The Future of Retro

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Nostalgia: it’s delicate, but potent…In Greek, nostalgia literally means the pain from an old wound. It’s a twinge in your heart far more power than memory alone. – Don Draper

There is nothing quite like the memory of owning your first pair of great shoes. You never forget the smell of cardboard, glue and rubber hitting your face the minute you open that box. The logo on the sides doesn’t matter. What you’re friends think of the shoe doesn’t matter. The amount the shoe cost doesn’t matter. No one can rob you of that singular feeling when you though that pair of shoes could make you fly.

In the sneaker community Retro releases consistently rank among the most sought after products every year. Companies have picked up on retroing some of their best silhouettes from years past knowing that if it sold well once it will most surely sell well again. For most companies it’s a win-win, you tap into a market that was already there and give the opportunity to those who missed out on the initial release.

Retro sneakers seem to take a generational approach to when a certain silhouette will get the retro treatment. Right now it seems like more and more silhouettes from the 90s are beginning to be retro’d, whether it be because the time frame is right or that kids who were growing up in the 90s are now adults and the market is there for them. Retro sneakers are a thing of the past, the present and certainly the future, so sit back and relax as we go into the future to see how Retros will evolve!


In any type of business, having a celebrity endorsement means a lot. We have seen countless celebrity endorsements throughout sneaker history from athletes to movie stars. We already know the retro treatment of athlete’s, but we haven’t seen a full blown adoption of retro sneakers made famous by musicians.

Will Reebok resurrect the S. Carter line? Or the G-Unit line? Will they ever release that Game shoe they had ready to go until 50 squashed it? Will we see Nike try to steal the heat from adidas and finally retro his Nike line? Does Pharrell start re-releasing the Ice Cream line? More importantly, is there a market for the rapper shoes of yore?

The quality of a sneaker will always be one of the most important factors to any footwear fan. When it comes to a retro sneaker people want it to feel and look as close to the original as possible. Materials have evolved over the years so it’s only natural for a retro design to come with better quality. However, is that what you want out of a retro?

Better material means that the shoe will look nicer and last longer, but with that also comes the dreaded price hike. We have seen Jordan models retro’d with higher quality and fly off shelves, but is that something that will only work for Jays? When picking up a retro are you looking for the exact replica or something that brings back a cherished memory that happens to be better quality then when it first came out? Good or bad, this is something that ever sneakerhead has to ponder when thinking of the future of retros. But just think of this, how dope would it be for a sneaker to get the retro treatment but be exactly the same quality and price point as it was when it was first introduced? That may never happen but a sneakerhead can dream.

Retro sneakers have come a long way. It was a general rule that only the most note-worth silhouettes would be retroed. Unfortunately as time has moved on, this has proven to not always be the case.

It’s a crazy thought, that every shoe ever made might one day be available again, but the popularity in retros is growing so rapidly that it might become a reality. Every generation has their own personal favorite pairs of sneakers, so companies know that there will be a market for every successful sneaker in their catalog to be reintroduced to a whole new generation.

Will we start to see companies scrape the bottom of their barrels to find retro-able silhouettes? If every sneaker were to be retro’d, will that be the end of retros? Our crystal ball says that this most likely will never happen, but don’t be too shocked if one day you see the LA Gears Retro Pack!

One of the main selling points of Jordan Brand retro product is its exclusivity. The Saturday morning line-ups, raffles, and site crashing mayhem have permeated a vast amount of sneaker culture.

However, what would happen if Jordan took some of its most sought after models – the Jordan 1 and Jordan III – and turned them into classic staples in the same vein as a Stan Smith or Chuck Taylor All Star. Can you imagine being able to walk into your favorite sneaker store and constantly pick up Chicago Is and Black/Cement IIIs? Both shoes are sneaker staples and have cemented themselves within the sneaker pantheon. Taking these shoes and making them widely available classic year round, might re-invent what we know retro product to be.

For a better explanation of this head over to Jacquees Slades YouTube channel: 

Believe it or not, we’re living in a golden age of footwear. Nike has re-energized its business with the popularity of Flyknit. Adidas’s partnership with Kanye West and the growing popularity of Boost Technology has thrust the Three Stripes back into the conversation. Even Under Armour has cut through the static thanks to the transcendent performance of Steph Curry and his sneaker line.

With so much new and innovative products hitting the shelves, maybe it’s time to re-examine the role of retro product. If brands are arguably making more exciting product do we need a retro release almost every week?

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