The Fabre BL-S 2.0 by Onitsuka Tiger is based on a 1975 basketball shoe design.

If you are thinking Air Jordans, you’re on the right track. Sort of. Indeed, the launch of the iconic Nike high-tops in 1985 set the foundation for the luxury sneaker market today which has triggered a race between fashion houses and sports houses as to who can create the most monstrous and next big cult hit. Along the way, they’ve stumbled on a gold mine. Consultancy firm Bain & Co put the sales of the sneakers to be at 3.5 billion euros (S$5.44 billion) in 2017, outperforming even handbags which were once the bread and butter goods of fashion houses.

The Resort ’20 “Draft”

But the spotlight now is on another category of vintage hoop sneakers. And this is where the basketball trajectory we were on earlier matters. In particular, the retro ’70s models that held court among NBA players before the time of present-day NBA style icons like Russell Westbrook, LeBron James, and PJ Tucker are enjoying a resurgence in fashion. Earlier this month, Onitsuka Tiger launched its Fabre BL-S 2.0 which comes with thicker insoles that are more flexible than the original Fabre BL-S basketball shoes from 1975 that inspired the design. In January, Converse updated its original basketball sneakers from 1974 – the One Star – in eye-catching Gen Z-approved hues like yellow and purple.

Even fashion labels have, ehem, court on. A look at the upcoming Resort ’20 collections by Prada, Coach 1941 and Chloe show how designers are ditching the chunky dad sneakers aesthetic for a narrower vintage silhouette that calls to mind iconic designs like Puma’s Clyde from 1973 and Nike’s Bruin from 1972. Phillip Lim pairs up with Japanese shoe factory Moonstar for its versions which come with vulcanised rubber soles.

The Essentials Out In Stores Now

What stood out most about this sneakers revival is not how they go big on that street hype, but rather how the shoes add a relaxed and unpretentious touch to relaxed elegance next season. After all, before the flashy pizzazz of Westbrook and gang, just remember that the O.G. basketball fashion stars like Walt ‘Clyde’ Frazier already earned their style stripes in this kind of shoes.