Retro Trainer Reissues You Need This Autumn/Winter

When it comes to designing the next killer trainer, it has become increasingly popular for designers to look backwards just as much as forwards in search of creative inspiration. Whether it be reinventing timeless silhouettes that are already a staple part of a brand’s repertoire or reinstating long-forgotten silhouettes to their former glory, footwear designers seem to have been housing up in their brand’s archives which have seen a renaissance in vintage, heritage styles that are back—and this time here to stay.

As the flow of new old silhouettes shows no signs of stopping, we pick out our selection of this season’s finest retro trainer reissues you should be adding to your Autumn/Winter 2017 wardrobe.

Saucony Shadow Original

Saucony Originals: A Guide Through History

The Saucony Shadow Original is the very embodiment of ‘80s style, and was released at the heart of that decade in 1985. The Shadow Original took the Saucony’s iconic Jazz silhouette as its starting point, bulking the low-top up with a plush “marshmellowy” EVA midsole for exceptional cushioning and a TPU heel piece that delivers greater support. The Shadow Original’s upper is constructed with breathable nylon mesh overlaid with suede panelling and, as ever for Saucony, a Maxitrac triangular lug outsole. The Shadow Original sits alongside the Jazz as Saucony’s pièce de resistance, the two models that would form a dynasty of Saucony sneakers lasting far beyond the ‘80s and ‘90s.

Asics Gel-Lyte III

The OG Gel-Lyte III

The Asics Gel-Lyte III, originally released back in 1990, takes pride of place among Asics’ most iconic silhouettes. Since the brand’s inception, Asics’ ambitions have lay in producing the best sports performance trainers available, with celebrity runners including Olympic Gold medallist Abebe Bikila, Kenji Kimihara and Derek Crayton among the somewhat better-known athletes wearing its sneakers. The Gel-Lyte III epitomises Asics’ athletic ambitions, with head designer Shigeyuki Mitsui using some of Asics’ latest technological innovations to create what was at that point, and for our money still is, one of the world’s most coveted running shoes.

While Asics had been using dual-density soles for a number of years, it was Mitsui who came up with the idea of a tri-density sole for the Gel-Lyte III. Much more difficult to control and manufacture compared to its predecessor, the tri-density sole was initially rejected by Asics until its engineers discovered how the extra density dramatically affected the ride and transition for the wearer.

Read more about the history of the Asics Gel-Lyte III on the AllSole blog.

Puma Suede

Puma Suede Clydes

The intertwined relationship between footwear brands and athletes has borne many—if not most—of the world’s most iconic sneaker silhouettes; think Air Jordans, Converse Chucks, Asics’ Gel-Lyte IIIs, Saucony’s Jazz Original, the list goes on…

The Puma Suede, or Clyde as it is better known to sneaker aficionados, is another shoe we can add to that list. Puma has a long heritage creating basketball shoes and by the 1970s was worn by some of the game’s biggest stars. In the 1970s, New York Nicks star Walter “Clyde” Frazier spoke with Puma to request if they could make him a wider version of its basketball shoe, and like that the Puma Suede was born.

Although its supple suede construction wasn’t really suitable for the rigours of the court, Mr. Frazier’s effortless, nonchalant aesthetic and personality transformed the Puma Suede into the shoe of choice for style conscious basketballers and hip-hop stars throughout the 1980s.

Vans Old Skool

Debuted under the name “Style 36” back in 1977, the Vans Old Skool skate shoe is today among the Vans’ most famous silhouettes. Eleven years after the Van Doren brothers launched Vans with the #44 deck shoe—now known to us as the Vans Authentic—Paul Van Doren came up with the idea to create a new shoe that marked Vans’ first departure from their signature deck shoe.

While idly doodling one day, Paul Van Doren came up with a sketch of what he originally referred to as the “jazz stripe”. Mr Van Doren decided to incorporate this stripe into the design of a new shoe, and with that the Vans sidestripe was born. The Vans Old Skool was the first Vans shoe to feature the now iconic side stripe, which would go on to become the unmistakable hallmark of the Vans brand.

Ever since, the Old Skool has remained a permanent fixture of the Vans collection and has been reinterpreted countless times including collaborations with the likes of Peanuts, Supreme, Patta and many other prestigious brands. Nevertheless, the Old Skool feels as fresh today as it did on its release 40 years ago—a testament to the simple beauty of its timeless design.

Converse Chuck Taylor

The original 1917 Converse All Star. Chuck Taylor’s name was added in 1932. (Courtesy of Converse)

Starting out life as an elite basketball shoe in 1917, the Converse Chuck Taylor All Star has undoubtedly become one of the most popular and iconic footwear silhouettes of all time.

The original design remains virtually unchanged until this day, with the cotton canvas upper and loose lining designed to move with gym socks and prevent blisters. Almost two thirds of Americans today own or have owned a pair of Chucks, and the shoes’ popularity shows no signs of waning almost a century since their creation.

Like the Old Skool, Converse’s Chuck Taylor All Star has been a source of inspiration for designers throughout its 100 year history and until this day the shoe is being reimagined in exciting new colourways and fabrications for its next generation of wearers.


Image via Gwarizm

Originally founded back in 1911, FILA made a name for itself in the world of tennis when it was endorsed by sporting legends including Bjorn Borg, Boris Becker, Jennifer Capriati & Monica Seles.

By the 1980s, FILA was embraced by many of the sport’s biggest names and was up there with Nike and Reebok as one of the biggest names in sports footwear. The T1 was FILA’s revolutionary take on the classic tennis shoe, released in 1984 and affronting the all-white aesthetic of the tennis shoe with two bold stripes in red and blue (harking back to the Italian heritage of its founders, the Fila brothers).

A forward-thinking design favouring comfort and performance combined with its sleek, timeless silhouette allow the T1 to become a staple part of Fila’s collection throughout the 1980s, ‘90s, and the trainer remains a bestseller for the brand until this day.

Novesta Star Master

Novesta Star Master

With a heritage stretching back to 1939, Novesta has steadily emerged outside its homeland to define itself as one of Slovakia’s coolest exports. Until this day, Novesta continues to manufacture all its low-top and high-top canvas sneakers exclusively by hand in Slovakia, using the 100% environmentally friendly materials developed by its founder during Novesta’s early days that are without chemicals and toxic glues.

The Star Master, arguably the brand’s most recognised silhouette, was originally released in the 1960s as a simple, rustic trainer designed for comfort and everyday use. Made with a vulcanised rubber sole, the Star Master bears a simple charm that has kept the shoe out the archive for over 50 years during which it has remained the brand’s bestselling shoe. Novesta continues to reinvent its Star Master silhouette virtually every season with new colour combinations and fabrications.

Header image property of Saucony.

Sarah Atkinson

Sarah Atkinson

Writer and expert