December 16, 2013 BY Sneaker News / 9
In the three years since Swizz Beatz joined the Reebok team as creative director, the brand has made huge strides in regaining its place in the upper tier of the sneaker foodchain. After building some major momentum last year with the return of Allen Iverson’s Question signature model, Reebok raised the stakes considerably in 2013 – the year when “Reebok Back” transitioned completely from a statement of intent to a simple fact evidenced by twelve full months of quality product and a noticeable change in the way the brand is being perceived within the often finicky sneaker community. After drawing renewed attention to the brand in 2011 and following up with a flash of the Classics division’s potential in 2012, Reebok opened the floodgates of their archives this year and trotted out a variety of models, colorways and collaborations to rival the likes of Nike Sportswear and adidas Originals.
Sweden’s Sneakersnstuff were emblematic of Reebok’s 2013, starting off their collab-a-month calendar in January with the first of the 30th Anniversary Classic Leathers, another ongoing initiative ably carried out by members of the Reebok Certified Network all year long. From there, the year saw a huge revival of ’80s and ’90s running and training silhouettes, but it was the late-’80s through mid-’90s basketball retro re-issues that absolutely caught fire and had us feeling warmly nostalgic with the return of long absent signatures from Shaquille O’Neal, Shawn Kemp and Allen Iverson, just to name a few. Successes with the Classics and CrossFit lines as well as recent rumblings in the basketball performance space have Reebok ready to begin 2014 from their strongest position in years. Here’s how they got there with a rundown of this year’s brightest highlights.
Reebok celebrated its most prolific heritage model in 2013. Driven by the 18 Reebok Certified Network collaborations and some top notch general releases, at long last the iconic Reebok Classic was finally back in the spotlight.
After many years of hibernation, Shawn Kemp’s Kamikaze II finally came back in a big way this year. It all started with some original colorways followed by a slew of new make-ups and the promise of a Kamikaze 1 retro in 2014.
Shaquille O’Neal’s first Reebok signature shoe returned for the first time this April. The Shaq Attaq hit shelves in its OG Orlando look back in April and continued with additional installments inspired by the soon-to-be Hall of Famer’s career and personal life.
From Reebok’s biggest ever athlete to one of the pound for pound best in NBA history, Allen Iverson’s Answer 1 DMX returned in May. With the Question back on top and a strong showing by the Answer, we can only assume more Iverson retros are likely to follow.
In one of the year’s more ambitious endeavors, Swedish shop Sneakersnstuff released one Reebok collaboration for each month of the year. With an eclectic mix of running, basketball and casual classics, SNS produced one of the best single year outputs for any guest designer ever.
On the turf training side of things, a couple more of Emmitt Smith endorsed pairs returned this year. The Scrimmage came first in the spring with the Pump Paydirt Mid dropping in summer, both following the lead of the ES 22 by starting with OGs, then adding brand new styles.
Shaq’s big year included the return of his 1995-96 signature shoe. The Shaqnosis returned in the heart of summer with the OG black/white and has parlayed its mesmerizing design into several more contemporary versions since.
Reebok teamed up with arguably the hottest brand in skateboarding this summer, issuing a pack of casual collabs with PALACE Skateboards. The surprise pairing proved a smash hit and led to the first Reebok skate shoes in years.
A huge 2013 for the Kamikaze II got its exclamation point in August when Packer Shoes executed a clever throwback theme with their “Remember the Alamo” edition. Inspired by the 1996 NBA All Star Game uniforms, Shawn Kemp’s “What If” PE featured the memorable chili pepper graphic worked into the Vector logo and even got its own b-side version in December.
Back again for the first time this decade, the Reebok Inferno brought back the early ’90s vibes with its OG “Neon Sign” colorway. The Inferno spearheaded a late-summer Reebok retro running renaissance that also included some underrated sleeper silhouettes like the GL 6000 and LX 8500.
London based clothier Couverture & The Garbstore opened a shop in LA this September, commemorating the occasion with a set of ‘Outside-In’ Reebok Classics wherein a number of the brand’s iconic models were literally constructed with the interior lining materials on the exterior of the shoes.
A Bathing Ape extended its influence to a new generation of sneakerheads with the AAPE imprint coming through (after a few delays) on a woodland camo edition of the Insta Pump Fury. Looking to the future, fans of the Insta Pump Fury silhouette can expect big things in the year to come.
Two of the biggest names Nike has ever signed once wore Reeboks. Specifically, LeBron James and Kobe Bryant both had Reebok Question PEs around 2003, and Packer Shoes helped bring them to life/retail for one of the most uniquely themed two-packs in sneaker history.
Rounding out the year was a holiday set with a theme borrowed from Charles Dickens. The “Ghosts of Christmas” Shaq Attaq, Kamikaze II and Question ended the year with a bang for the three Reebok basketball retros that made the biggest impacts over the course of 2013.