Nike Aptare SE

Back in 1984, Nike had a design team known as HTM made up of three designers: Hiroshi Fukiwara, Tinker Hatfield, and Mark Parker.  They designed the company’s groundbreaking simplicity-inspired Sock Dart which was Nike’s founder Bill Bowerman’s vision of a “sock with a sole”. This unique sneaker silhouette led to other hit models in Nike’s arsenal such as the Air Presto and the Nike Free Prototype. Following in suit comes the Nike Aptare SE, another seamless and simple running sneaker. One look at this laceless sneaker and you’ll notice how different its design is. A single piece of woven textile makes up this sleek shoe’s upper and delivers lightweight and breathable comfort. Like it’s sock dart predecessor, the Aptare SE boasts non-flashy swoosh branding on either side of the shoe and a matching TPU toe box cap. The flexible outsole is made up of a smooth looking rubber that runs slightly up the outer side of the shoe and up the heel, giving it a sleek design. Along with the soft booty-like sock liner, this shoe features an injected Phylon midsole to make it extremely comfortable. The design feature that sets this shoe apart from many others on the market is the fact that it does not have a visible lacing system. Rather, the Aparte SE has an internal lacing system and is fit to the foot through a toggle bungee closure. 

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Where to Buy
Where to Buy
Pros & Cons
  • Quick and easy to put on
  • Built-in flex groove in the outsole
  • Soft sock-like lining and memory foam heel 
  • Sleek minimalistic design 
  • Adjustable to many foot shapes 
  • Cons
    • Outsole does not offer a lot in the way of grip
    • Tends to run large and wider 
    • Shoe doesn’t offer much arch support
    • Key Features
      The sleek-looking outsole of this sneaker is made up of one single piece of rubber. It runs the length of the foot in a flowing design that spills lightly up the middle of the shoe and then extends up the heel and finishes with the Nike emblem. The bottom of the sneaker features subtle dimpled rubber and a large waffle design. Another subtle outsole feature is the built-in flex groove system which is basically small zig-zag partial cuts in the bottom of the shoe lasered into the rubber, which allow for a greater amount of flexibility.
      This Special Edition sneaker (hence the ‘SE’) has a Phylon injected midsole which provides comfort and cushioning. Phylon is made up of EVA foam pellets which are compressed, heat expanded, and then cooled in a mold. Many sneakers on the market today feature EVA foam in one way or another and the Aptare SE is no exception. Phylon is a dense, durable, and stable midsole material and gives the midsole of this sneaker a soft feel.
      The sleekly designed upper of the Nike Aptare SE sets it apart from many other running shoes on the market today. It is made of one solid piece of woven textile that stretches across the whole of the shoe and wraps around it comfortably. It has an internal lacing system so there are no visible laces. With the help from the heel pull loop, it’s easy to slide these sneakers on your feet and close the adjustable toggle bungee closure toward the top of the sneaker to keep it nice and snug. The large swoosh symbols on either side of the sneaker are noticeable, but also subtle due to the monochromatic color scheme of the shoe. The heel counter is cushioned and comfortable so it stays in place well. The Aptare SE runs a tad wider so it is recommended that if you’d like a snug fitting shoe to order a half size down.
      Since these sneakers are based on such designs as the Nike Free Prototype, which had minimalist and barefoot runners in mind, they were made to be lightweight. There isn’t a whole lot of seams or bells and whistles in any part of the shoe, meaning it is really light on the foot. There aren’t any big rubber lugs on the outsole or heavy layers of fabric on the upper. The Aptare SE is definitely a super lightweight sneaker.
      The single piece of breathable mesh that makes up this sneaker’s upper lends to a great amount of breathability. The shoe has a comfortable sock liner so whether you wear them with socks or without, your feet will feel light and airy. No need to worry about sweaty feet in these sleek sneaks.
      Because the Aptare is made with the idea of a minimalist shoe in mind, it is designed to mesh well with your foot. The Phylon injected midsole provides a comfortable step and the soft sock lining will feel comfortable and noninvasive on your foot. This sneaker does not have a tongue at all due to its integrated lacing system so you won’t have to worry about the tongue slipping or irritating the top of your foot. Even the heel counter is soft and slightly cushioned, making these shoes a very soft and comfortable running sneaker option.
      Although not everyone may go for the simple streamlined design of the Aptare SE, that doesn’t mean the shoe lacks style. This sneaker comes in an array of monochromatic color-ways that will match with almost any running or casual style. There aren’t any bright flashy accents on the sneaker and they don’t look bulky and overdone. The Aptare offers an abundance of sleek, low-key style that is not only comfortable but also practical.
      This sneaker may not be the most durable option out there as far as running shoes go. They aren’t meant to withstand severe weather conditions or off-road trekking. With that said, the Aptare SE is definitely a great option for anyone looking for a sneaker to wear on light runs or as a casual sneaker option. If they are used for these purposes, they will last longer than if they are put through tougher running conditions.
      The outsole of the Aptare SE features small rubber pods and a flexible sole. These two features combined with the custom-fit allowed through the bungee toggle closure will ensure that your feet will be protected. However, since they are made of a single piece of mesh-like textile on their upper, they won’t protect you from rain very well.
      The injected Phylon midsole of the Aptare SE gives this sneaker a decent amount of responsiveness through its cushioning. However, the outsole of this shoe doesn’t offer much other than small rubber pods to aid in traction so there aren’t any special technological advances in responsiveness present here. All in all, it’s average in the responsiveness department.
      The Aptare SE is not engineered to be a stability running shoe so it is not extremely supportive. Although, it does have a decent midsole and sturdy outsole so you should feel supported enough for walking or lighter runs. The heel counter is sturdy as well and the midsole extends up the back of the shoe, giving it a little more stability. This sneaker will also feel pretty snug on your foot due to the integrated lacing system so it should fit nice and snug with no sliding around inside of the shoe.
      These streamlined sneakers aren’t meant for trekking through the woods or long distance runs. With their minimally designed outsole, they are best suited for light runs on smooth to semi-smooth surfaces or treadmills.
      These are pretty affordable running sneakers, especially considering they bear the well-known and trusted Nike name. Whether you buy these as a casual sneaker or as a running shoe, it won’t break the bank.
      There is a small level of traction on the outsole of these sneakers but not a huge amount. The little rubber dimples and waffle design help give the shoe some traction but not a ton. Accordingly, over the course of this particular sneaker’s life, these little dimples may get worn down, therefore given the shoe even less traction. As far as running in wet conditions, they should help you out but you should also exercise caution.
      Nike often employs the laser-etched design of flex grooves into many of their sneakers’ outsoles, including the Aptare SE. These flex grooves are etched into the rubber of the outsole in a zig-zag pattern so that when the shoe is in neutral mode, you can hardly tell that they are even there. However, once the shoe is bent, the flex grooves become evident throughout the outsole. These, combined with the mesh-like textile material found in the sneaker’s upper, make it a pretty flexible shoe.
      Even though the Aptare SE provides a relatively typical amount of support, it is not the most stable of shoes due to its minimalistic design. The one thing that is stable about it, however, is the fact that the actual footprint of the shoe has a wider footbed in general, making it run slightly wider than many Nike sneakers. Because it is a tad wider, it gives the sneaker a little bit more stability underfoot.
      The Nike Aptare was designed with barefoot running in mind so the drop is pretty minimal. It does have more of a midsole than a minimal shoe, making the drop larger than any barefoot runner, but it isn’t that large of a drop. The minimalistic outsole doesn’t have any bells and whistles, so it doesn’t add to a heel or toe stack height. Basically, the drop on these sneakers is pretty neutral and would be good for almost any kind of runner.
      Key Features
      - Minimalistic design without too many embellishments
      - The lightweight breathable mesh-like upper is forgiving to almost any foot shape
      - No external lacing system, rather, the sneaker employs an integrated lacing system
      - Built-in flex grooves make the sneaker a pretty flexible shoe
      - Soft sock-like material lines the inside of the sneaker and even extends up the heel counter
      - Internal lacing system and heel pull loop make it very easy to put on and take off
      Bottom Line
      In the end, the Nike Aptare SE is a sleek minimalistic sneaker that can be used as either casual shoes, for walking, or for light runs. It is very easy to put on and take off with the help of the heel pull loop and internal lacing system so they are a great option for anyone with a tight schedule. The flowy design of the midsole adds a delicate style to the single piece of textile that makes up the upper. Its injected Phylon midsole, along with the soft sock-like liner of the inside of the shoe, proves to be very comfortable. Many users have commented on how comfortable the sneaker is for either standing for long periods, walking, or even going on light runs. No matter what you purchase the Aptare SE for, whether for casual use or for running, it is sure to make you happy in the comfy department. It is a lightweight, breathable, and flexible sneaker option that will turn heads wherever you go with its unique design.
      Where to Buy
      By Abbie Copeland
      Last updated:
      Where to buy
      Best offer on: Jul. 28. 2021

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