Nike Air Max 97

Top 10 Old School Running Sneakers

Top 10 Old School Running Sneakers

Looking for that ultimate list of the best old-school sneakers out there? Looking to find the Top 10 Old School Running Sneakers? We have them all here.

Whether if it is a retro Air Max, or some vintage Nike clothing, it all comes down to diving into brand’s archives and discovering great pieces of footwear design. Plain old-school running sneakers are for sure one of the most interesting subjects to address when it comes to sneakers culture.

For sure, there are dozens of experts and collectors out there that know all about a certain model or version. But, what about the others?

The ones that just want to grab that great looking shoe that they once saw at a sports store and simply can’t name it?

New Releases vs Retro

We haven’t seen a ton of material variation from the top brands recently. We’re currently experiencing the huge popularity of woven uppers, as well as brands trying to catch up with demand. Older brands are delivering modern silhouettes and new brands are just trying to keep up, delivering models that are far from being really innovative.

Yet, there’s value in the older generation of runners that I just can’t seem to let go of. Therefore our Top 10 Old School Running Sneakers is, really, a must read.


Nike Air Zoom Spiridon

I have to be honest here, I did not have a great initial reaction to these when NikeLab decided to bring them back. At first glance, they really looked like the most modern effort at a “Dad shoe”.

But, I went ahead and tried on a pair (after seeing thousands of pictures on Instagram) and was struck by the comfort level. Perhaps equally important was how great these looked on feet. Luckily, we can expect some more stellar colorways from retailers like asphaltgold.


Nike Air Max 97 “Silver Bullet”

Even if I wanted to, I couldn’t finish this list without a La Silver reference. The Air Max 97 is, as most of us know, more of a cultural symbol than a sneaker.

It stands for a bygone era in Italy, a country that seemed to fall deeply in love with the shoe. Moreover, it’s undeniably gorgeous and represents some of the best of the Air Max line.

Look out for these when they drop at Allike.


Nike Air Max 1

No specific colorway for these because it’s hard to go wrong. A top choice among a huge fanbase, the AM1 is a go-to even for those of us who aren’t necessarily crazy about sneakers.

A versatile aesthetic, held up by that legendary bubble, make this model as relevant as it has ever been. Modern releases involve some materials experimentation, like this one at Fuel.


New Balance 1500

Another easy go-to in this regard, New Balance is all about quality. Over the years, we’ve seen jaw-dropping release after jaw-dropping release. The “Made in UK” label certainly helps, marking out Flimby’s handmade influence.

NB’s current run is starting to emphasize more current releases, including some next-gen runners. But, the brand isn’t foolish enough to completely steer away from solid pieces like the 1500.

Check out one of my favorite colorways now available at Solekitchen.


ASICS Gel Respector

The GEL cushioning system alone is enough to help ASICS models stand out. Luckily for us, they bring even more to the table. In particular, the Gel-Respector presents a beautiful silhouette and excellent use of materials.

Thanks to its competent impact protection, this is actually the rare oldie that can work surprisingly well on your runs. Still, for my purposes, this is just another piece of aesthetic brilliance from the brand.

A Birch pair is a prime example – find it now at MATE.


Nike Internationalist

First seen in the 1982 NYC Marathon, the Internationalist has been arguably my most recommended sneaker for anyone new to the runners game. The appeal here is simple. The Internationalist makes great use of the mesh-and-suede combo that was prevalent in runners from the 1980’s.

At its relatively low price point, the quality is rather surprising. This takes nothing away from comfort, an aspect that this model scores highly on.

From bright and bold to underplayed, your color options are quite open as well. A variety of those is currently available at Foot District.


adidas Haven

This is a model that will likely not have even occurred to you as you were going through this list. Honestly, you can’t really be blamed. The fact of the matter is that some major brands today have some spectacular shoes in their archives.

Unfortunately, they’ve more or less fallen by the wayside as we make our way through more modern heat. The adidas Haven is a great example of this. Dressed in a smooth overlay of suede, a mesh base keeps this shoe versatile and lightweight.

Check out this bold iteration at Inflammable.


New Balance 998

One more time for NB. On a personal note, this is my favorite non-basketball sneaker at the moment. The reasons for that echo what we’ve mentioned on all of the previous pairs.

With a vast majority of the 998’s release under the “Made in UK” or Made in USA” collection, the quality of the materials is undeniable. On most 998’s, you’ll notice a plush suede overlaying a relatively lightweight mesh.

If that’s not enough for you, it’s pretty darn comfortable as well. You can find yourself a pair at Hanon.


Diadora N9000

Most recently the subject of a few high-grade collabs, Diadora’s N9000 has been making a huge comeback. Then again, it was never quite in danger of losing relevance in the first place.

Though a tad bit older than the previous models we mentioned – the N9000 was originally dropped back in 1990 – this shoe still shares a few basic aspects we see in the 80’s releases.

Known for their craftsmanship, Diadora almost always suits their N9000’s up in lush cuts of suede or premium nubuck. Some collabs, particularly alongside Feature Sneaker Boutique, even see the shoe covered in nothing but Italian leathers.

Find a few colorways for yourself at Foot Patrol.


Saucony Grid 8000

Much like any of the above-mentioned brands, Saucony has more than a few bangers to choose from. Another company that’s been at it for a ridiculously long time, the brand has developed its own little niche, part of which includes innovations like the G.R.I.D. running system.

It’s specially designed to work with the midsole to not only provide extra impact protection, but also superior balance. To add on, we also get a nice helping of great materials and a lovely shape for a pretty reasonable price.

Available now at Urban Industry.

It’s hard to go wrong with any of these running classics. In light of that, shop around for a pair that catches your eye (maybe even one on sale!) and rock it with confidence.