April 27, 2023

Last updated on May 23, 2023

The New Vintage: Pre-Aged Sneakers For You

Chloe Parr

Chloe is a Content Creator, Creative Strategist + Fashion Writer

Step back in time with these retro releases, including Nike, New Balance, and more.

Step back in time with these retro releases, including Nike, New Balance, and more.

Out with the old, in with the new–as the saying goes. But you might want to hold off on the spring cleaning and hold on to those aged pairs. Because the hottest sneaker trend right now is making the new look old again. 

Currently, vintage details and pre-aged designs are having a moment in the sneaker space. To say the 80s were an important decade for sneakers is an understatement. Sneakers at that moment in time not only defined basketball (among other sports) but also influenced sneakerhead culture as we know it today. From the Jordan 1 and Jordan 3 to the New Balance 550 and Reebok Club C, iconic sneakers of past decades are now being retroed with intentional aged details to recapture the stories behind the specific colorways. Jordan Brand, for example, created their “Reimagined” series as a way to allow both new and tenured sneakerheads to secure a piece of history with a retro release of a classic colorway. The packaging even has an aged look so your purchase actually feels like part of the original release era.

In our Spring Lookbook campaign, we incorporated this New Vintage wave in the looks, including picks from Air Jordan, New Balance, and more. Step back in time with these top five pre-aged vintage releases – including a dose of sneaker history along the way.

Jordan 1 Retro High OG Chicago Lost and Found

The Jordan 1 is one of the all-time greats of sneaker culture. So it’s no surprise that the first drop in the Reimagined series is none other than this iconic shoe. The Jordan 1 Chicago Lost and Found was inspired by the silhouette’s original colorway that debuted in 1985. The design captures the essence of the 80s, when shoppers could stumble upon Jordans in dusty stockrooms that have been lost, forgotten, and then found years later. Shoppers are introduced to the Lost and Found narrative on the box, with its mismatched lid and faded coloring. The aged aesthetic is also intentionally incorporated in the style of the shoe. When shoes are left too long in the box, they naturally flake, dry out, and yellow. The ankle collar is stylistically designed in a similar distressed fashion, with its cracked and faded leather material. While the rubber midsole is slightly yellowed, mimicking the aged-over-time look of an original pair. The best part about the Chicago Lost and Found is that not every pair will look exactly the same. The subtle differences in the details not only give this shoe a thrift-like touch, but really make it feel like you own a part of history.

Air Jordan 3 Retro White Cement Reimagined

Step back into 1988 with one of the most legendary sneakers of all time: the Jordan 3. The Air Jordan 3 White Cement Reimagined pays homage to Micahel Jordan’s historical performance at the NBA All-Star Slam Dunk Contest. While most people will remember this moment as the time Jordan had one of his most legendary dunks from the free-throw line, sneakerheads also won’t forget that the Jordan 3 was on full display for the world to see. The Reimaged iteration pays homage to this iconic moment, with an aged aesthetic and vintage feel. The elephant print on the shoe is updated to replicate the ‘88 original while the splashes of Sail and Fire Red keep the original colorway ablaze in the modern era. This style of sneaker also has a slight yellowing on the midsole, creating a worn-in look that makes it feel part of the iconic MJ days. The mix of the vintage details with the classic elephant print will cement this Jordan 3 as a new classic in your collection. 

New Balance 550 Aime Leon Dore White Grey

Originally released in 1989, the New Balance 550 is a timeless silhouette initially designed for basketball players. And while there is a lot of attention on the shoe now thanks to a specific collaboration (we’ll get to that soon), this sneaker actually started off on the wrong foot. As athletic footwear competitors started adding innovative performance technology in their basketball shoes and Nike dominated the low-cut design space with the Dunk Low, the New Balance 550 never fully took off and faded into obscurity. But now thanks to Aimé Leon Dore and its founder Teddy Santis’s love for 90s basketball culture, the New Balance 550 has been given a rebirth in recent years. The collaboration marked the first reissue of the 550 silhouette since 1989 and brought the shoe into the forefront of modern day fashion and sneaker culture. Aimé Leon Dore took the classic silhouette and added new vintage details, including a slightly yellowed midsole and colorways that focused on classic hues found in older iterations – including red, gray, green, and black. Safe to say, this vintage-inspired sneaker is more than just a basketball shoe; it’s also the epitome of streetwear’s influence on sneakers.

Nike Dunk Low Vintage Navy (Women’s)

Alongside the AJ1, the Dunk really owned the spotlight in 1985 when Nike tapped into the NCAA to market their coveted Nike Dunk High release with bright collegiate colorways as part of their “Be True To Your School” campaign. With its simplistic build, wide range of colorways, and style versatility, the Nike Dunk is still one of the most revered  and popular sneakers on the market right now. Nike continues to contribute to the pre-aged sneaker craze with their Dunk Lows in retro aesthetics. A top pick for summer is the Women’s Dunk Low in Vintage Navy. Inspired by the “Villanova” design from the original “Be True To Your School” series, this sneaker has a similar dark navy and white colorway but with updated, vintage-inspired details. Unlike the original, the Vintage Navy has a low-cut build with yellowed rubber midsoles. The combination of vintage meets modern gives this pre-aged sneaker its own type of edge, really defining what it means to be retro in 2023. 

Reebok Club C 85 Vintage

We’ve been talking a lot about basketball shoes, but it’s time to change courts. In the 80s, tennis also played an integral role in bringing some important sneakers to icon status. Back then, tennis footwear was all about anything that looked clean, sophisticated, and gave you enough traction on the court. And those qualifications are exactly what made Reebok stand out among other brands in the tennis space, as their sneaker designs had clean silhouettes and minimalist colorways. The Club C was released in 1985 and focused on bringing a durable sneaker to the club tennis crowd. The classic shoe has a reinforced garment leather toe cap, leather uppers, and an expanded arch support system with terry cloth lining for ultimate comfort. The sneaker quickly took off, transitioning from the tennis clubs to the streets and even skateparks. Skateboarders loved the style of the Club C for its low cut and grippy outsole. The Club C 85 Vintage is the perfect choice to tap into this eighties icon today. This New Vintage version of the shoe was released in 2016 to celebrate the shoe’s 30th anniversary. The 85 Vintage iteration no longer has “CLASSIC” written on the tongue and is built to look more like its original version from the 80s. This Reebok classic is a clean, comfortable, white sneaker choice that can be worn with just about anything – the perfect spring/summer shoe to add to the rotation.