The Forgotten Sneaker Anniversaries of 2020
2020 has marked some significant sneaker anniversaries. Iconic models have celebrated big birthdays with remastered retros – most notably the Nike Air Max 90 and ASICS GEL-Lyte III both turning 30. While others have marked the occasion by reissuing coveted colourways, like the Air Presto ‘Australia’ that only took 20 years to return to the scene. Among all these footwear festivities and returns of fan favourites, there have been some glaring absentees from the party. Here’s a friendly Sneaker Freaker reminder about the forgotten pairs that deserve another spin in the retro cycle, or those that simply should be remembered.
Nike Air Footscape – 25th Anniversary
The Nike Air Footscape quietly turned 25 this year, and remains perennially underrated. It introduced some radical concepts upon its 1995 debut, namely the off-centre lacing system and advanced ergonomic fit pioneered by Toren (aka Tory) Orzeck. Paul McCartney was a fan! Like its Air Rift cousin, also from the class of ’95, the Footscape underwent numerous streetwear-ready modifications over the years, such as the Footscape NM, Footscape Magista, and Woven Chukka, among others. Even the recent ACG Moc 3.0 references plenty of Footscape inspo. However, #properfootscapes (a hashtag coined by FS collector krazeefox) haven’t been part of the Swoosh’s offering since the Nike Sportswear days – which was over a decade ago! No hybrids, colabs, nor hype needed. Please, just bring back the ‘Mystic Teal’ OG.
PUMA Mostro – 21st Anniversary
When the PUMA Mostro debuted in 1999, it seriously looked like it was something from the distant future. Now, at 21 years old, the Mostro has definitely come of age, and slots right in with the other avant-garde designs on the market. It’s got all the hallmarks of a conceptual sneaker: off-centre zig-zag elastic closure (thanks, Footscape!), ultra low profile stance, and that distinctly wavy, dimpled outsole. BITD, Mostros blew up worldwide after Madonna was spotted repping them during the 2001 Drowned world tour. And Scarlett Johansson was kitted with a perforated white pair (a childhood Grail for your author) in 2005 film The Island. PUMA did reissue the Mostro in early 2017 amid peak ‘Dad Shoe’ era, but, like the first time it launched, they were perhaps a little too ahead of the curve.
Reebok Ventilator – 30th Anniversary
The 30th anniversaries of the AM90 and GL3 have already been mentioned, but don’t forget about the Reebok Ventilator! Another entry from 1990, it was designed as a lightweight and highly breathable runner (hence the name), and packed full of their new-at-the-time Hexalite cushioning. Its hot neon accents definitely put it toe-to-toe with its brightly coloured competitors! Over the years, the Ventilator has been the model for some of Reebok’s rarest releases, like the Lyeden/Takatoshi Akutagawa colabs in 2006. The Vector brand properly celebrated the Ventilator’s 25th birthday in 2015 with retros of OG colourways, and a healthy number of collaborations. But five years on, Reebok have favoured the Question, Club C, and Pump lines in 2020. It’s time to breathe new life into the Ventilator!
ASICS GEL-Kayano (2) – 25th Anniversary
The ASICS GEL-Kayano line is now in its 27th generation, with an annual update to the flagship runner stretching all the way back to 1993. In 1995, the second edition, known simply as the GEL-Kayano (or TN500), dropped the debut model’s ‘Trainer’ suffix and was a fairly incremental tweak. Where it lacks in revolutionary tech, its killer colour combo of teal and purple is distinctly mid-90s ASICS. That neoprene tongue also looks mega plush! And while the Japanese running brand has flirted closely with adjacent models like the GEL-Kayano 5 and GEL-Nandi in recent times, they definitely have it in them to dig a little bit deeper into their 90s archive.
Air Jordan 2010 – 10th Anniversary
The flagship Air Jordan line went through a bit of a design and hype lull during the late-2000s and early-2010s, especially during the era Nike/JB dropped the chronological nomenclature after the Air Jordan 23. The Air Jordan 2010 (aka AJ25) happened to fall on the 25th anniversary of the Nike-Michael Jordan partnership (and also 23 years of Jordan Brand) in 2010, but it hasn’t aged particularly well, despite its well-intentioned performance specs. The design duo of Tinker Hatfield and Mark Parker made the peculiar decision to include a see-through midfoot window – something they said ‘allow[ed] the players to only see what he [MJ] wanted them to see on the court’. Okay. Only five colourways of the AJ2010 were released, and there hasn’t been a single word of a retro since then. An example of a truly forgotten sneaker anniversary.
There are still a couple of months left in 2020, so brands could still be harbouring a few surprises for sneakerheads with rosy nostalgia shades firmly glued on. If not, the above pairs would also be welcomed as a belated release in 2021. Except maybe the AJ2010.
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