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.

Galentine’s Day: Shoes Make the Woman

Galentine’s Day: Shoes Make the Woman

February is known as the month of love since the romantic holiday, Valentine’s Day, is on the 14th, but the day before, Feb. 13, is just as important. In 2010, it was unofficially declared as Galentine’s Day, a day to celebrate your closest girlfriends.

So, in the spirit of the holiday, I’ve broken down the five popular personalities of every girlfriend group and paired them up with sneakers to match their style, because I’ve always been a believer that you can learn a lot about a person by the shoes on their feet.

Now, let’s get started…

The Mom Friend

Every group has one! And it’s like they say, if you’re not sure who the mom friend is, it’s probably you. You feel a special responsibility for your girlfriends and always want to make sure they’re happy and healthy. You’re the glue of the group, ensuring everyone is getting along and that drama doesn’t cause chaos. There’s nothing worse than seeing someone not having fun. You may get teased or faced with a sarcastic “oookay mooom” every now and then, but no matter how much they nag you, your kind heart is appreciated.

A FILA Disruptor II Premium sneaker in the Spanish Villa/Silver Peony/Dusty Pink colorway in front of a scribbled heart.

As the responsible mom friend, every action is carefully considered. You don’t make plans without checking with everyone in the group first, and you certainly don’t buy shoes without debating whether or not you really need them. Then, when you finally end up convincing yourself to buy a pair, they have to tick all the boxes: comfortable, functional, affordable. No matter how in fashion they are, you’re not shelling out money for a pair of thigh-high stiletto boots. Nah, instead try the FILA Disruptor II Premium. It’s a practical choice with comfort underfoot, an affordable price tag, and a chunky sole for durability. They’re the perfect casual sneaker for everyday wear!

The Wild Card

Aaah the risk-takers…you know who you are! You’re the one always pushing boundaries, and you have an appreciation for the dramatic. So, when the girls say they’re up for an exciting weekend, your mind immediately goes to over-the-top, action-packed activities. (Skydiving, anyone?) Sure, your spontaneous whims have caused you some trouble before, but that’s the fun of living life on the edge – you never know what’s going to happen!

A Nike Air Max Plus sneaker in the White/Hyper Pink/Black colorway in front of a scribbled heart.

The wild card is just as impulsive when it comes to sneaker shopping. Late nights and open web browsers are not your friend because chances are, if you “Add to Cart,” you’ll end up buying it before the night’s over. You may not even know you want something until it shows up in in a promoted tweet or in a YouTube advertisement. But when you want it, you’ve GOTTA HAVE IT! For you, I recommend a pair of Nike Air Max Plus sneakers. It’s got a flair for the dramatic with wavy ribs and eye-catching colorways. And, the dual Air Max sections add extra cushion so that you’ll be ready for every adventure that comes your way.

The Wallflower

*whispers* Hi!

You’re quiet, but not necessarily shy. You may only have four friends, but those four friends are some of your favorite people. You have opinions and a bright personality, but only the chosen few get to see it. If the girls want to group hang at the mall or the movies, you can be convinced to go, but if you show up and they’re not there – peace out. Even when you’re out and about, you like to blend with the background and observe others instead of being in the middle of the action, but when you get dragged out for a group dance you show the world that you know how to let loose and have fun.

A White Converse All Star Hi Sneaker in the Optical White/White colorway with a polka-dotted heart in the background.

When it comes to shoe shopping, some might call your style “boring,” but you prefer the term “classic.” Sometimes, in an effort to stretch your comfort zone, you try something flashy and new, but all you end up with is a headache from overthinking the whole thing. So, instead, you go with what you know will always be in style. When you find a pair of shoes you like, you wear ’em until they’re worn out and then buy a replacement pair knowing that they’ll be exactly what you want. This is why I’m sure you’ll love a pair of Converse sneakers. The style makes it a classic, standout look while the clean colorways keep you under the radar. Whether you like the hi-top version (pictured above) or prefer the low version, you can’t go wrong with these comfortable sneaks.

The Busy Bee

Two of your favorite words: new and now. If something’s fresh on the scene – you want it, and if something big is going down – you’ve got to be there, like yesterday! You’re always ready to spill the tea with anyone, seriously, you’ve never met a stranger! You don’t necessarily need to be the center of the spotlight, but you definitely don’t want to be left in the dark. Because of your high-energy vibe, you’re often a victim of FOMO. It just hurts your soul to know that people are having fun somewhere and you’re not there. You love hanging with your closest gal pals, but you have to check your schedule first since you’re always up to something – study groups, sports games, parties – what aren’t you involved in?

A Nike Air Vapormax Plus sneaker in the Bright Crimson/Pink Blast/Court Purple colorway with a heart outline in the background.

From the color of the year (Classic Blue, in case you hadn’t heard) to the latest trends, you want your style to represent the new and now, which is why I’m betting you’d love the Nike Air Vapormax Plus. These sneakers are bold, a definite conversation starter, and better yet, they’re a hybrid of both the Air Max Plus and the VaporMax so you don’t have to feel like you’re missing out on either.

The Oddball

My fellow weirdos! What’s up? There’s no denying you’re different, but you’re 1,000% okay with that. In fact, when I called you a weirdo a second ago you didn’t even flinch. You take it as a compliment to your individuality. You’re used to people giving you looks and judging you when you’re out and about because they have trouble seeing life from your perspective.

A PUMA RS-X Cubed sneaker in the Beetroot Purple/White/Purple colorway with a scribbled heart in the background.

When it comes to your sense of style, it’s just as unique you are. Life’s too short to follow a made-up set of fashion rules, so you do whatever you want. You don’t let fads affect your fashion. Sure, you might buy the latest kicks but not because they’re the latest kicks. You just bought them because they make you happy. So for you, I’ve chosen the PUMA RS-X Cubed. With a mesh upper and a layered look to mimic a puzzle, these vibrant kicks have plenty of personality.


Well that’s a wrap! How’d I do? Do the shoes match your personality type? Leave a comment below to let me know!

And if you didn’t like the recommended shoe, no worries – eastbay.com has so many more options; you’re sure to find the perfect pair.

Jerry Stackhouse’s FILA Stack 2 Returns

Jerry Stackhouse’s FILA Stack 2 Returns

FILA Stack 2 White/Navy/Red (1)

words // Brandon Richard

Following the return of the Spaghetti last year, Jerry Stackhouse’s FILA Stack 2 is back for the first time ever this spring.

The classic arrives sporting the original white, navy and red colorway worn by Stackhouse during the 1996-1997 season. Highlights include a bold line design, 2A cushioning and an icy translucent outsole.

These FILA basketball shoes are available now at Eastbay.

Available: FILA Stack 2

 

FILA Stack 2 White/Navy/Red (2)

FILA Stack 2 White/Navy/Red (3)

FILA Stack 2 White/Navy/Red (4)

FILA Spaghetti – Return of the Stack

FILA Spaghetti – Return of the Stack

FILA Spaghetti Black White Header

words // Brandon Richard

For the 1995-1996 NBA season, FILA laced up highly touted Philadelphia 76ers rookie Jerry Stackhouse in his first signature shoe, the FILA Stackhouse.

Due to Stackhouse’s explosive style of play, FILA aimed to create a shoe that was lightweight, but extremely supportive at the same time. Released in mid and low cuts, the Stackhouse featured multi-layered support straps throughout the upper and a wrap-around mudguard that gave Jerry the support he needed to throw down a plethora of highlight reel dunks.

Jerry started 71 games for the 76ers in his rookie season, averaging 19.2 points, 3.7 points, 3.9 assists, 1.1 steals and 1.1 blocks per game. With these numbers, he was named an NBA First Team All Rookie. Stackhouse spent a little more than two seasons with Philly before a 1997 multi-player trade sent him to Detroit.

By 2007, Stackhouse was a 12-year veteran and a key role player for the Dallas Mavericks. With the demand for FILA classics still present, the brand brought back the Stackhouse in retro form, but with an all-new name — The Spaghetti. The name was inspired by the unique layered strap look of the shoe’s upper.

Now, here we are six years later. Stackhouse is now 38 and still making NBA rosters. He currently suits up for the Brooklyn Nets, who are locked in a playoff matchup with the Chicago Bulls. Celebrating Jerry’s 18 seasons in the league, FILA has reissued the Spaghetti once again. The filabuck and nubuck upper and long-lasting rubber outsole are just as you remember. The best part — Jerry is wearing the model in games, eighteen years after he for the first time in Philadelphia.

If you’d like to add this 90s throwback look to your sneaker rotation, you can pick up the Spaghetti and other casual FILA shoes here today.

Available: FILA Spaghetti

FILA Spaghetti Black White (1)

FILA Spaghetti Black White (2)

FILA Stackhouse Spaghetti 1996 to 2013

Jerry Stackhouse wearing FILA Spaghetti Black White

images via FILA & Yahoo

Eastbay Memory Lane: FILA Grant Hill II and Apparel

Eastbay Memory Lane: FILA Grant Hill II and Apparel

words // Zack Schlemmer

To the delight of many 1990’s sneaker fans, FILA is making a comeback this Spring starting with the return of Grant Hill’s second signature model, the Grant Hill II.  Also known as the GH2 and now the 96 since Hill isn’t officially signed on with the brand anymore, the Grant Hill II is one of FILA’s all-time greatest basketball sneakers.  From young Grant Hill (who, of course, is actually still in the NBA) doing work on the court in them to Tupac rocking a pair in a photo from one of his album CD booklets, the Grant Hill II is probably the most recognizable shoe from the brand’s glory days in the mid-90’s.

The shoe’s fairly simple design features a tumbled leather upper with a patent leather (depending on the colorway) piping which forms a triangular shape around the shoe and mirrored with the shape of the FILA logos at the heel and tongue. A strap at the ankle adds a finishing touch to this classic design. On this Eastbay page from the Fall of 1996 we see the shoe in three original colorways, including the white/navy pair set to re-release from select FILA retailers this week.  Along with some other FILA basketball models like the also soon-to-return Stackhouse, you’ll also see a full apparel line for the GH2 including t-shirts, shorts, tanks, socks, and even a polo.

Who is excited for the return of the Grant Hill II and other classic FILA models this year?