"We were worried, real worried. Even when Benny brought out the secret weapon, shoes guaranteed to make a kid run faster and jump higher -- P.F. Flyers."
A handful of our favorite 80s and 90s flicks are connected by one common factor: sneakers. Kicks that're cemented in cinematic and footwear history. Whether you needed P.F. Flyers because "heroes get remembered, but legends never die", or patent leather-tipped Jordan's to yam on some Monstars (a.k.a. the kids a town/neighborhood over), the shoes in these scenes are sure to bring back memories of Dunkaroos, half-days at school, and pizza Fridays.
Fast Times At Ridgemont High (1982): Vans slip-on in checkerboard colorway
The checkered kicks -- which were inspired by kids coloring in the waffle sole of their classic slip-ons -- wasn't a product placement. Sean Penn, who played rebellious, fun-loving slackerJeff Spicoli, liked 'em and decided to use them in the film, a choice that catapulted the skateboard footwear company from local LA tradition to mainstream brand.
The Outsiders (1983): Black or optical white Converse Chuck Taylor
Long before Wiz Khalifa claimed "Damn It Feels Good To Be A Taylor
", Ponyboy and the rest of the Tulsa, OK gang were rocking them while beatin' down Socs. The Chuck Taylor was an integral part of the Greaser look, along with cigarettes rolled into the sleeve of a white tee, cuffed faded jeans, and a leather jacket -- a combo that still resonates today.
Teen Wolf (1985): adidas Tourney
Back to the Future may have been Nike-centric, but Michael J. Fox rocked the three stripes in his other '85 hit. The basketball uniforms here were also sponsored by adidas, and Mark Holton (who played Francis in Pee-wee’s Big Adventure) looks GREAT in the old school nut crushers.
Aliens (1986): Reebok Alien Stomper
These were initially created just for James Cameron and his alien-annihilating heroine, Ellen Ripley. But a year later the shoes were released to the general public in small quantities. They were originally known as “Alien Fighter shoes”, and the ad for them
is equally as amazing as that name.
Back To The Future II (1989): Nike Air Mag
Although the Air Bruins did show up
in the original Back To The Future,
it was probably these Mags you wanted to show up to gym class wearing. And in 2011, Nike teamed up with The Michael J. Fox Foundation to make that recess dream a reality: They released 1,500 of them, complete with glowing LED panel and luminescent Nike logo, just like Marty McFly’s. To everyone's dismay, there were no power laces (which Nike has a patent
But that feature may arrive in 2015, just in time for Doc and Marty’s arrival
Batman (1989): Nike Air Trainer III
A partnership between Warner Brothers and Nike made way for this somewhat under-the-radar pairing. Since 80s fashion wasn't going to jive with Batman’s 1940s wardrobe, Tinker Hatfield (who else?) rigged up a pair of Nike Air Trainer IIIs and transformed them into Batman's boots. (You can spot them at 1:06 in the video above.)
White Men Can’t Jump (1992): Nike Air Command Force
This film, and every article of clothing in it, is the pinnacle of exuberant 90s greatness. So much so that Stanley Kubrick listed White Men Can't Jump
as one of his favorite films of all-time
The Sandlot (1993): P.F. Flyers
The P.F. Flyers were cemented in Americana the moment Benny "The Jet" Rodriguez slipped them on and jumped into Mr. Mertle’s yard to “pickle the beast”. The product placement for the shoes was aimed at bringing P.F. Flyers back into the footwear fold, because, at the time, Converse All-Stars were the sneaker of choice.
Trivia time! Can you spot the inconsistency that few people notice? Benny pulls out high-tops, but the picture on the shoebox shows that they should have, in fact, been low-tops.
Men In Tights (1993): Reebok Pump Omni Zone
One of many hilarious anachronisms from this awesome parody flick: You "gotta get pumped" anytime you're running out of air in Nottingham Forest.
Forest Gump (1994): Nike Cortez
Originally known as Blue Ribbon Sports, Nike was born in 1971, and debuted its first line of footwear in 1972. The Cortez, which was released during the 1972 Olympics, was the jumping-off point for Nike's future success.
Space Jam (1996): Air Jordan XI's
The shoes that helped MJ, Bill Murray, and the rest of the Tune Squad
defeat the Monstars
were created by Tinker Hatfield while Mike was still whiffing at fastballs in the Minors. Hatfield hoped that Jordan would leave behind his spikes and come back to basketball wearing these shoes -- which is exactly what he did throughout the Bulls historic 95-96 season.
: Space Jam's original promotional website
from 1996 can still be accessed in its entirety.
George of the Jungle (1997): Nike Air More Uptempo
: Looking back, this is one of those movies from your childhood that is actually terrible... which somehow just makes it that much better.
: The jungle floor in the movie was made out of mashed potatoes (seriously
: Scottie Pippen wore these
and the Olympic version
BASEketball (1998): adidas Crazy 8
In 1998, Kobe was wearing the same shoes as the Milwaukee Beers. The kicks were such an elemental feature of the movie that they used the white-black colorway for home games and the reverse (black-white) for aways. (The mascot wore them, too.)