10 Best Retro & Vintage Running Shoes Reviewed
While these shoes may sizzle with retro style, there's nothing old about the performance, comfort, and features that they offer. By utilizing modern materials and design these shoes can go toe-to-toe with the top shoes on the market today, and look cool doing it.
We researched, ranked, and reviewed the 10 best retro and vintage style running shoes on the market today so that you can save time and money, and get back to doing what you do best - running in style!
- Saucony Jazz
- Nike Air Max 95
- Reebok GL 6000
- Nike Air Huarache Light
- Nike Air Max 90
- Etonic Trans Am
- ASICS GEL-Lyte III
- Nike Cortez
- New Balance 1300
- Nike Air Max 1
- Criteria Used for Evaluation
- Frequently Asked Questions
Top 10 Retro and Vintage Style Running Shoes
1. Saucony Jazz
- Simple, yet classy design
- Durability of the shoes
- Quality of materials
- Amazing comfort that they provide
- Great forefoot support which is always a plus
- Timeless look
This is not a real problem of the Saucony company, but many customers got knock-off Chinese shoes, so be sure to check the reputation of the seller before buying
Saucony Jazz are shoes with a simple design. But they look extremely classy. In the time when they were created they were hardcore running shoes. They were made with an emphasis on balance, featured sock insert and narrow heel. Also with more substantial forefoot, with all of that combined they were bestseller running shoes, and as such spawned whole Jazz series.Read more
Saucony Jazz offers an amazing comfort, at the time that they were made they were most comfortable running shoes. Even today they offer comfort that t many modern running shoes don`t. The stability that they offer is top notch, one of the best of any retro/vintage running shoes.
Saucony Jazz are very durable, because of their simple design there are not many things that can wear off or break down after long use. They will last you for a very long time. And what about quality? Let`s just say that many today's shoes do not even come close to the quality that Saucony Jazz offered then, and also today.
Saucony Jazz are the best value for money retro running shoes that you can buy. They will last you for years to come. You will feel in love when you first time put them on your feet. They are the reason why we love retro running shoes. And the best thing they are very affordable if you know where to look for them. Best retro/vintage running shoes by mine opinion.
2. Nike Air Max 95
Unique design that still looks modern
Quality of the shoes
Bulkier than previous models
Nike Air Max 95 were the running shoes that started the design revolution. Nike used gradient shades and also structured lacing system inspired by the human spine. When they were released, they blew the minds of many people because of their unique design that was never seen before. They could pass even by today standards as modern running shoes. But they were released in 1995. Which says a lot.Read more
Nike Air Max 95 offer amazing comfort because of a large amount of air cushioning. Air cushions go almost for all the length of the shoes. They also offer you unparalleled stability because of their unique design.
Nike Air Max 95 are very durable running shoes, they will last you very long time. The quality of the shoes is amazing. All materials used are high-quality materials that will last for as long as you use this shoes.
Nike Air Max 95 are those running shoes that you just need to have. They are one of the best running shoes even by today standard, believe us. You can find them for very affordable price. One of the best shoes that I had ever review. But the reason why they are not in the first place is because for me, they look to modern. And now we will go to the number one.
3. Reebok GL 6000
Design of the shoes, recognizable Reebok design
Comfort that they offer
Built quality of the shoe
Stability while running
Some users didn't find them that comfortable
Reebok GL 6000 running shoes featured classic Reebok design. They featured total support system, dual –density midsole and also distinctive wavy forefoot applications. And of course, they featured the classic Reebok secure strap lacestay. People still fall in love with this design because it is one of those timeless designs that will never grow old.Read more
Reebok GL 6000 gave great comfort in past, and they will give you great comfort today. You can run for hours and you still won`t feel any discomfort. Also, they offer top-notch stability.
Reebok GL 6000 are very durable shoes, made from old and time-tested materials that will stay in great shape for months to come. The quality of the shoes is also pretty amazing. Nothing less can be expected from old Reebok shoes.
Reebok GL 6000 are great retro running shoes. With classic Reebok design you will feel only joy by wearing them and running in them. And the best thing is, you can find them for a very affordable price.
4. Nike Air Huarache Light
- Unique, modern design
- Stability, they will allow you to run on rough terrain with no problem
- Comfort that they provide
- Quality of the shoes
For some people little bit too narrow
Nike Air Huarache Light are the shoes with the sock and framework concept that definitely was different from other running shoes on the market. Nike Air Huarache Light were definitely unique and great shoes that still would make people turn their head around if they see you running with those shoes. And they are definitely beautiful.Read more
Nike Air Huarache Light offer great comfort while running, they are perfect for long runs because they won`t create any discomfort. They offer the unbelievable stability that is one of the best in the retro running shoe category.
Nike Air Huarache Light are very durable running shoes, you can run in them even in the harsh environment. The quality of the shoes is top notch, they won`t break down anytime soon.
Nike Air Huarache Light are one of the best retro running shoes that you still can buy, definitely worth of the money. You can find them for a very affordable price. Definitely ones that you should look for.
5. Nike Air Max 90
- Design, beautiful and still appealing
- Comfort, even after many hours of running
- Quality of the shoes
- Durability, they will last you a long time
- Materials, only the best, as expected from Nike
- A bit beefy & bulky
Air Max concept was just starting when Air Max 90 were dropped on the market. This design is so iconic that Nike still makes shoes based on this design. Air Max will never go away because they are so unique and loved by people. They started the revolution that still runs.Read more
The comfort that they give you is amazing, you can't expect anything less from Nike, an air bubble will give you even more comfort while running because it will absorb shock created while walking on hard surfaces. They also offer great stability while running.
Nike Air Max 90 are very durable shoes because they are made of quality materials, same goes for the quality of the shoes.
Nike Air Max 90 are shoes that are one of those best value for money shoes. Design, quality, comfort, it all goes together. Great shoes for passionate runner sand Nike aficionados.
6. Etonic Trans Am
- Unique materials (fiberglass dynamic reaction plate)
- Quality of the shoes
- Durability, they will last you a long time
- Toughness, they are pretty tough which will protect your feet on rough terrain
- Some don't like the look
- A bit bulky
Etonic had gone all out with their Trans Am design. They wanted to make the best running shoe on the market with newest technologies. Etonic Trans Am were dropped in 1984, when the expensive running shoes were the thing. Etonic had put the fiberglass Dynamic Reaction Plate in this specific model to reduce impact while running. They had also one unique feature, the lacing ran all around the collar to support the rear of the foot. That was one strange choice, but in the end, it worked.Read more
Etonic Trans Am will give you great comfort while running, you will be able to wear them for a long time without any discomfort. Also, they offer great stability because of large forefoot area that is not too wide.
They are very durable shoes, they will last you a long time. The quality of the shoes is great because of materials that they use, they don`t feel cheap, they are probably the one shoes that are built like a tank, and we all know that tanks don't break down easily.
These are shoes that are worth every cent that you pay for them. If you love tough shoes than this ones are for you. But if the design of the shoes is very important to you, then you should look elsewhere. All in all a great product.
7. ASICS GEL-Lyte III
- Build quality of the shoes
- Comfort, they will allow you to run for a long time comfortabley
- Gel technology which absorbs shock created while running
- Stability, they will allow you to feel stable even on rough terrain
- For some people split tongue is useless addition
- Some people find them too narrow
ASICS Gel Lyte III were extremely better than older Gel Lyte versions that featured split tongue application. As we know, the gel was one of the first technologies that seemed to be more than just gimmick that would increase the price of the shoes. ASICS Gel Lyte III were revolutionary shoes, and the same technology is used today on many other running shoes. They definitely brought the revolution in the running shoe market.Read more
ASICS Gel Lyte are very comfortable shoes, especially for longer use because of its gel technology that gives you comfort even on hard surfaces. They also offer great stability for any user because of their wide forefoot area.
ASICS Gel Lyte III are very durable shoes that will last you very long time, for hundreds and hundreds of miles. Also, the quality of them is amazing, especially because they are older that features old quality materials.
ASICS Gel Lyte III are shoes that are not for every person, but if you don`t mind the split tongue, then there is no reason not to buy them because they are unique. And the best thing is they are affordable, so what are you waiting for? Buy yourself a pair, you won`t regret it.
8. Nike Cortez
- Quality is amazing
- Durability, they will last you for a long time
- Choice of materials
- Comfort that they give you
- They are not stable as some other shoes
Nike Cortez was a dual-density breakthrough for Nike. They were built with the assistance of Bill Bowerman and Tiger Cortez. They were maybe more associated with gangbangers and Forest Gump. But in their day they were a perfect performing shoes for running. The version that we all know and love is the 1972 version. This shoe will never be forgotten because of its simple yet beautiful design.Read more
Nike Cortez offers great comfort for your feet, you can wear them for a long time and you won`t feel any discomfort. Because of their narrow shape, they are not the most stable shoes on the market, but they will definitely do the job.
Nike Cortez are very durable shoes. One of the reasons is because of materials that they are built with, a combination of nylon and leather. And the quality? Well, what do you expect, you will get only the best quality from the Nike, and these shoes are no different.
Nike Cortez are definitely shoes that you must own even if you don`t run because of they're simple, but yet beautiful design. And the best thing is that they are not expensive, so they won`t break the bank. So If you are looking for beautiful, retro and affordable running shoes, that these ones are for you.
9. New Balance 1300
- Great Quality
- Beautiful and still apeling design
- Unique materials (carbon rubber)
- Comfort which they provide
- For some users, they fell apart after few months of use
New Balance 1300's were absurdly expensive when they were released, they cost 130$ plus tax. RRP made them appealing to the ballers, who didn`t reap the benefits of this shoes. Because New Balance 1300 featured carbon rubber outsole, also encapsulated midsole, shock reduction, and motion control. In their time they were called the Maybach of the footwear, that speaks for itself.Read more
New Balance 1300 offer great comfort for any user. The premium materials allow you to use this shoes to the fullest without feeling any discomfort. They offer great stability because of their shape that allows the shoe to be in contact with the surface with the whole length of the shoe.
They are very durable shoes, they won`t let you down after long use. The quality of the shoes is amazing, especially because of unique materials that are used for making this shoe.
These are great shoes, you should definitely buy them if you are in a market for vintage or retro shoes that features some unique materials.
10. Nike Air Max 1
- Great quality as expected from Nike
- Great stability while running
- Design that is timeless
- Durability, they won't break down easily
- You can feel some discomfort after prolonged use
- For some people, they have too snug of a fit
Nike Men's Air Max 1 is the shoe that was inspired by Paris Pompidou Centar. First productions versions were dropped with a bigger air bubble, but that cause some quality issues and because of that, the bubble was reduced a little bit. This shoe now has a legendary status among the retro running shoes because of its unique design and beautiful choice of colors. If you want to wear running shoe that screams retro than this one is for you.Read more
Nike Men's Air Max 1 provides great comfort because of its soft materials from which they are made of. Also, shoes provide excellent stability because of its wide forefoot area.
Nike Men's Air Max 1 are very durable, they will last you a long time. The quality of the shoes is amazing, you can't expect anything lees from the old Nike designs.
They're expensive, but the Nike Men's Air Max 1 are definitely worth your money. People will stare at your shoes while you will run with them because they are the ghost from the past that is still fashionable and great to use. We definitely recommend them.
Criteria Used for Evaluation
This list is all about retro and vintage style running shoes, so let's start with style. They say that everything old is new again, and you can certainly see that with today's fashion trends. The styles of yesteryear have come full circle, gracing us with their presence in everything from movies, music, and cars, to clothes and yes, running shoes.
Since vintage/retro has become all the rage, running shoe makers have joined the fray by designing and selling new shoes that look like they've just come out of a time machine, preserved from the ravages of eternity and transported here to the present. But it's not magic, it's just what happens when modern design, materials, technology, and manufacturing processes combine with the fashion sense of halcyon days of yore. These might look like something grandpa and grandma might have worn, but they can only wish that this type of performance and comfort was available when they were flying around the track in their singlets and Chuck Taylor's.
In order to help you find a pair of retro-style running shoes you'll love, we went back in our time machine and found you the 10 pairs, brought them here to the present, and with a little magic and a lot of love ranked and reviewed them. For the style criteria, the cooler we think they look the higher the score, it's that simple, just like life used to be...
We've come a long way since back in the day, when running shoes were made of mostly just leather and/or canvas with a thin rubber sole. It's hard to know for sure, but just by looking at those shoes it's hard to imagine they were very comfortable.
No so with the shoes on our list! By using modern processes manufacturers have created running shoes that have old-timey style with new school comfort that's plush and easy on your feet, letting you cruise the street and trails looking a superstar and feeling like a million bucks.
We ranked each of the shoes on our list according to how comfortable they are based on what thousands of reviewers had to say, as well as our own matrix that looks at the materials and manufacturing process.
As runners we all know what a toll that running can take on your body from the repetitive pounding your feet do on the road and trail. That's why it can be great to have a shoe that absorbs the shock of those impacts and disperses it through the sole before it can start to hurt your tender footsies.
Thanks to modern materials and technology, we have shock absorption available today that grandpa and grandma would have killed for. We ranked each shoe according to how much shock absorption it offers the user, and while shoes that didn't rate highly in this super important criteria didn't make our list, there is still a range of absorption in our line up that ranges from super plush, to, well, not so much, because hey, personal preferences you know?
Especially if you regularly run on uneven or rocky trails, foot and ankle support is an important thing to look at when you're buying a pair of running shoes. A good pair of running shoes will cradle and support you feet as you run, helping you to stay stable and balanced, avoid injury, and just plain enjoy your run more.
With running shoes, support for the foot comes from its upper, and is dependent on the design, materials, and overall fit of the shoe. How you tie your shoes is also important. Too loose or with uneven pressure and your feet won't be comfortable and the shoe will be loose and unsupportive. Too tight and your feet will feel constricted and you may even start to experience numbness and/or tingling in them from a lack of blood flow. Support for your ankle comes from the ankle cuff, which is different in each and every pair of shoes. In general, the higher and closer around the ankles the cuff fits the more support the shoe will give your ankles Some people prefer a higher ankle cuff, while some prefer a lower, so we made sure to include a variety of styles on our list.
You've heard it said that, "they don't make them like they used to", but we don't know about all that. We think that there's a lot of modern shoes being made right now that are pretty darned well made, and use great materials and modern design and manufacturing processes that make today's shoes just as durable as those of yesterday. But we can't know for sure without a time machine so we recommend just letting the old-timers think what they may as we go on about our daily lives, paying homage to days gone by with our style, while living in the present with our modern materials.
We ranked each pair of shoes on this list according to how durable they were by looking at thousands of reviews, as well as applying the knowledge of shoes we've acquired over the years working in this industry.
Frequently Asked Questions
In a word, yes! By utilizing modern design, materials, and manufacturing methods, shoemakers are able to create shoes that perform just as well as any modern running shoe, but look like they were made decades ago. It's kind of like wearing a tuxedo or a costume; the outside is classed up and/or disguised, but the bones on the inside are the same.
Before you buy a pair of shoes from this list, you should be aware that wearing these shoes out in public may cause the formation of multi-generational friendships, causing you to hear lots of stories that start with, "when I was your age...". Style can evoke powerful memories, so don't be surprised when our wisened elders start chatting you up while you're wearing a pair of retro running shoes. You'll have tons of cool conversations with old-timers who call you sonny and Ms while grabbing your wrist and pinching your cheek. We recommend accepting their wisdom and then moving on before you cool down. You've been warned...
One of the coolest things about the shoes on our list is that other than looks, they tend to perform as well or even better than your standard modern design. With the exception of the Nike Cortez, which is a little more fashion oriented than the rest of the list, all of these shoes can be worn for running long distances while keeping your feet cushioned, supported, and happy.
Yes please! That's how we roll at the RunnerClick offices and we'd love for you to join us ;)
When it comes to retro style, it's hard to beat a pair of Chuck's. Simple, classic, affordable, and heck, you can even draw on them to show your personal style. Unfortunately when it comes to running however, Chucks don't offer much in the way of cushioning or long-term support, and there's a good chance your feet will be calling out for mercy after just a mile or two.
We recommend saving the Chuck's for looking cool running errands around town, and getting a pair from our list to cover your running and style needs.