The Nike Air Ghost Racer returns to shelves this week – today in some regions to be exact! In true #TeamEarly style, we’ve sourced a 2019 retro pair ahead of release. Then, after rummaging inside the mythical Sneaker Freaker cage, we found an OG example from 2000. At a glance, the retro looks pretty close… almost bang on. Let’s take a closer look!
Nike Air Ghost Racer: OG and Retro Comparison
Date: July 19 2019
By: Minh Vuong
Same Name, New SKUs
The original was packaged in the narrow version of the iconic two-tone orange and brown shoebox, while the 2019 retro is sold in the current red sportswear box. The OG’s SKU is 106032 761, the retro AT5410 100. The retro is made in Vietnam, just like the OG.
The ‘Neon Yellow’ is still very ‘Neon Yellow’
Yes, the OG pair pictured may be a little dusty, but the ‘Neon Yellow’ mesh is still bright as ever and, thankfully, the retro is just as retina searing. On both pairs, the ‘Atom Red’ is rich and deep on the Swoosh and lining.
The term ‘dust magnets’ is an affectionate adjective for the white microfibre used on the upper of shoes like the Ghost Racer, Air 180 and Air Mariah. The original’s upper lives up to this name: it’s retained a light coat of dust despite living in a shoebox for almost 20 years. The longer the retro stays outside of its shoebox, the more prone it is to collecting dust too… That said, the retro’s microfibre has a rougher grain compared to the OG’s even and soft brush. Also, good to see an accurate replication in the mixture of both closed mesh and warp knit mesh.
Panels and Proportions
Nike are so confident with this new Ghost Racer that they’ve attached a ‘Recrafted’ tag inside the eyestays, as seen with the retroed Air Span II, Air Vortex, and even the 2017 Flyknit Trainer retro. The shape is nice and sharp!
However, a scrutinising eye finds some miniscule changes. The heel counter panel ‘window’ takes on a gentler bottom curve compared to the OG’s angled edges. Despite the retro’s size 9.5, the ankle and heel is taller and narrower than the size 11 OG! That said, it’s not a bad thing – it gives the shape a nice height transition. A small tweak to the toe box mesh panels is another change, but we’re nit-picking millimetres at this point.
The original’s midsole textured fabric wraps the arch and medial post, replicating a finish similar to carbon fibre. The retro simply prints a similar dark pattern in the area. It’s not like anyone is actually going to run long-distance in the Ghost Racer these days, but it’s nice to see Nike not skimp on details like using dual-density foam.
The OG has Duralon blown rubber on the outsole for lightweight, grippy cushioning, working in conjunction with harder, more durable rubber in the lateral heel and forefoot. Nike has since discontinued Duralon, so the retro outsole doesn’t have any proprietary callouts, but there is still a distinct softness to the previously-Duralon areas.
And finally, in an area no one will see while the shoe is being worn, the ‘Zm Air’ badge on the outsole is upside down on the retro compared to the OG. Nobody but worms will see that, though.
Verdict: Good job, Nike!
There you have it: a very in-depth look and comparison at the OG and retro versions of the Air Ghost Racer. Only the most stubborn sneaker enthusiast will find something to dislike about the new version. In our opinion, Nike have done a great job in recreating this sneaker, and all of the differences observed don’t take away anything from the execution. Now it’s time to enjoy one of the Swoosh’s best reissues in a long time... on your feet. Pretty, pretty comfortable.