Whodathunkit: Airwalks Are Back


It used to be I’d hear adults discussing things they’d never thought would come back—bell bottoms, velvet, skinny jeans, Brooke Shields—and I’d laugh, snort, avoid any means of self-identification. These were the tales of old, resolutely uncool people and I would never relate to them or experience romantic longing for my untarnished youth at the sight of a sneaker.

And yet here it comes, with the revival of velveteen skate sneakers, specifically in references to Airwalks, that piece of suede-textured 1990s nostalgia that we thought we left with our suede-bottom Jansport and those strangely structured baggy jeans forever known as Lee Pipes.

I wasn’t a pioneer of Airwalks, by any means. For one: there were really cool. And, not that it makes a difference, but I’ve never ridden a skateboard. But I was a lover of those pioneers, nd my memory abounds with half-pipes, and more prominently, teenagers arguing about scuffing each other’s shoes, and competing about their authenticity as skaters and sneaker wearers.

In case you weren’t quite Airwalks material the first time around, now you have a second chance,  as many designers clearly took them to heart them this season. Consistent suede-sneaker proponents Maison Martin Margiela have lovingly re-comined leather and suede in tan and white pair, and transformed the silhouette of the shoe from laid-back skateboarder to futuristic bootie.  Dior’s references are more on their plaid-sleeve and channel the kind of color combinations that teenagers of the 1990s just went wild for. They’ve gone navy with strikes of contrasting fabric up the back. The suede’s so soft, but the memories are softer.