Produced by: Dan Hwang
Written by: Jesse Carr
For our second installment of RE-Fresh, a bi-weekly segment that aims to give well-deserved attention to sneakers of yesteryear, we look at a special edition of the Nike Vandal. Many other famous Nike sneakers that were born within a few years of the Vandal’s release, the Dunk (1986) and the Air Force 1(1983) for instance, have enjoyed what must be hundreds of colorways and re-interpretations since they were released. The Vandal, however, hasn’t received the same number of retros, but that doesn’t mean that it hasn’t enjoyed some special editions. In 2003, Geoff Mcfetridge, who had a stint as the art director of the Beastie Boys’ Grand Royal magazine, crafted what became one of the most famous interpretations of the Nike Vandal which offered the user some unique customizing options which were inherent in the design.
Before looking the McFetridge model, however, let’s take a look at the historical context of the first sneaker to feature a nylon upper. After the seminal release of the Blazer in 1972, Nike began to make waves in the Basketball sneaker market. And while the 70s drew to a close, Nike slowly started to introduce new models, including the Bruin, the All Court, and the Franchise, each of which featured the new branding phenomenon–the Swoosh. As the 80s rolled in, the Dynasty the Legend were born, both of which were high-top models that began to appear on the feet of prominent N.B.A. and college ballers. The Georgetown Hoyas rocked the Legend, and even had grey undershirts with the sneaker printed on the sleeve–which gave the league notice of on-court marketing. The 80s were a time of expression on the hardwood, and the subsequent Nike models that released, including the Vandal, were a part of a trend towards self-expression that extended to the stoops and corners of cities everywhere.