Classics Revisited: Nike Mac Attack (1984)
The Nike Mac Attack of 1984 is less about the actual sneaker and more about the man who wore the shoe; by some definition, it is the ultimate signature shoe. The Mac Attack was a slap in the face of the conventional all-white designs that made up the bulk of tennis footwear, opting for a grim Light Silver/Black colorway and the checkerboard tongue label in a unique mid-cut design and complicated forefoot design. It was released in just one colorway, so like you would perceive McEnroe the player, you were either going to love or hate the shoe. As we all remember, Jon McEnroe’s top level of play was overshadowed by his temper tantrums, whiny attitude, and unfiltered vocabulary, but it was his jerk-like attitude that sorta paved the way for Nike’s direction of picking out its signature athletes – the Andre Agassis, Charles Barkleys, and the Dennis Rodmans of the pro-sports world.
McEnroe was a refreshing jolt of energy in a star-studded yet relatively well-behaved sport; the earliest ad posters for McEnroe depicted him as a “Rebel With A Cause”, donning dark trench coats or brown leather jackets with collars popped firmly. Since ’84, ‘The Mac’ was never re-issued in its original form, with the recent Nike Sportswear Manor being the closest of kin (it didn’t have a Swoosh and went with a simpler midsole/outsole). More of this incredible Classics Revisited piece below, so take a look and stay tuned for more as we’ll serve up some more Nike Tennis aces later this week.
Nike Mac Attack
Photos: pushing_weight on eBay
Nice mention of my favorite tennis shoe of all time. That's twice in one week, since Adam Leaventon's most excellent 50 Greatest Tennis Shoes of All Time article on Complex that was posted here a few days back.
I'll just mention here [as I did in Adam's comment section] that these came in two colorways. At least I had them in two. The other one was mostly white with black trim. The pale grey was replaced by white and if I recall correctly, the forefoot nylon, swoosh, black heel tab and ankle padding were black like the more common grey models. The sole was exactly the same, as was the checkerboard tongue tab colors. I guess they might have made this to cater to the more mainstream audience and club player who couldn't waltz into their local club with grey and black kicks but I never remember seeing another pair of them in my life. There might be pics of me wearing them floating around my parents' house. I'll have to see and send photo confirmation.
For what it's worth [even as a kid when I obsessed over these things] I also recall seeing a pic of Mac wearing a pair of these in the standard colorway, but with the forefoot nylon piece in light grey instead of black. The part between the eyelet straps was still black, though. My other sneaker-obsessed friend and I conjectured over these and never saw them ever again.
I also question the 1984 release date. Did Mac wear anything between these and the Air Trainer 1? I sort of though these were in the more from the 85-86 era. In photos at Wimbledon you can look up with a quick browser search, you can note he's in Challenge Courts [also featured in the Complex article]