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January 22nd, 2014 by Sneaker News / 15
The BBC described Andre Agassi as “perhaps the biggest worldwide star in [tennis] history,” upon his retirement in 2006. That trusted British media outlet could have removed the ‘perhaps’ and it would have ruffled fewer feathers than Agassi’s rebellious image did, flying in the face of tennis traditions. Andre’s impact extends beyond the game whose once rigid dress code he all but destroyed, into one of the defining looks of that golden age of the late ’80s/early ’90s.
Agassi’s 1989 Nike Air Tech Challenge II is the quintessential tennis shoe from this period. It refined a technical approach introduced on the Air Trainer 1 he’d worn in ’87 and introduced the first in a series of memorable prints and colors with the ‘Hot Lava’ colorway that is about to retro for just the second time this weekend. Let’s travel back now to where it all started, so we understand the full context that makes this man and this particular one of his signature shoes so important.