The Best Sneaker Retros of 2022 (So Far)
Each year brings the promise of new shoe releases, but some sneakerheads eagerly await the inevitable return of some old gold. Now with at least 50 years of greatest hits to bring back, the criteria for a good reissue is much more stringent than it was in the past. As such, here are some of the finest sneaker retros in 2022 so far, that can go pound for pound with their OG ancestors.
adidas Superstar 82
Somebody once said, ‘insanity is doing the same thing over and over again and expecting a different result.’ With the numerous variations of adidas Superstar retros over the years getting gradually better, the Three Stripes – more specifically, designer Chris Law – proved they were of sound mind by absolutely nailing the Superstar 82. With an excruciating eye for detail required to replicate the 1980s Made In France Shelltoes, every element was considered. This included the obvious, such as tweaked panel proportions, to minutiae like finding the exact tool to recreate the midsole rubber texture from 40 years ago. Salute!
Nike Air Force 1 Mid ‘Chocolate’
With the Nike Air Force 1’s 40th anniversary in ‘Mid’ swing, some sweet surprises have been served – namely the ‘Chocolate’ edition from circa 1998. Given that older AF-1s are more or less wearable (if kept properly), the retros generally face pretty stiff competition, but this particular pair has pleased all but the fussiest heads. The high volume of product in the sneakersphere sometimes means pairs are usually only experienced through a screen, but firsthand four-sense engagement (the shoes were not tasted) confirms the ‘Chocolate’ is sweet as! Its only minor fault is the box is of a different vintage to OG, but who cares!
ASICS GEL-Nimbus 9
The above entries are from the last millennium, so let’s visit something a little more contemporary. 2007’s ASICS GEL-Nimbus 9 is the latest in Y2K era bringbacks from the Japanese brand, vindicating the serious return of other techy Tiger Striped runners like the GEL-Kayano 14. That model was reissued with proper respect paid to making an accurate product, and the Nimbus has benefited from the same approach. The white, silver and blue synthetic/mesh combo is OG AF, and if it was not for the crispy, box-fresh state of 2022 editions, they easily look exactly the same as pairs from 15 years prior.
New Balance 730
A brief departure to the 2000s sees the calendar flipped right back to circa 1982, the year New Balance both opened a manufacturing hub in Flimby, UK and introduced the 730. Given that happened exactly 40 years ago, it’s serendipitous that this milestone and model has been celebrated. Well, not really – but what hasn’t fallen to chance is NB’s exacting reproduction of the burgundy banger. That beautiful, tapering toe rake! The perfectly chamfered wedge midsole! The list of features goes on, but it would be remiss for the brand to not have a retro that hasn’t hit the mark this year.
Having achieved a pretty solid track record with terrace casual reissues and retro runners, it was about time adidas took on the challenge of bringing back something a little different. And they delivered that with the Adimatic, a cult model from their mid-1990s skate catalogue. Cult is definitely the way to describe them: before this year’s retro, just about every single OG pair has ended up in Japanese collectors’ hands. And that’s the case for the 2022 edition too; this Far East connection was officially acknowledged with an atmos SMU that could’ve existed back in the day. In any case, the green and white retro is still plenty chunky and heaps funky.
Nike Air Trainer 1 ‘Chlorophyll’
You cannot be serious if the Nike Air Trainer 1 ‘Chlorophyll’ doesn’t get a ring in here. Yes, its famous wearer John McEnroe wasn’t wearing them during his infamous outburst (that was six years before the AT1 debuted), but the model has transcended its tennis and cross training origins to a wider audience in recent years. Specifically on this OG colourway, 2022’s retro has redeemed the shortcomings of previous editions, anecdotally receiving the tick of approval from many ardent fans who followed the shoe since the start – such as Mike Packer.