Retro Colourways That Need to Return to Shelves
In the last few years, we’ve been super lucky that brands have blessed us with some awesome colourways from the archives. While we always look forward to a fresh take on our favourite silhouettes, some make-ups from the past manage to truly resonate with us, quickly obtaining cult status. With this in mind, we asked the team, and our community, which colourways they wanted to return. Honestly, it was a very long list, so we’ve tried hard to cut it down, and we’ve kept it collaboration-free because that’s a whole other story of its own.
Nike Air Max 95 ‘Neon’
The ‘Neon’ take is the inaugural colourway that launched the Nike Air Max 95 back in 1995. Since then its low-key gradient upper splashed with pops of neon has graced and influenced many a shoe, with rumours recently swirling that we’d see a return around Air Max Day last year. Sadly, that date is now long gone, and the re-sale price continues to creep up.
Nike Air Max 95 ‘Greedy’
Considering how recent this take on the ‘What The’ formula is, its ability to hold its place so close to the top of the all-time Air Max 95 colourways is quite an achievement. This colourful take mixes up its panels with a selection of top designs from the past, including ‘Laser Blue’, ‘Solar Red’ and ‘Neon’. It works, it’s rare and, most importantly, it’s wearable.
Nike Air Max 90 ‘Spruce’
Originally dropping around the launch of the Air Max 90, the ‘Spruce’ colourway quickly became a favourite amongst connoisseurs of Air. Years later, in 2008, UK retailer JD Sports dropped a retro as an exclusive, and this became excellent trade bait — especially for UK collectors — with many stories of savvy ‘heads buying out pairs that sat on shelves only to sell them at a premium to US fans. This shoe recently came back, but in the form of the odd 90/1. So we’re still waiting on a proper comeback.
adidas ZX 8000 ‘Aqua’
One of the most requested shoes on the list is the neck-breaking adidas ZX 8000 in ‘Aqua’. It only recently came to light that designer Jaques Chassaing took inspiration from sports bikes when designing a lot of the ZX range, and this can be seen in the colours and numbering system that reflects the Cylinder Capacity (CC). In simple terms, the bigger the cylinders, the more power you have at your disposal. As the ZX line processed into higher numbers, this was reflected by better tech with the introduction of torsion, crazier colours, and faster runs by athletes.
The 8000 had a huge impact on the early UK music scene, and has held a special place in older collectors’ hearts due to its unmissable mark on their youth. The last time these returned was as an exclusive to UK retailer size? back in 2013 — and they now commanded a very high price! Rumours abound of a retro this year, so we’ll let you know if an info surfaces.
Air Jordan 5 ‘Floridian’
We toyed with choosing the Air Jordan 5 ‘Metallic’ as our favourite Jumpman colourway, but it came out in 2016 and is still easily available on the re-sale market for around retail. So, instead, we settled on the AJ5 ‘Floridian’. This often-forgotten colourway dropped in 2013 as a female exclusive, but the mixture of bright pink and orange always grabbed eyes from both genders, as collectors across the globe begged for a larger size run.
Air Jordan 7 ‘Bordeaux’
The Air Jordan 7 ‘Bordeaux’ is named after the storied wine region of the same name in France. With the last (and second) retro appearing under Jordan’s confusing remastered program in 2015, and with a slight commotion around the midsole colouring (the 2015 was darker than the original), the shoe features a sock-like neoprene bootie akin to the Huarache with layered panelling in Durabuck. It feels like it’s time to give these beauties another airing.
Nike Air Max 90 ‘Infrared’
Originally known as ‘Hyvent Orange’, around 2003 this iconic colourway gradually evolved into the ‘Infrared’, and the name has stuck ever since. Since then, we’ve seen it applied to many different silhouettes, including pairs that sit far outside of the running heritage of the AM90. As a result, ‘Infrared’ has cemented itself into footwear history. The last decent retro was 2010, so it’s almost been a decade since these were seen on shelves in their original form. If the rumours are true that these are making a return soon, we’re certainly keeping our fingers crossed.
Air Force 1 ‘Courir’
The fabled Air Force 1 ‘Courir’ first dropped in 2002, featuring a rich and premium leather that is rarely seen on shoes these days. It’s simple, but it is also an absolute staple of a colourway — including the black upper, white swoosh and midsole, and that all important gum sole! These fetch a hefty price deadstock, but good luck finding a pair, as they’re pretty much non-existent.
Nike Spiridon ‘Royal Blue’
The shoe of true connoisseurs and refined collectors, the Spiridon of 1997 was originally encumbered with keeping in the framework of the Alpha Zoom’s tooling. However, it quickly surpassed that challenge and drew a cult following for its comfort, breathable mesh upper, 3M details, and massive metallic Swoosh. From that beginning, two colourways really defined the shoe: ‘Metallic Red’ and ‘Royal Blue’. The ‘Metallic Red’ returned in 2016, with most regarding it as one of the strongest shoes and retros of that year. With that track record of successful retros in mind, we’d love to see the ‘Royal Blue’ make its regal return.
ASICS Saga II ‘Purple/Black’
Last seen in 2011, the OG ‘Purple/Black’ of the updated (and much better) Saga II was made famous in 1994 by Jason Mews in the cult Kevin Smith film Clerks. Deemed by footwear nerds as ASICS’ comfiest non-split tongued model, the Saga II is an understated masterpiece, but few colourways outside of collaborations do it as much justice as the beloved ‘Purple/Black’.
Nike Air Max 1 ‘Gold Leaf’
Collectors can often be accused of possessing a rose-tinted view of past models, especially when it comes to shape, materials and quality. However, some models rise above all of that sentimentality, and 2005’s Nike Air Max 1 Premium ‘Gold Leaf’ is one such model. Not to be confused by the 2016 pair that shares the same name, the first ‘Gold Leaf’ dressed in rich burgundy leather and was blessed with beautiful gold and blue detailing throughout. Again, price isn’t a massive issue with these, but finding a pair of these mythical beasts is almost impossible.