The Comeback Of Vintage Designs
Fashion, like music and other things, is a cyclical, and it’s especially prominent with sneakers. Supreme brought back the Nike Air Humara (First debuted in 1998) for its trail collaboration, and Adidas has been pushing 2 variations of its classic EQT series, the ADV (modern) version, and the standard RF (original) racers. However, the classics are seeing a resurgence, and it’s taking over the scene in a big way. Here’s a list of what silhouettes are making a comeback.
Adidas Stan Smiths
An unfortunate case of timing gone right. Back in 1963, the shoe was originally named after Robert Halliet, a French tennis player, as Adidas approached him to collaborate on the model. The shoe caught traction on the court as the leather upper was able to provide more support and structural rigidity than other tennis shoes, of which most of them were made from canvas back then. After Halliet’s retirement, Adidas immediately tapped Stan Smith to adorn the silhouette as he recently became number 1, and the rest is history.
Air Jordan 1
Arguably the most important sneaker of all-time, originally commissioned for Michael Jordan. The colours adorning the original pair were a reflection of the Chicago Bulls team pallette. It has been said that MJ was fined $5000 every time the shoe was on court for failing to adhere to regulations because the shoe had not enough white on it. Nike countered it by paying the fine every game just so he could play in the shoe. Many iterations of the kicks have been made ever since then, with the ‘Banned’ colourway releasing in 2011, and much more recently, a reconstruction by high fashion designer, Virgil Abloh of Off-White.
Converse Chuck Taylor/All-Star
The design that stood the test of time (The original sketches were penned over a 100 years ago). The shoe was conceived as a basketball shoe at first, when Charles “Chuck” Taylor joined the Converse sponsored basketball team called the The Converse All-Stars. After a countrywide tour teaching schools basketball and selling the All-Stars, professional basketball players started wearing them on court, and subsequently became a need more than a want, expanding into the military, and recently, towards music and artists. It was well received as a lifestyle sneaker, a do it all, no nonsense shoe, fit for every occasion.
Steve Van Doren (VP of events and promotions at Vans) was quoted saying that the Sk8-Hi represents the history of Vans itself. “It ties into all our tenets: art, music, skating, and street culture.” The high-top was an inclusion to protect skater’s ankles from all the harshness and abuse, of which its preceding models had velcro-ed ankle guards that would stick on the rim of the shoe. The silhouette now is very popular with college kids, and it wouldn’t be hard to miss at least 3 pairs of Sk8-his at events and gigs.
One of the most recognisable silhouettes, made famous by NBA player Kareem Abdul Jabbar and hip hop group Run D.M.C. The shoe actually originated as a low-top version of the Pro Model basketball shoe, but was so damn popular it has been endlessly reimagined with different materials, colours, and patterns. The rubber shell-toe piece was the focusing point of the shoe, and is widely regarded as one of the defining silhouettes that gave rise to modern sneaker culture, populating every basic wardrobe on Earth.
Nike Air Max 97
The Air Max 97 recently had a massive comeback, complete with big name collaborations from the likes of Undefeated and a very unlikely one, Swarovski. The shoe has its origins deeply rooted from the Air Max series, with iteration after iteration culminated into a very futuristic design for its time, complete with a world first hidden lacing system that kept the silhouette looking clean.
Nike Air Force 1
A homage to the Presidential plane, The Air Force 1, but has no relations to the plane at all, instead being a reference towards basketball. It was the first basketball shoe to have an Air unit embedded inside the midsole. It was also the first shoe to not have a herringbone tread pattern, instead having circular treads at the foot’s pivot points to enable easier turn-in. Testers loved the shoe so much, they refused to return the samples back. Nike actually discontinued the model after a while but increasing demand from consumers led to Nike bringing it back, and as a result, turned it into a cult classic. As it stands, there have been many iterations of the AF1, from Commes Des Garcons, to A$AP Ferg’s own iteration, to Off-White, and Nike’s derivation of the model called the Special Fields Air Force 1, which had military inspired designs. 10 collaborations of it were just released recently at ComplexCon, and if that doesn’t give you an image of how big the impact of the shoe was, nothing will.
Dubbed the first “modern” running shoe, the Cortez was launched in conjunction with the 1972 Olympics, helping its wearer get through long distances and rough terrain in comfort, but what really took the Cortez off was its featuring role in the award winning movie, Forrest Gump, when Tom Hanks (who played Forrest Gump) received a pair of these and proceeded to run the entirety of The United States. Way to go for marketing, Nike.
Batas are relatively sedated when it comes to every other shoe that’s on this list, but the Hotshots are another story altogether, because they were the main kicks of Nirvana’s frontman, Kurt Cobain. There’s already a trend here, where the shoes have basketball based origins, and then expanding from the courts and into the streets, diffusing into musical and street culture, turning what would be just another sport shoe, into a grunge icon.
Something of a dedicated cult following developed with the Uptempo, as the shoe was the embodiment of a larger-than-life era of the mid-90s, very apparent in the oversized AIR lettering adorning the top, and thick midsole providing plenty of cushioning, endorsed by 2-time gold medallist, Scottie Pippen. The shoe had numerous special editions that made it a coveted model, namely the ‘Suptempo’ by Supreme, Chicago Bulls colourway, and the 1996 Olympic blue navy colourway. Hard to miss the shoe when AIR is screaming at you from across the room.
Think we missed any? Let us know what we overlooked down at the comment below!