my leg breaks up the color enough to let the silhouette shine. Paired with shorts and a crewneck sweatshirt, Wolf Grey Chukkas are a breathable, stylish, and comfortable shoe that’s miles ahead of the rest.

    In summary, the Wolf Grey Nike Lunar Flyknit Chukka is the ultimate colorway of an influential silhouette I only wish were more popular. As a whole, the shoes are versatile – however, to make the Wolf Grey-Red really work its magic, be prepared to plan around it. I scooped my pair for $200 on eBay and don’t regret it for a second. A sleek silhouette powered by athletic DNA molded into a visually-striking casual shoe with colors that match your Box Logo. While they’re far from my most worn shoes, the Wolf Grey Lunar Flyknit Chukkas are the ones I most look forward to.

 

Comfort: ★★★★☆

Style: ★★★★★

Versatility: ★★★★☆

Value: ★★★☆☆

OVERALL: ★★★★☆

 

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