There’s nothing like coming home to a fresh new Eastbay catalog in the mail, and during the holidays, the catalogs have a little more magic in them. Back in 1998, Eastbay released two catalogs: one featuring art by David Blake showing “Coach Santa” handing out dope kicks in the locker room, and one featuring the classic Eastbay logo surrounded by white pine branches. I still have both catalogs, and fondly remember flipping through the pages 20 years ago. Though I knew my parents wouldn’t be able to get me much from the catalogs, I still dreamed of all the possibilities. Here’s a look back at some of the memorable pages from those two classic holiday catalogs.
Nike Tuned Air took center stage that season, with the Air Force Max Plus basketball shoe, the Air Max Plus runner, and the Air Trainer Sky all showcased. Each sneaker featured the revolutionary Tuned Air cushioning technology in the heel and Max Air visible cushioning in the forefoot. Out of the three, only the Air Max Plus became a classic, though it would be great to see the other two return soon as well.
The Jordan line was impressive that season, featuring models like the Air Jordan XIV, the Jumpman Pro Strong, the Pro Quick, and a limited size run of the Air Jordan XIII (note the tongue is different from the model that actually released). There was also a Women’s Jordan, which was inspired by the Air Jordan XIII. Other notable Nike basketball models include the Air Pippen II, Air Penny IV and Air Max Sensation (formerly known as the Air Max CW).
The running section featured some hidden gems, including the Air Max Tailwind III and Air Max 98 TL. The popular Air Max 95 was also featured in some classic colorways. Along with the runners were some notable trail running shoes, including the Air Terra Ptarmigan and Terra Humara. Fun fact about the Ptarmigan: Portland Trailblazers star Rasheed Wallace actually wore them in a basketball game. Also, the Humaras returned this year in some original colorways.
Eastbay has always been known as a top source for NBA warm-ups and jerseys, and there was some incredible selection back in 1998. Nike only made jerseys and warm-ups for a handful of teams, but they were some pretty big ones. The Bulls, Celtics, Lakers, and Spurs all had Nike. You could purchase both a Kobe Bryant or Michael Jordan authentic jersey for $124.99. Both are double the price today.
One other cool page was the Outdoor Clothing section, which featured a ton of Nike ACG clothing and boots. The ACG line has had a renaissance the past few seasons, and a lot of its heritage can be traced to these pieces. Dri-FIT, Clima-FIT, and Therma-FIT technologies were all huge back in ’98. These materials kept the body warm and dry, and the colors were very fashionable.
Today, I still flip through these catalogs wishing I had a lot of the running, basketball, and training shoes from this era. The styles were so memorable, and there were so many options to choose from. Fortunately, Nike and Jordan Brand have retroed plenty of these models over the years so that we can relive our childhood and holiday memories. Hopefully some of the forgotten models like the women’s Jordan, the Air Force Max Plus, and the Tailwind III will return again soon as well. A 36-year-old kid can dream, right?