With the first wave of millennials slowly becoming decision makers in the business world, Nineties nostalgia is back in full force. Many brands that we thought were dead, such as ESPRIT, Juicy Couture, and even JNCO (briefly), have made a comeback, in some way, to remind us of our childhood and to capture our money. Most notably in the sneaker and streetwear scene Champion and Fila have come back roaring in popularity as you can find their logos everywhere again.
I’m writing this out because I’m conflicted. I like to think that I really appreciate the nostalgia aspect, but at the same time I’m a different person now and looking back… 90s fashion wasn’t so great. I just remember big logos on everything, baggy jeans, turtlenecks, ball bearing necklaces, a visor, and cargo pants, all things I would never consider wearing these days, although I probably did hold onto cargo pants too long. Nevertheless I purchased a pair of sneakers recently strictly based on nostalgia as it reminded me of my middle school. I had been looking for a pair at the right price ever since I got back into sneakers, I finally found them at retail, ant they are the Fila Grant Hill 96 (GH 96).
I was so hyped to finally get my hands on these, opening that box reminded me of Christmas. I’ll say the quality is great. The leather was soft, the patent leather glistens in the light, it was everything that I remembered. This Fila retro true to the original, too true to the original.
Putting these sneakers on makes me realize how far sneaker technology has come since the 90s. The materials are just so much sleeker, lighter, breathable, and just overall more comfortable today. The GH 96 just seemed to be too bulky and confining for me to really enjoy.
I thought putting these sneakers would bring back the same joy I had in middle school and it did for a moment. After that though, it just became another sneaker of an ever growing collection, destined to be lost among the dozens that don’t get worn. It’s effectively a $120 paperweight. I’m not telling you not to buy nostalgic retros, do whatever makes you happy.
For me I’m just gonna buy the retros that fit my style now. For instance I purchased a plaid colorway of the Air Max 97 and I love those. I just got so wrapped up in the chase for the GH 96 that getting them at the right price was the challenge, not getting gouged by a reseller was the true victory for me here. Going back to these sneakers is like getting back together with an old girlfriend that you fought with all the time, but you had enough time away that you just remembered the good times.
What excites me in sneakers these days is the new technology that they put into the shoe or crazy and unique designs. The imagination of designers’ wearable art is what I find magical. I was just able to purchase my first pair of Adidas 4D Futurecrafts, I can’t wait for those. So before you buy those retros, think about why first.