Nike’s best-selling Vintage Blazer Mid ’77 review


The Nike Blazer has been around in one form or another for almost 50 years. (49 to be exact.) First designed for the NBA legend George “The Ice Man” Gervin in 1972, it was the third Nike sneaker of all time, just a year after Nike abandoned its old name, Blue Ribbon Sports, and adopted its iconic logo, the Swoosh (designed by Carolyn Davidson). The Blazer, a nod to Nike HQ’s hometown team, the Portland Trailblazers, came 12 years before Nike signed Michael Jordan – in layman’s terms, strange as it sounds, Nike was still very New.

Like Nike’s first two sneakers, an early take on the Waffle Racer and Nike Cortez, the Blazer has lagged behind. A design formula that demanded equal parts of simplicity and performance (at least by standards at the time) resulted in a chain of sneakers that would prove to be as timeless as they were groundbreaking. All three now remain in Nike’s rotation, and with consistent success as well. (Fun fact: The Iceman often wore custom pairs in his image – Iceman imprinted on both heels where the Nike logo is now located. This was the very first signature shoe.)

Nike

The Blazer, however, saw a more sudden surge in interest in 2018. In the final months of this year, designer Virgil Abloh, through his Off-White brand, dropped 10 reimagined Nike sneakers. Among them were a few iterations of the iconic Blazer, though these seemed both deconstructed and remade by a talented designer. There was a black version with an exaggerated white swoosh and a beige version with a bold orange logo. At the time, Nike was still selling the Blazer, both unadorned and an SB edition (which stands for skateboard).

The Blazer I love most – and the one I’m reviewing here – became the only version of Nike between late 2018 and mid-2020. It’s not that different from the original Blazer or the SB (or of the Off – White, Supreme, or Stüssy editions), but there are nonetheless subtle differences (and plenty of design improvements) that in my opinion make the newer version the best iteration yet (and possibly most faithful to the original).

The Nike Blazer Mid ’77 Vintage

Good

The Nike Blazer Mid ’77 Vintage is simple. However, for sneaker enthusiasts, maybe too much Easy. It marries a foam-infused nylon tongue with leather uppers, flat cotton laces, suede accents, and a vulcanized rubber sole, resulting in a style that resembles’ 70s commercials (and athletes): the atypical font on the heel and the vintage logo of the tongue underline this atmosphere.

Although it was originally a basketball shoe, it has firmly established itself as a lifestyle option now. It doesn’t come equipped with all the bells and whistles of one of LeBron’s iconic sneakers, because, well, he doesn’t need them. They are very comfortable, have a classic look without being kitsch and adapt to all kinds of outfits. Like the Chuck Taylor All Star, the Blazer is tall enough to hide under pants in fall and winter and a solid option for wearers of shorts in spring and summer. Plus, they’re hitting the shelves at an affordable, fixed price of $ 100. Often, because there are a lot of them, they are also offered for sale. I found pairs for around $ 50. Considering the suede and leather sneakers, this is quite affordable compared to the Nike mesh sneakers which often sell for higher prices.

But, best of all, the Blazer comes in a seemingly endless array of colors: white, gray, and sail blue? Yeah. All white? Sure. White and Black? This too. You’d be hard pressed to find a pair that you wouldn’t like (or one that doesn’t match the clothes you already own). And that’s part of the reason the Blazer is still so successful. It sits ideally, at least aesthetically, between rare and universal – just like the Air Force 1, Killshot 2 and, you guessed it, the Jordan 1. It also helps that there is a real tradition – a anniversary collaboration with retailer Slam Jam called Class of 1977, where the ’77 came from – behind its retro appearance.

blazer nike mi '77 vintage

Nike

The bad

While Nike is renowned for its performance technologies – even back when this sneaker was originally discontinued – the most impressive advancements are missing from the Blazer. Reasonably, given that the sneaker is over $ 100, but wearers might rightly complain about not doing as much to support your arches or cushion your heels or the soles of your feet as they should.

While these are a pair that you could probably wear every day, I’ve seen people pair them with a costume; it’s debatable, but you could do it – I wouldn’t recommend doing this if you have any pre-existing issues with your feet. Sure, they’re more comfortable than hard-bottomed dress shoes, but they don’t offer the cushioned ride of an Air Max or Air Max 270.

Many reviewers cite a narrow footbed, while others cite stiffness and slight discoloration compared to photos shown online. Most notably, wearers of the white / black version complained of a pink / peach tongue. If you take a close look at Nike’s e-commerce snaps, you can kind of see the difference in the tone of the tongue compared to the stark white laces. This is an additional element that refers to previous editions and those that have aged over the years. Again, the retro-tinged aesthetic isn’t for everyone, and the Blazer Mid ’77 Vintage, as the name suggests, is certainly channeling another era.

The verdict

Granted, I don’t own a pair of Nike Blazer Mid ’77 Vintages – at least not currently. I carried a couple of them in the floor and then moved on to different silhouettes. I would push for a similar path for any hi-top sneaker enthusiast – or newbie, for that matter. They’re simple, comfortable, and have a uniqueness usually reserved for a designer pair that you can only snag on resale sites (and up to four times the retail price).

Shop

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