This week we take you back to the 80’s when some of your favourite styles first hit the tracks, courts and streets. Still going strong today, here’s our selection and their modern day versions.
The Superstar started life in 1969 on the basketball courts of the US. The first shoe for ‘ballers’ that featured leather uppers and the legendary ‘shelltoe’ rubber toe protection became a hit with 75% of NBA players by the 70’s including ‘Game of Death’ and NBA star Kareem Abdul-Jabbar. Fast forward to the 80’s and hip hop heroes Run DMC pushed the shoe and the adidas brand into the Hall of Fame with their song ‘My adidas’. Never dated and still stylish as ever, its hard to believe the Superstar is nearly 50 years old!
NIKE AIRFORCE 1
Nike introduced the Air Force 1 to the world in 1982 and was the first basketball shoe to feature a heel air pocket for cushioning and support. The shoe was a revelation and a huge improvement on what players had used previously. Test shoes were handed out before production and legend has it that many never came back to the Nike boffins they were that good!. Like many styles of that era, the AF1 was shelved after two years but returned in ’86 and has stood the test of time since. Now coming into it’s 35th year the shoe named after the President’s plane features in low, mid and high versions with over 2000 different colour and ‘collab’ variations. Any sneaker-head worth his salt should have an AF1 in his locker.
The 80’s, a huge decade for music but also for the almost continuous production of sneaker styles that hit the gyms, tracks, streets and for one style, the dance halls of those heady years. When you mix Hip Hop and Puma you get the Puma States. Named after its birthplace, the States was eventually adopted and loved by the UK Hip Hop community due to its no nonsense low profile style and the addition of hard to find fat laces. Essentially no different from the Puma Clyde or Suede, the shoe went on to feed the desire of the 80’s Casual scene and became a part of sneaker history. Another shoe that just never tires and continues to hold a place in the hearts of veteran B-Boys and fashionistas alike.
NIKE AIRMAX 1
When it comes to a claim to fame, the Nike Air Max 87, or Air Max 1 as we now commonly call it, started one of the most important trends in footwear design, visible Air. Designed by the now legendary Tinker Hatfield, the Max 1 was partly inspired by the Centre Georges Pompidou building as Hatfield wanted the air pockets to be visible from the outside against the wishes of many at the brand. Hatfield persisted and a design classic was spawned. Now 30 years old, the Max 1 continues to be as popular as ever and Air Max Day is celebrated by sneaker-heads across the world yearly.
REEBOK FREESTYLE HI
When the jogging craze started to wane in the 80’s no one saw the next fad more than Reebok who introduced a shoe specifically designed and marketed for women called the Reebok Freestyle. With millions embracing the new Aerobics craze of the 80’s, women and men across the world donned lycra, leg warmers and the Reebok Freestyle which by 1984 accounted for half of Reebok’s worldwide sales. Imitators tried but the Freestyle blew away the competition and fuelled a sports craze that continues to this day. Fast forward to the present and the Freestyle is still in production. Jane Fonda might be gone but hunger for the Freestyle never wanes.
NIKE AIR PEGASUS 83
Initially designed for runners of the day, the Nike Pegasus design team were briefed to produce an affordable air training shoe for the masses. With nylon and suede uppers, waffle sole and a $50 price tag the shoe offered flexibility and comfort like no others at the time. Over the years the style has been rehashed and upgraded but its the present day’s desire for ‘retro runners’ that fuels the demand for the Pegasus 83. The ‘Peg’ just looks great however you wear it!