The Nike Air Huarache ‘Scream Green’ 2021 Retro Hits All the Right Notes
The Nike Air Huarache is an all-time classic sneaker, and it’s come back in a big way so far this year for its 30th anniversary. Reissues of the legendary Stussy colabs – an essential sighting on the Sneaker Freaker Forum in the pre-social media days – heralded a strong return for the Huarache. Now, the latest ‘Scream Green’ retro, which first dropped in some regions in late February before a wider release last week, is a very welcome return after some absence from both feet and feeds.
This is a very good reissue, and here’s why...
A Brief History of ‘Scream Green’ Releases
There’s the 1991 debut, 1999 retro (which many Hua evangelists owned), a disappointing 2014 retro, and finally the 2021 that just dropped – and is quickly selling out. This year marks a return to form, and is the most accurate reproduction of the ’91 OG yet.
The Shape Police, a self-appointed taskforce recruited from the foremost sneaker forum posters, were quick to decry the seemingly endless releases of cliff-toed Huaraches that flooded the market circa 2013-15. Looking back, the 2013 retro of the ‘Resin’ OG colourway missed the mark! The long-awaited ‘Purple Punch’ came back in 2018 with some marked improvements to its toe shape, but there was still an unexplained bump right at the tip. At least the leather was plenty soft.
Now in 2021, Nike have more or less completely recut the Huarache pattern to Tinker Hatfield specs. Which has brought back a sharper toe cap, wider leather overlays, and possibly ever so slightly larger neoprene perforations. The heel is proportionally slightly too low, but few will lose sleep over that. Of course, the midsoles remain one of Nike’s most comfortable and cushioned designs.
Get The Strap
Most, if not all, vintage Air Huaraches possess an Achilles heel: the once-flexible rubber strap cradling the ankle eventually becomes brittle with time and often snaps at the counter joint after one stretch too many.
It looks like Nike have attempted to offset this issue by having the heel strap float further away off the Achilles tendon when on foot to minimise stretching. It’s too early to say whether this will resolve the age-old issue, but time will tell. Good on Nike for paying attention.
The Little Things
There is usually some seemingly insignificant minutia that goes into fine tuning a retro, but these small changes make huge differences. The forefoot grooves sculpted into that slab of marshmallow phylon are now deep and aggressively scalloped like the ’91 OG. It’s like the Sydney Opera House was carved right into the side! Staying on the landmark analogy, this is the Mount Rushmore of Air Huarache retros. And Nike haven’t filled in the underside of these grooves with rubber either!
Another little tidbit that might come in handy at pub trivia is the tongue label. There is a reason why this retro’s tongue is finished with a woven square label rather than the more common black rubber circle with the iconic Huarache H logo.
When the Air Huarache first launched in 1991, its debut colourways (‘Scream Green’, ‘Purple Punch’ and ‘Game Royal’) used this square label that read ‘Nike’, a Swoosh, and ‘Air Huarache’ underneath it. It wasn’t until the 1992 batch of Huaraches, which included the ‘Resin’, ‘Chestnut’ and ‘Slate’ LE editions, that the circular label was introduced. That same year, the Air Flight Huarache, Air Trainer Huarache and Air Tech Challenge Huarache were added to the range too, therefore requiring its own distinct logo. Therefore, this is also the most historically accurate retro of the ‘Scream Green’ OG. The more you know.
It was a pleasant, if not anachronistic, surprise when the Stussy colabs came packaged in the OG Nike Air red lid/grey striped shoebox. Thankfully that packaging wasn’t a one-time-only thing, as it was also used for the ‘Scream Green’ retro. All good here – only the fussiest collectors would probably want the box to be much narrower like the originals. No idea how people fit anything into a box barely wider than a handspan…
On the topic of boxes, it’ll be interesting to see whether the black shoebox bearing the ’92 Huarache logo returns for subsequent retros. Probably not, but here’s hoping.
Next for the Air Huarache
Surely the Air Huarache party isn’t over after the Stussy colab and ‘Scream Green’ retro. Nike milked the model pretty hard in the mid-2010s with dozens of colourways, a few collaborations, and even a brief appearance on NikeiD (now known as Nike By You). Given the non-stop stream of Air Jordan 1s and Dunks over in their basketball category, the Air Huarache probably has plenty of miles left.
More OG bringbacks would be nice, especially the handful of 1992 colourways that haven’t been retroed yet. Most prominent is the White/Black edition, the women’s ‘Aquatone’, plus the aforementioned leather and suede LE makeups. However, because there was a slight OG push a couple of years ago with the ‘Purple Punch’, ‘Game Royal’ and ‘Magenta’ reissues, Nike might choose to divert from the nostalgia trip. Fingers and toes crossed that isn’t the case.
In any case, well done to Nike for getting the Air Huarache ‘Scream Green’ 2021 retro right!
Read up on a brief history of the Nike Air Huarache here.