The market for retro shoe releases has whirred along in high gear for years now, with every athletic brand eagerly trawling through their back catalogs for buried treasure in the hopes that what used to be cool might yet be cool again. It's deeper than Jordans: We’ve seen Adidas whip TikTok into a frenzy over a shoe that first launched in 1949, watched in awe as a once-loathed dad sneaker became one of the hottest wardrobe staples of the decade, and even looked on with astonishment as formerly legendary brands returned from the dead to reclaim their clout altogether.
So it’s no surprise that the English-born American footwear behemoth Reebok has been digging through the crates of its storied history to excavate the classics. This weekend saw the revival of a sneaker that only seasoned veterans of the shoe game are sure to remember well: the Reebok Answer III, one of the signature shoes of former Philadelphia 76er Allen Iverson. Originally released in ‘96, closely following the release of the Air Jordan 12 (a close relative in silhouette and style), the Answer III has remained something of a cult favorite among Reebok and AI fans, less well-known than some of the other Iverson models (such as the beloved Reebok Question) but keenly appreciated by savvy collectors. That Reebok would go out of its way to re-release this shoe in particular says a lot about the retro market: This is a deep cut if there ever was one.
Answer III Shoes
It also makes perfect sense for their current strategy. The basketball division over at Reebok is currently undergoing a bit of a rebirth: the brand recently announced Iverson as Reebok’s vice president of basketball, with Shaquille O’Neil joining him as president, and the company plans to full relaunch the division in “early 2025.” Clearly, the company has big ambitions for its future role in the basketball world. And a big part of the basketball world, as far as sneakers go, is exactly this retro-focused market. If Reebok has any hope of having Jordan-like success, it needs to hit exactly the nostalgic pleasure-centers touched by a classic Iverson sneaker release.
And of course it’s not just the Iverson. Earlier this month, Reebok released a rebirthed version of another vintage sneaker: the Shaq Attaq, the signature sneaker O’Neil launched in 1992. Hitting the market again in the “MVP” colorway, it’s another culty favorite that has never had quite the crossover success on the retro market that some of the biggest shoes from Jordan Brand have—which makes it the ideal sneaker to serve as a reintroduction to the Reebok style.
Shaq Attaq Shoes
It’s hard to say whether these revival efforts will stick. But with niche hits like these dropping, it seems to be moving in the right direction.
Originally Appeared on GQ
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