Walking On (Dated) Air: Airwalk Belongs In The 90’s


Air Walk One

If you’re here reading the Piff blog, there’s a good chance that you grew up in the 90’s. You got up early on Saturday mornings to watch your favorite cartoons, you hit your homies on the landline when you wanted to link up (things weren’t as easy before everyone had cell phones, right?) you played Nintendo 64 till your thumbs were sore (check the rhyme scheme), and you probably owned a pair or two of Airwalks.

That’s right, Airwalks. The chunky skate shoes that you saw everywhere you turned your head (it’s OK if you didn’t come out of the womb with a crispy pair of J’s on … we’re not judging). Long before they became a Payless Shoe Source staple, Airwalk bosted a heavy-hitting skate team and an unmatched aesthetic. They were to the 90’s what DC was to the early-mid 00’s, and their team read like the roster of an all-star game: Eric Koston, Andrew Reynolds, Geoff Rowley, Steve Berra, Tony Hawk (technically he skated for Airwalk in the late 80’s but he’s the G.O.A.T, so we can’t leave him off) and more all rocked the brand, and it was the most gassed skate shoe brand out for a long stretch of time.

Where did they go wrong? Well, they were like the reverse Nike. What that means is that they started in skate, and then attempted to branch out into other ventures and offer shoes for any and all types of kids and adults. Nike started with everything else, and then broke into skate.

This worked out at first. Airwalk was indeed a 90’s staple, no matter if you skated or if the closest you came to a board was hitting circle and down on your PS1 to do an airwalk in Tony Hawk’s Pro Skater. However, the initial success came at a price … and that price was their cool factor, as they eventually began cranking out giant, cheaply-made shoes that turn up in places like the aforementioned Payless Shoe Source and Sears.

Airwalk languished in bargain-store obscurity for well over a decade, and made no noise at all, at least until recently. Earlier this week, it was announced that their classic Airwalk One shoe would be making a comeback in three colorways: a glossy, iridescent silver, a black/grey/white, and a black/white, all of which are pictured in this article, two above this paragraph and one below.

In theory, this is pretty cool: a shoe with a lot of nostalgia behind it making its first real return in well over a decade. The timing is right too: as we mention quite frequently on this blog, the hype around vintage items is higher than it’s ever been. The new Airwalks are stocked at respected shops like Blends, and may be able to ride the nostalgia wave to a surprising amount of success (you probably have fond memories of your pair, don’t you?)

However, we’re going to go ahead and be naysayers. We love vintage gear. We love living our childhood, as we believe that the 90’s were the best damn decade to grow up in (fight us). But that doesn’t mean everything from the past has to be brought into the present … some things are better left in the past and the Airwalk is one of them.

Sure, the One is a classic silhouette … but much like other 90’s classics such as GoldenEye for the N64, the Backstreet Boys (don’t deny the importance, hater) or video rental stores like Blockbuster or Hollywood, they just flat-out didn’t age well and should be left behind. They look dated, and have been so whack for so long even a Kayne co-sign couldn’t make them cool again as far as we’re concerned. Occasionally, the past just needs to be left behind … and these re-released Airwalks are a shining (pun totally intended) example.

What do you think of the re-released Airwalk One? Do you agree that it should have been left in the 90’s, or are you glad to see it again? Hit us up and let us know on Twitter, check our Facebook page for updates, and, as always, be sure to follow us on Instagram for all the fire pictures you can handle.