shoes from the 90’s

I’m slightly fascinated by the apparent success of Nike in bringing old shoe designs back into production. Is it a fluke in the standard consumerist process of wanting the newest thing, or is it a very tangible example of the cyclical nature of fashion? Either way, it seems like they’re making some money and saving on design expenses.

Most of the styles popping back up now are the same that I had in middle and high school. I look back on this stuff with nostalgia but also a bit of shame that I bugged my Mom enough to get her to waste money on so many of these overpriced things. Not that it was an entirely frivolous pursuit.. In the forced social cesspool of high school in the suburban Midwest of the 90’s, buying (bad) fashion was one of the most practical ways to be accepted by a peer group. I guess I can  rationalize spending money on IOU sweatshirts, Guess jeans and the newest Air Jordans as a means of stress avoidance and protecting what little self esteem as 13-17 year old might have.

Above are the Nike shoes I remember having in highschool and my first time through college. It’s interesting to look back on some of these shoes and see them more as designed objects rather than just “things you gotta have”. Specifically, I think the design of the Air Max 95 (7th shoe shown above) designed by Sergio Lozano. I’m always tempted to get a pair of the retro versions of these when I stop in a shoe store.

Oddly, (or not) of the above shoes, all of the Air Jordans were the worst, with the Air Force 180’s close behind. All the others I’d gladly buy again, especially the Zion Low, which I’ve been looking for for a long time. they only appear to be available at japanese vintage shops. I had trouble even finding the name of them, but in the process of searching, found this great site about the Nike ACG department. Anyway, here’s the Zion Low in the black colorway.

I’m still spending $150 on a pair of shoes, but these days it gets me waterproofing, pronation control and ankle support. They aren’t the coolest looking shoes, but they help keep my ankles and knees from blowing up.

In writing this post, I couldn’t help but remember the 1989 Nike “Air Pressure” – Nike’s failed response to Reebok’s “pumps”. Back in the olden days, I remember seeing a pair of these on clearance for $180 at the little shoe store in the back of Glendale mall in Indy. Most of the design (and apparently the functionality) is unremarkable, but I really like the bulbous protrusion from the back. It’s a nice line. Also, the 80’s signature “poofy” tounge reminds me of the Air McFly shoes.