At eluXive, one of our favorite things to do is to introduce you to unique styles that often get overlooked in the messy, quickly evolving fashion landscape. With the recent release of the Stussy x Nike Vandal collaboration, we thought it was the perfect time to launch the exclusive collection of rare Nike Vandals we’ve been assembling over the years.
The Nike Vandal was originally released in 1984, during the ‘Golden Age’ of Nike Basketball that spawned classics like the Air Force 1, Air Jordan 1, and Nike Dunk. Designed by Peter Moore (who also penned the Air Jordan 1 and Nike Dunk) the Vandal never sold as well as the aforementioned sneakers and quickly went to discount. This led to the Vandal becoming a preferred shoe of emerging hip-hop subcultures like B-boys and break dancers, who gravitated to the shoe due to its classic style and low price. While the AF1, AJ1, and Dunk are considered by many sneakerheads to be some of the most influential shoes ever released, Vandal production quietly ceased in 1987 as Nike chose to gravitate toward products that used their newly successful ‘Air’ technology.
This history is also reflected in the seminal 1984 movie The Terminator in which Kyle Reese (played by Arnold Schwarzenegger) snags a black and silver pair from a clearance pile at a sporting goods store and then wears them throughout the film. The Vandal once again received significant screen time the following year in 1985’s Back to the Future. Doc Brown (played by Peter Lloyd) wears a bright orange pair of Vandals, a perfect shoe for the character given that a disgraced scientist would undoubtedly seek out something quirky, cheap and comfortable.
After a long break in production, the Vandal returned in the early 2000s wearing premium materials and serving as the base for various collaborations. Many sneakerheads of the era fondly remember releases such as the West Indies Pack, Laser Pack, Tweed Pack, VNTG Pack, and Royale Pack, but most won’t remember that there was a Nike Vandal in each of those collections.
While the Vandal will undoubtedly never reach the status of other legendary 80’s basketball sneakers, we think they deserve to be remembered and represent a sort of individuality we feel is sorely lacking in today’s sneaker culture. Click HERE to shop our capsule collection of retro Nike Vandals.