A Look Back: A Breakdown of the Best Running Sneakers From Fall ’97

A Look Back: A Breakdown of the Best Running Sneakers From Fall ’97

24 years ago, it seemed like every major sneaker brand was churning out a classic sneaker model. Most remember 1997 as an epic year for shoes like the Air Max 97 and the Adidas Equipment Salvation, but every brand was bringing a sleek new design or a new technology to the table. If you were a runner, how could you decide between all these incredible silhouettes? It was definitely a daunting challenge, which Eastbay was up for.

To make it easier, Eastbay broke down each running sneaker into one of four different categories:

Support: Shoes with special features that help runners who either overpronate (roll inward), have a low arch, are hard on shoes, need a straighter last, wear orthotics, need more midfoot and heel control, or need firmer midsoles.

Cushioned Support: Shoes with features that combine cushion and support for runners who slightly overpronate (rolling inward), have low to normal arch, are a heel striker or need some motion control yet want a cushioned ride.

Cushioned: Shoes with features that emphasize cushioning with some support, for runners who under pronate, supinate (roll outward), need curve last, high arch, are a heel, mid or forefoot striker, have rigid feet, need flexibility, or run efficiently.

Lightweight: Shoes designed with little support and good cushioning for runners who are efficient, train at faster speeds, have normal to rigid arch, are not susceptible to injury, or need flexibility.

On top of that, Eastbay also sold Trail Runners and Road Flats. Here’s a breakdown of the best sneakers from each category back in 1997:

Look Back Eastbay Catalog Supportive Running Sneakers Fall 1997

Support

adidas Lexicon Extra

The Adidas Lexicon was a beautifully-designed sneaker that doesn’t get enough love. Retailing at $99.99, it was on the higher end of the spectrum for Adidas runners. The Lexicon Extra featured Point of Deflection System technology in the heel, an EVA midsole, a full-length medial post, and Support Torsion system.

Saucony G.R.I.D. Procyon

Saucony’s most supportive runner was the G.R.I.D. Procyon, which featured their patented heel G.R.I.D. system for cushioning, along with a rearfoot medial support device. Retailing at just $74.99, it was a bargain for those needing that extra support without the added cost.

Nike Air Equilibrium

The Equilibrium was Nike’s state-of-the-art support sneaker for those with flat feet. You can’t see the medial side of this shoe in the picture, but the amount of support provided was off the charts. Featuring a Phylon midsole, the Equilibrium also had Zoom-Air units in the heel and forefoot with individually tuned pods. The BRS 1000 carbon rubber outsole featured a sculpted central guidance channel with a lateral Duralon forefoot.

New Balance 585

New Balance has always been loved by flat-footed runners, and the 585 was a reliable model for the brand. Made in the USA, the 585 featured a synthetic upper with 3M Scotchlite Reflective trim, a 4-density polyurethane midsole with a Rollbar Stability System. Runners got all this tech for under $100.

ASICS GEL-MC 126

ASICS was another trustworthy brand for flat-footed runners, and the best model back in ‘97 for them was the GEL-MC 126. Featuring a motion control system for heavy overpronators, the GEL-MC 126 was semi-curved and built on a EE last for wider feet. It had a compression-molded EVA midsole with extended Duomax, and ASICS GEL cushioning in the heel.

Look Back Eastbay Catalog Cushioned Support Running Sneakers Fall 1997

Cushioned Support

adidas Response

The adidas Response line was incredibly popular throughout the ‘90s. The sleek yet simple designs and affordable price points made them a great option for many runners. The Response featured exceptional cushioning with added stability, a dual density compression-molded EVA midsole, visible adiprene cushioning in the heel, and a new Torsion system for stability.

Saucony 3D G.R.I.D. Hurricane

This was my first ever running sneaker in high school, and they were a lot of fun to run in. The 3D G.R.I.D. had a sleek design and a ton of tech inside to match. The visible 3D G.R.I.D. system wrapped the midsole with Hytrel filaments that cushioned and absorbed shock, while adding stability and motion control. At $99.99, it was Saucony’s top-of-the-line running sneaker at the time.

ASICS GEL-Kayano

This was ASICS’ best shoe for high-mileage runners. With a DuoMax compression-molded EVA midsole, a mesh reinforced upper with synthetic leather, the Kayano featured a blown rubber forefoot with DuoSole insert and AHAR heel plug, along with forefoot P-Gel and heel T-Gel. Basically the Kayano had really great cushioning and a lot of Gel inside. At $124.99, it was one of the most expensive runners at the time, but well worth the price.

New Balance 999

Basically anyone who’s ever tried on the 999 falls in love with them. This was and still is one of New Balance’s most iconic silhouettes. Featuring a pigskin leather upper with 3M Scotchlite reflective trim, the 999 had ABZORB cushioning in the heel, along with ENCAP cushioning in the heel and C-CAP cushioning in the forefoot. Made in the USA, the 999 retailed for $125.

Nike Air Structure Triax

As for Nike, their top cushioned support model was the Air Structure Triax. For the runner who wanted a well-cushioned ride with added stability, the Structure Triax featured a Phylon midsole with two key stability features: a Footbridge stability device and a patented Heel Hinge feature. The Structure also had Nike Air in the heel and forefoot.

Look Back Eastbay Catalog Cushioned Running Sneakers Fall 1997

Cushioned

Nike Air Max 97

It doesn’t get much bigger than the Air Max 97. That fall, we were blessed with one of the biggest breakthroughs in sneaker cushioning of all time. The new anatomically designed dual-pressure Air-Sole unit with a lateral crash pad system cushioned and guided the foot like no sneaker ever had before. Designed by Christian Tresser, the unique upper was inspired both by water dropping into a pond, as well as the metallic finish of mountain bike components. Next year will be the 25th anniversary of this hallowed silhouette.

 Reebok DMX 2000 

Reebok was turning heads and pleasing feet of all shapes and sizes with their revolutionary DMX cushioning technology. With the Reebok DMX 2000, runners actually felt the air flow from their heel to their forefoot as they ran. This was an incredible breakthrough in technology, and transitioned well to Allen Iverson’s The Answer 1 basketball sneaker as well.

adidas Equipment Salvation

To compete with Air Max and DMX cushioning, adidas was launching their “Feet You Wear” technology, which allowed the runner’s feet to function more naturally. The semi-curved last, compression-molded EVA midsole and adiPRENE inserts in the Salvation provided plenty of cushioning and responsiveness for runners.

Puma Cell Speed

Puma featured their own state-of-the-art cushioning system with the Puma Cell Speed, which featured a PUMA CELL midsole with polyurethane frame. Touted as the ultimate training shoe for high-mileage runners that require a stable, well-cushioned ride, the Cell Speed was a somewhat niche running sneaker. CELL technology was similar to Reebok’s Hexalite technology, in that the cushioning was designed like a honeycomb pad filled with air.

Fila Silva Trainer

Another very niche runner was the Fila Silva Trainer, which provided outstanding cushioning for high-mileage training. The Silva Trainer featured a Filabuck and Ripstop nylon upper, and a compression-molded EVA midsole with 2A technology in the heel and forefoot. Fila’s 2A technology was very similar to Nike Air in the fact that it featured separate “pods” of air to provide cushioning to the foot.

Look Back Eastbay Catalog Lightweight Running Sneakers Fall 1997

Lightweight

Nike Air Zoom Spiridon

The ultimate shoe for a fast, responsive ride. Featured in the “It’s OK to be fast” ad campaign with sprinter Michael Johnson, the Spiridon was another revolutionary sneaker because of its full-length running specific Zoom-Air cushioning. The Spiridon was one of the first running sneakers to feature Zoom Air, and it would set the stage for the many more iconic running sneakers for decades to come.

Nike Air Max Light III

A responsive, lightweight, low-profile, fast-paced trainer! The Air Max Light III has yet to retro, which is a shame because it was ahead of its time as well. Not only was there a dual-pressure visible Air-Sole unit in the heel, there was also Zoom Air in the forefoot. This was one of the very first sneakers to feature both Air Max cushioning AND Zoom Air in the same sneaker, and definitely doesn’t get enough love from sneakerheads.

Reebok Electrolyte

A sneaker that most have forgotten about by now, the Electrolyte was Reebok’s take on the fast-paced, lightweight running sneaker. The Electrolyte featured 3D UltraLite cushioning, which combined the outsole and midsole into one injection-molded unit. This resulted in lighter weight and greater flexibility, along with an enhanced road feel. Reebok boasted that the 3D UltraLite reduced shoe weight by up to 10%. The Electrolyte was a feathery 9.8 ounces.

Saucony 3D-G.R.I.D. B-Gone

Saucony really made some bold sneakers back in the ‘90s – the B-Gone was a flashy lightweight trainer for fast-paced workouts or races. Featuring a dual density Maxlite EVA midsole with a visible heel 3D G.R.I.D. system, the B-Gone is another Saucony model that deserves a proper retro release at this point.

Look Back Eastbay Catalog Road Flats Running Sneakers Fall 1997

Road Flats

Nike Air Rift

Nike was dropping some ridiculous models, even in the road flat category back in ‘97. One of the most outlandish was the Air Rift, which featured a minimalistic upper and split toe. There was Nike Air in the heel, and they came with a special pair of split toe socks.

Nike Air Zoom Streak

Nike also created a low-profile racing flat for 5K to marathons called the Air Zoom Streak, which featured Zoom Air units in the heel and forefoot. There was a Air Streak Light version as well, which only weighed 6.6 ounces and was available from size 3 all the way up to size 15. This was an incredible value for such a lightweight, responsive racing flat.

ASICS GEL-Magic Racer

ASICS also made a technology-packed racer called the GEL-Magic. Described as a performance racing flat for all distances, the GEL-Magic featured a dual-density compression-molded EVA midsole with rearfoot HEXGEL. It also had a Magic Sole forefoot with AHAR heel plug.

Look Back Eastbay Catalog Trail Running Sneakers Fall 1997

Trail Runners

adidas Response Trail

The Response Trail is a line adidas could keep bringing back again and again, and loyal followers would never lose interest in them. The mist/lake/slime colorway is just as fashionable now as it was back in 1997. The Response Trail was a versatile training shoe that was great for on and off-road use. It featured synthetic leather and a water-resistant mesh upper, along with adiPrene cushioning in the heel. At $79.99, it was a great value for a comfortable, fashionable trail shoe.

Nike Air Terra Sertig

The Terra Sertig was Nike’s top-of-the-line trail shoe back in ‘97. The Sertig had all the bells and whistles, including a very low profile Phylon midsole with heel and forefoot Zoom Air units. Its three-quarter height was designed for the demands of alpine running. There was a protective fabric web between the midsole, and a bi-directional waffle outsole that protected against stone bruises.

Nike Air Terra Albis

Basically a low-cut version of the Sertig, the Albis was also a low-profile trail shoe with exceptional cushioning. The Albis featured most of the same tech as the Sertig, except it had an Air Sole in the heel instead of Zoom Air. Regardless, it was a gorgeous, aggressive design that showed how serious Nike was about trail runners.

Nike Air Humara

Back in the late ‘90s, the Humara line enjoyed a very popular run. This particular Humara boasted a ton of tech, including a heel Air Sole unit and a Zoom Air unit in the forefoot. It was the ultimate low-profile cushioned trail shoe, with a lightweight breathable mesh upper and non-absorbent synthetic leather overlays. The traction was excellent as well, with a rubberized, abrasion-resistant tip and heel overlay.

Drew Hammell A Look Back

Drew is the creator of @nikestories on Instagram. Growing up in the ’90s, Drew loved playing soccer, basketball, tennis, and even dabbled in cross country running. He ended up focusing on tennis in high school and helped lead his team to multiple state titles. His favorite athletes growing up include Michael Jordan, Allen Iverson, Andre Agassi, and Ken Griffey, Jr. He was smart enough to save all his old Eastbay catalogs from the ’90s and loves sharing them with the sneaker community. Follow him at @nikestories or read more of his work here.

A Look Back: Fall Sports ’99

A Look Back: Fall Sports ’99

“We’ve got what’s hot for fall,” read the caption on the front cover of the August 1999 Eastbay catalog. Looking back, that was actually a massive understatement. It was always sad to realize that school was just around the corner, but it was also exciting because fall sports were here. For the pros, MLB playoff races were heating up, and the NFL season was kicking off. Plus, college football was starting as well. For us kids, we were perusing the pages for our Back to School pair of sneakers, apparel, and soccer or football cleats. There were way too many kicks to choose from, as the August ‘99 Eastbay catalog was packed with a ton of new styles for the fall. Plus, they had their website up and running with over 17,000 products online. Here’s a look back at some of the classic kicks from that season.

A Look Back Eastbay Catalog Fall '99 Trail Running

Trail Running

This particular Eastbay issue kicked right off with Trail Running, which was a little random for them. Typically we saw Basketball, Running or Football first. I was totally fine with the change, as all the big brands were cranking out some dope trail runners. adidas was leading the charge with the Response Trail and Incision. They both featured adiPRENE cushioning in the heel and forefoot. Nike was close behind with some great trail runners as well, including the all new Air Terra Goatek. The Goatek had a super-grippy outsole that worked like a goat’s hoof. If Goatek, aka G-Tek sounds familiar, it’s because rapper Drake’s new sneaker also uses this OG technology. And don’t forget about the New Balance 802 – back when I worked at Foot Locker in high school, I remember selling a ton of these.

A Look Back Eastbay Catalog Fall Sports '99 Running

Running

Nike was churning out crazy technological cushioning advances, including visible Zoom Air in the Air Zoom Citizen, a heel Tuned Air unit in the Air Max Plus, and a full-length Tuned Air unit in the Air Tuned Max. The Tuned Max and Air Max Plus have retroed, but we’re still waiting patiently for the return of the Citizen. The Air Zoom Citizen was developed by Rick Lower, who had some challenges designing it with the new visible Zoom Air cushioning. Over time, it has become a cult favorite, however. adidas was dropping plenty of popular runners as well, including the Response, Ozweego, Supernova, Equipment Ride, and Universal. All had super-clean looks with great adiPRENE cushioning inside.

Look Back Eastbay Catalog Fall Sports '99 Basketball

Basketball

This was back when Jordan Brand was becoming its own entity apart from Nike. Jordan Brand had their own section in Eastbay, leading off the basketball part of the catalog. There was plenty of apparel, and some shoes that might look familiar including the Air Jordan XIV Low, the 3 Percent (MJ’s body fat percentage at the time), the Trunner, and the Quick 6 (for Eddie Jones). Interestingly, that UNC-themed AJ XIV was a sample pair – the pair that released to the public had perforations on the upper instead of the smooth leather. The Nike Basketball pages were full of unique silhouettes, including the debut of the Air Flightposite (dropped 8/18/1999), the Vroomlicious, the Air Tuned Uptempo, and the Air Pippen III. Allen Iverson’s Reebok Questions were still going strong 3 years after they originally dropped, with low-cut versions taking off for the warmer months.

Look Back Eastbay Catalog Fall Sports '99 Tennis

Tennis

Some great tennis models were available, including Andre Agassi’s Air Zoom Beyond (designed by Wilson Smith) and Air Court Motion (designed by Peter Hudson). The Air Zoom Sterling for women also featured visible Zoom Air like the Beyond. The GTS Lo, which stands for “Great Tennis Shoe” as the story goes, was a very popular casual model. I personally owned both the Air Zoom Beyond to play in for matches, and the Air Duration II to practice in.

Look Back Eastbay Catalog Fall Sports '99 Soccer

Soccer

Nike was putting out some incredibly high-quality soccer boots, including the Mercurial R9, which was designed for Brazilian football superstar Ronaldo. There was also a women’s version called the Air Zoom M9, which was made for American women’s star Mia Hamm. Along with the Mercurial and M9, there was also the Air Rio Zoom, which featured a full-length Zoom Air sockliner. adidas was obviously no slouch in the football department, and dropped the Equipment Predator Accelerator for a whopping $164.99. adidas also made the Equipment Maneeta – the first Predator shoe designed for women.

Look Back Eastbay Catalog Fall Sports '99 Training

Sport Training

The Cross Training section was packed with trainers that don’t get enough love, including the Total Air Griffey Max, the Air Max 120, and the Air 90. This was also when the Air Sunder Max was making big waves. Nike trainers in general were getting very bright and colorful, and utilized all sorts of cushioning, from Zoom Air, to Tuned Air, to Air Max.

Look Back Eastbay Catalog Fall Sports '99 Football

Football

Think Eastbay shoppers loved football? This issue had 9 pages dedicated just to the cleats alone. That’s not even counting additional pages featuring plenty more football equipment and jerseys. Stars like Keyshawn Johnson, Peyton Manning, Chris Slade, Howard Griffeth, Antonio Freeman, Doug Flutie, Barry Sanders, John Randle all made cameo appearances on those pages. Cleats like the Air Zoom Apocalypse, Pro Shark Stove, and Reebok Pro Shroud gave players of all ages and levels great options to choose from.

Want to see more of Drew’s classic Eastbay catalog collection? Make sure you check out all of his Look Back stories.

Drew Hammell A Look Back

Drew is the creator of @nikestories on Instagram. Growing up in the ’90s, Drew loved playing soccer, basketball, tennis, and even dabbled in cross country running. He ended up focusing on tennis in high school and helped lead his team to multiple state titles. His favorite athletes growing up include Michael Jordan, Allen Iverson, Andre Agassi, and Ken Griffey, Jr. He was smart enough to save all his old Eastbay catalogs from the ’90s and loves sharing them with the sneaker community. Follow him at @nikestories or read more of his work here.

Cold-Weather Gear

Cold-Weather Gear

For many fall sports athletes, the intensity is building as you enter the most important part of the season. But as you prepare for your most high-pressure games, meets, or matches, you’re going to face a different kind of challenge: cold weather. As fall turns into winter, training outdoors gets increasingly more difficult. But don’t worry, we’ve done the heavy lifting and researched all the top products to bring you our top recommendations of cold-weather training gear designed to withstand anything Mother Nature throws your way. So no matter what sport you’re training for this winter, you can keep warm outdoors with the right cold-weather gear.

Nike Aerolayer

Nike Aerolayer is another essential piece of training gear, especially when the rain, sleet, and foggy mist come around. Water-repellent and warm, Aerolayer technology puts a layer of lightweight polyester insulation in between a water-resistant shell and inner lining to provide warmth without feeling too bulky to move. And precisely cut holes in the insulation layer allow heat to escape ensuring you don’t get too hot or too cold while you train.

A man and woman, wearing Nike gear, stretch before their run on wet pavement with fallen leaves on the ground.
Male model wearing: Nike Aerolayer Vest.

Nike Shield

If you’re fighting both wind and rain, Nike Shield is the winning technology you need to shield you from the elements. The fabric, which remains soft on the inside, is weather-resistant against wind and water, so that even in the meanest storms, you can keep going strong.

Man, outfitted in Nike gear, running outdoors with trees in the background and fallen leaves on the path.
Model wearing: Nike Wild Run Aerolayer Vest and Nike Air Zoom Pegasus 36 Shield.

Nike AeroShield

Nike AeroShield provides protection against wind and rain without sacrificing breathability. With sealed seams to create waterproof clothing and vents to promote airflow, you can stay dry and comfortable while fighting the elements.

Woman and man, outfitted in Nike gear, running on an outdoors trail with fallen leaves around them.
Female model wearing: Nike Thermasphere Element Hood 2.0 and Nike Zonal AeroShield HD Jacket.
Male model wearing: Nike Therma Sphere Element 1/2-Zip Top 3.0, Nike Shield Warm Jacket, and Nike Air Zoom Pegasus 36 Shield.

Nike Therma

Nike Therma is thicker to keep you up and running through the windy winter months. Ideal for layering, it’s soft and comfortable while remaining lightweight and breathable. But the true technology in Nike Therma is that certain threads in the fabric trap the heat emitted by your body providing lasting warmth while the garment construction allows air flow in and out to prevent your body from overheating.

Woman doing lunges on pavement outside while wearing Under Armour ColdGear tights and jacket.
Model wearing: Under Armour ColdGear Armour Colorblock 1/2-Zip and Under Armour ColdGear Armour Tights.

Under Armour ColdGear

For optimal mobility during sports, Under Armour ColdGear is made from a lightweight fabric that allows you to stay warm without wearing bulky layers. The material is designed to adapt to the cold by trapping your body heat and quickly wicking away sweat so you stay dry and avoid chaffing and chills from damp clothing.

Under Armour Armour Fleece®

Light enough to wear under another layer or by itself (depending on how low the mercury drops), Armour Fleece® provides warmth and comfort during winter. The inside of the fabric is brushed for ultimate softness and layered to trap your body heat.

Man stretching outdoors on pavement while wearing black Under Armour Fleece® pants.
Model wearing: Under Armour CG Armour Compression Fitted Mock and Under Armour Armour Fleece Jogger Pants.

So those are our top picks for cold-weather gear to help you conquer outdoor training this season. Whether you’re training for football, soccer or cross country, make sure you grab the clothing you need to stay ahead of your peers. And if you’re looking for a more casual but equally warm outfit, check out our cold weather style guide for this year’s best winter wear.

5 Tips To Help You Dominate Two-A-Days

5 Tips To Help You Dominate Two-A-Days

Two A Days 2

As fall sports practices begin to pick up in August, so do the temperatures and workouts. Not only are you practicing once a day for your sport, but you are probably pushing through two-a-days.

To help you excel during your summer practices for football, soccer, volleyball, and more, we talked with Scott Gadeken, head of physical conditioning at IMG Academy for some tips!

Step 1: HYDRATION! HYDRATION! HYDRATION!

According to Gadeken, whether it’s with Gatorade or water, hydrating throughout the day is key to keep your body functioning properly during practice.

“Hydrate early and often. Don’t wait until you get thirsty, because by then it’s too late,” he said. “Be sure you are drinking throughout the day and mixing it up. It doesn’t always have to be water, you can mix it up and drink Gatorade to get your electrolytes as well.”

Step 2: Eat Your Breakfast

At the top of Gadeken’s list nutrition-wise is making sure you are getting a good breakfast before your workout, otherwise you will be going to practice without any fuel or energy in your body.

“If you haven’t eaten since dinner the night before and don’t eat until lunch, you are looking at a 15-hour window since you last had a meal,” Gadeken said. “And it’s really hard to fuel yourself, prepare, and have a good practice, mentally or physically, with low blood sugar and little energy.”

Step 3: Stick To A Training Program All Summer

Starting in May and up until August, make sure to follow your coaches’ or trainers’ summer programs in order to be in the best possible shape for the season.

“Start early in the summer and train hard so when practice rolls around, you are in shape and can devote your time to focusing on learning plays and different schemes,” Gadeken said.

Step 4: Build Up Bonds Early With Teammates

Use this time early in the season to build relationships with teammates. This will pay off as you get into the season.

Two A Days 1

“You’re building up bonds with teammates early in the summer. You’re working out, you’re sweating, you’re struggling, you’re training, and you’re forming those relationships and getting in extra work with these teammates,” Gadeken said. “Two-a-days are the culmination of all of the hard work you put in and when you really put it all together.

Step 5: Get To Bed Early And Work In Naps Between Practices

If your practice schedule gives you enough time in between, definitely think about napping. The more rest the better.

“Get plenty of sleep at night and take naps as well,” Gadeken said. “Don’t stay up on your phone or I-Pad. Get to bed early and get as much rest as possible.”

No matter what sport you play, two-a-days are a great way to get yourself prepared physically and mentally for the season ahead. Keep hydrated, eat well, and work hard. That is your recipe to success as fall sports are back!

Fall Sports 2016: Conquer Your Can’t

Fall Sports 2016: Conquer Your Can’t

As you prep for fall sports, let’s gain inspiration from some of the best athletes on the planet: the J.J. Watts, Ronaldos, and Jordan Larsons of the world. What separates these truly dominant players from their other really good opponents? Usually, they are the fastest, strongest, smartest, and most prepared, but look a little closer and you’ll find one particular trait that they all have in common: an unparalleled drive.

Eastbay Fall 2016

The best of the best are never satisfied. They have an insatiable need to push their sport and their position to even greater heights. What gives them this fuel, this unbelievable motivation? Their doubters do. Someone in their past told them that they “can’t” make it. Whether it’s a scout saying that they’re too small or a coach saying they won’t make it to the pros, these moments are burned into the back of these players’ brains. Every extra set, or mile, or ounce given during practice and on game day is to prove those doubters wrong.

Eastbay Fall 2016

So with your own season rapidly approaching, we want to know how you are Conquering Your Can’t. What are you overcoming as you take your own steps towards greatness? Watch our video and let us know on Twitter, Instagram, or in the comments using #SayICant.