As one of the top ten buzzwords in the sneaker community, “Retro” has become a widely recognized term. Introduced by Jordan Brand, it has significantly influenced various other brands.
Although this strategy is often seen as a means for sporting goods companies to generate profits, many individuals are still willing to invest in it. This raises the question: What features in a shoe make people willing to splurge?
As my first pair of replica sneakers, the AJ4+ not only enhances my appearance but also captures attention when I wear them.
In an era when the internet was not yet developed, accessing sneaker information was limited to scarce TV clips and magazines from Hong Kong and Taiwan. It was a completely different era for sneakers compared to today. New shoe releases were flourishing, and the concept of retro releases was not yet prevalent.
Back in 2000, few people could have predicted that Retro would become one of the dominant forces in the sneaker industry.
I can vividly recall all the replica shoes from that time – the AJ4, AJ5, and AJ6. Of course, I also had the first, second, and third generations, although they were stored away in my closet. It can be said that before 2000, Air Jordan was at the forefront of retro releases. However, the current market thrives on retro reissues, emphasizing the importance of planning ahead.
What are the qualifications for replicas?
As one of the most prominent aspects of the global sneaker culture in the 21st century, replicas are an inevitable topic. So, what criteria are used to select shoes for reissues? What factors determine the choice of replica shoes targets among various brands?
Air Jordan XI is a prime example of a shoe gaining increasing popularity.
First and foremost, popularity is a crucial factor. Reissues are driven by business and profit-making motives. Without popularity, the emotional connection to a particular shoe will not resonate with consumers. Nowadays, several popular sneakers are predominantly replica shoes, and their popularity only continues to grow.
Early Air Jordan replicas can be seen as persuasive artifacts and represent the essence of cultural heritage.
In terms of heritage, Air Jordan is the most notable example. Since the reissue of the first, second, and third generations in 1994, this legendary series has pioneered the reissue trend. After all, it has the richest and most legendary history in the realm of footwear. “Pulling a cart,” referring to reissues and retros, has become a daily occurrence.
For most people, collecting a complete set of authentic Air Jordans was once a small goal for everyone.
Around 2003, when Jordan retired for the second time, many people around me were determined to collect a complete set of authentic Air Jordans. At that time, people recognized the value of replicas. Not to mention the affordability in the first year, finding the right pair in terms of colorway or shoe size, especially for the early generations like the 9th, posed significant challenges. It was incredibly difficult to assemble a complete set without replicas.
Two unpopular replicas became highly anticipated in 2003 – the French Blue AJ7 and the Black Silver AJ8. These two reissues stimulated a surge of “AJ full-collection” enthusiasts. So, why are unpopular shoes reissued?
Football shoes, which are not popular in China, enjoy good popularity in the United States. Therefore, those pairs of star models serve as typical examples of reissues.
Unpopularity might be relative to our perspective. The United States, as the main battleground for major sports brands, has a strong rugby culture. Therefore, we see many related replica shoes locally. Due to the lack of such cultural influence in China, they naturally appear less popular.
Are signature shoes easier to replica?
In theory, yes. Signature shoes are generally more popular than regular sneakers. Notably, replicas of Jordan, LeBron, Kobe, and other signature shoes remain highly sought-after in the current market. However, Nike, being well-versed in the replica industry, takes its time to extract their value. Proper pacing and execution contribute significantly to their popularity.
Two talented high school students faced difficulties in replicating their previous signature shoes after switching shoe brands.
Nevertheless, signature shoes come with their own challenges. It is not an easy task to reproduce signature shoes for athletes who have switched brands.
We have witnessed many signature shoes being reissued beyond recognition, such as Adidas’ Kobe Bryant series and Nike’s Kevin Garnett series. These replicas not only lack the star logo but also undergo modifications to their core technologies. Therefore, it is essential not to overlook the original signature shoes, as authentic-style reissues are a rarity.
Who qualifies as an evergreen model for reissues?
Besides the indispensable reissue of replica Air Jordans, what other replicas can be considered evergreen models?
The Nike Air Zoom Flight Five, once popular in Japan, immediately comes to mind for those who are a bit older. This brings up another topic – do regional replicas exist?
In addition to the aforementioned American football shoes, the running shoe culture in Japan and South Korea has also fostered a multitude of reissued and retro shoes. The Air Max 95 serves as a prime example.
The Nike Air Max Plus remains a perpetual favorite for replicas abroad.
There are also running shoes that may receive less attention in China but enjoy popularity in Europe, America, and even countries like Australia and New Zealand, where sneaker culture thrives. One such example is the Nike Air Max Plus.
What other treasures are awaiting reissue?
Can you guess who will be the first to reissue the second-generation boots of Iverson and James?
When it comes to replicas, most people immediately think of those shoes that lack certain algebraic signatures in their collections. Examples include the Reebok Answer II, which has not been reissued for over 20 years, or the highly acclaimed Nike Zoom LeBron II, which has yet to make a comeback. Are the second-generation signature shoes avoiding reissues altogether?
While hope may be limited, we still hold onto the possibility that these two brands can bring us unexpected joy amid the resurgence of basketball shoes.
Even if we cannot turn back time, it is always gratifying to have memories. Those who share the same passion are welcome to follow the public account “Sparrow Trendy Shoes” and enjoy the world of trendy shoes together!