Release Date: Oct 03, 2020 at 10:00 AM EST
This month Nike is set to re-release the crowd favorite Air Raid in its original 1992 black and grey colorway. The innovative sneaker served as inspiration for the Air Jordan 8, and more recently, the Air Fear of God Raid. Want to know why?
Starting a fire takes a spark, and in the case of the Nike Air Raid, that spark was generated from a yellow sticky note left on the desk of legendary Nike designer Tinker Hatfield. The order was simple: craft a basketball sneaker exclusively for outdoor use. The rest is history.
For as long as competitive basketball has been played there have been two major factions: indoor players and outdoor players. The former have reaped the benefits of some of Nike’s greatest creations, the latter however, not as much. Playing basketball outdoors is challenging; not only are you battling your opponents, but the elements as well.
Rough asphalt and inclement weather shorten the lifespan of basketball sneakers tremendously, and these hurdles served as the impetus for the Air Raid’s tooling. To combat the ever-changing conditions of the blacktop, the Air Raid utilized a sturdy black leather upper with large mesh side panels for on court breathability. The iconic grey midfoot X-strap (which would be re-imagined on Hatfield’s Air Jordan 8 the following year) combined with the inner bootie system to provide unmatched lockdown during lateral moves. The high-cut white polyurethane midsole extended up towards the heel to act as a counter for stability.
The rugged outsole of the Air Raid is where outdoor hoopers got their money’s worth. The thick black rubber outsole added much needed durability without adding extra weight. Lateral and medial outriggers extended up the sides for additional stability and traction. Both the outsole and heel collar feature text that reads “For Outdoor Use Only.” These defining features are left unchanged on this upcoming release, only slightly updated for a more modern feel.
The Air Raid did not reach icon status based on functionality alone. To promote the sneaker’s release in 1992, Nike’s marketing team enlisted the help of visionary filmmaker Spike Lee, and NBA All-Star point guard Tim Hardaway.
The dynamic duo starred in a commercial promoting Nike’s “Urban Jungle Gym” campaign, in which Spike shows off the new Air Raid, and playfully mocks Tim Hardaway’s shooting form. This commercial elevated the silhouette from fan-favorite to cultural icon.
Nike’s Air Raid transcended basketball with its street-ready design and relatable brand image. Jerry Lorenzo, founder of Fear of God, cites the Air Raid as being his favorite non-Jordan sneaker of all time. As a youth, Lorenzo became enamored with the sneaker after seeing a classmate wearing a pair in high school. The designer has since incorporated the silhouette into his own Nike shoe, the Air Fear of God Raid, which also features the iconic X-strap. A Friends & Family pair of the sneaker even comes in dressed in the same black and grey color scheme as the original Air Raid.
The Nike Air Raid OG is set to release on JimmyJazz.com on October 3rd for a retail price of $140. Come early to secure your pair.
The Air Raid was built for battles on the blacktop, so styling the sneaker with activewear from Nike is a no-brainer.
For the first outfit, start with a pair of Nike Sportswear Tech Fleece Joggers in grey. These joggers will match the grey accents of the sneaker, and the tapered ankle will sit nicely on the sneaker’s collar. Complete the outfit with the Nike Sportswear Tech Fleece Hoodie in black. This sleek hoodie is composed of a soft cotton and polyester blend to keep you comfortable on the court. The black color matches the sneaker’s black paneling, and accentuates the grey details.
For the second outfit, start with a pair of Nike Sportswear Club Fleece Joggers in black. These joggers will help keep the outfit understated and let your sneakers do the heavy lifting. The embroidered Nike logo on the thigh matches the white midsole to contrast the primarily black composition. Add the grey Nike Sportswear Tech Fleece Hoodie to the mix. The grey color will break up the black, and add nice color-blocking to the outfit. Complete the outfit with the 9Fifty Miami Heat Snapback Hat from New Era. Tim Hardaway played six seasons as a member of the Miami Heat, which ties into the history of the Air Raid. The red in the iconic Heat logo will add a nice pop of color to the otherwise low-key outfit.