Manifesting the Next Cult Retro Sneakers

From 1986’s Nike Convention to the 1999 New Balance 1000, a selection of forgotten and disregarded silhouettes worthy of resurrection.

WRITER: Drew Hammell

Over the last 10 years, the sneaker world has ballooned with weekly releases of retro silhouettes, one single shoe imagined and reimagined in a plethora of colorways. The retro revolution took off in the mid-to-late ’90s when Nike began bringing back classic models like the Air Jordan 1, 2 and 3 for the first time. Back then, few people were interested in these remakes. In fact, the Air Jordan 2 sat on shelves and was deeply discounted for well over a year when the first retro released in 1995. 

Since the early 2000s, however, the retro market has exploded. Today, people of all ages are chasing after every Air Jordan 11, Nike Dunk, New Balance 550 and adidas Samba they can get their hands on. Some like the OG colorways, while others prefer new color stories. Which begs the question: why don’t brands revisit previously untapped models from their archives, introducing the silhouette to a new generation and giving older fans the chance to quench their nostalgia with a reissue of a childhood favorite?

As retro mania continues to inform the direction of the sneaker landscape, footwear historian, writer and collector Drew Hammell delves into the archives of Nike, adidas and New Balance, uncovering forgotten and disregarded silhouettes worthy of resurrection.