The Cult Movies of the 80s and 90s reveal real “gems” in terms of Retro Sneakers.
The protagonists of some of the most unforgettable scenes in American cinema wear shoes so iconic that they steal attention, distracting the audience from what is happening.
Here are what they are, random order:
Sneaker: Onitsuka Tiger Tai Chi LE
As many of you may know, every detail in Tarantino‘s movies is an homage or a reference to something else.
In this scene, the fierce “Bride” Uma Thurman wears the unforgettable yellow-and-black combat suit worn by Bruce Lee in the 1978 film “Chen’s Last Fight.” In Lee’s movie, Onitsuka Tiger Mexico 66 silhouettes completed the look; while Thurman opted for the slimmer, tapered Tai Chi LE model.
During the sequence of the massacre of the Crazy 88 and O-Ren Ishii, the bride shows the sole of the Onitsuka Tiger with the inscription “Fuck U”: yet another Tarantino homage to Lee’s cult film.
Sneaker: Nike Air Sky Force Hi
One of the most 80s cult movie ever, could only have an unforgettable Sneakers.
We are talking about the Nike Air Sky Force Hi worn by Data, full of “tracobets” to throw off the tremendous Fratelli gang. But these are not the only shoes featured in the film.
In fact, the film gives us a priceless cameo on 80s style and fashion: Brandon wears Nike Vandal Supremes, while Chunk sports a pair of Terra TCs.
Sneaker: Nike Air Mag
Perhaps one of the most iconic sneakers on the list, we are of course talking about the Nike Air Mag and Back to the Future 2.
The Air Mag takes center stage in Marty McFly‘s scene that lands in the year 2015.
Designed by Tinker Hatfield, the Mag features a sophisticated self-lacing system, luminous panels, and a design worthy of a shoe from the future.
In 2011, Nike and Hatfield designed and sold the sneakers in limited quantities and at auction; all proceeds were donated to the Michael J. Fox Foundation, for Parkinson‘s disease research.
Four years later, on the day of the trip to the “Future-that is, Oct. 21, 2015-Nike again unveiled a pair of shoes with automatic lacing, the Nike Adapt, definitely opening the market to this innovative technology.
Sneaker: Nike Cortez
Nike’s Cortez silhouette is one of the brand’s most iconic, but one cannot help but credit Forrest Gump with boosting its popularity.
Jenny gives Forrest the OG White/Varsity Royal/Varsity Red coloring, and immediately the protagonist starts running nonstop, in a marathon race up and down the country.
An unprecedented marketing move, no doubt about it: in this way Nike reminded in a “simple” way that the primary function of these shoes is – precisely – running
Sneaker: Air Jordan XI “Space Jam”
The Air Jordan XI Space Jam is still one of the brand’s most sought-after releases, produced at a time in history during which Mr. MJ was at the height of his career.
These Jordans debuted on the Eastern Conference court in 1995, when the Chicago Bulls took on the Orlando Magic in one of the most exciting NBA play ever.
The following year, Michael Jordan would wear them in the final scene of Space Jam, during the decisive game against Bill Murray, literally stealing attention from everything else
Sneaker: Air Jordan IV
Probably more than any other film on this list, the influence of ‘Do the Right Thing’ in sneaker culture is immeasurable.
It is an incredible film in itself, which also features a number of social and cultural references with almost anthropological value.
Undoubtedly, the most iconic moment belongs to Giancarlo Esposito’s Freak Out and his Air Jordan IVs, Spike Lee’s metaphor for Brooklyn gentrification.
In addition to these, impossible not to notice Radio Raheem’s Nike Air Revolution and Mookie’s Nike Air Trainer II “Medicine Ball,” and finally, pizzeria owner Sal’s white/navy Cortez.
It’s all part of the unmatched cameo that this film offers, thanks largely to Spike Lee’s obsession with sneakers and sneaker culture.
Sneaker: Reebok Alien Stomper
Alien could only have “Space” shoes. The Reebok Alien Stomper were designed by the brand for the filming of the movie, and they first appear in one of the scenes where the tension is very high: namely, when Ripley is inside the medical lab. Here, the protagonist puts on and takes off the sneakers, giving us a clear view of the Reebok logo, before the facehugger jumps on her.
The Sneakers were commercialized only a year after the film’s release, culminating in a big 30th anniversary launch in 2019
Sneaker: Nike Air Force II
This Tom Hanks’s movie will be remembered most for the scene at FAO Schwarz, Josh – a character played precisely by Hanks, diverges to play a giant piano.
In this scene, he wears Air Force IIs in a white/blue color scheme, while in other scene Nike Air Support makes an appearance.
Sneaker: Reebok Pump Omni Zone
Last but not least, a talk of comedy, “Robin Hood, a Man in Tights”
The characters Dave Chappelle and Cary Elwes-about to become knights (a parody of Mel Brooks’ Robin Hood) wear Reebok Pump Omni Zone: One of the two hastily “pump” the Reebok’s valve to acquire more power