Nike is by far the biggest sportswear brand ever. The brand has been pumping out sneakers since January 25, 1964. That was 58 years ago. Since then, Nike has made billions of shoes. However, not all of them are iconic. Most aren’t remembered by multiple generations of sneaker fans. A lot of them don’t deserve a retro rerelease. That’s why we made this list, to give you the inside scoop on the best Nike retro shoes currently available.
If all you’re looking for is a fabulous-looking pair of Nike retro shoes, this is an excellent time to be in the market as there are a ton of choices. But maybe you’re a more discerning consumer that wants some quality materials and craftsmanship alongside the classic look. That’s where WearTesters can help you.
We review hundreds of retro basketball sneakers, including ones from Nike, and there’s no more discerning sneakerhead than Chris Chase, the most prolific sneaker reviewer of all time. He goes over every detail of a shoe and isn’t shy about calling out poorly built shoes. So with that expertise in mind, here are our picks for the best Nike retro shoes.
Last updated 9.28.2022
Best Nike Retro Shoes – Available for Retail
Nike Zoom Flight 95 Mavs
The Nike Zoom Flight 95 Mavs brings us a colorway really close to what Jason Kidd wore back in his prime. This is the first time this Mavs PE has been released to the public. It features a gorgeous outsole that will last, even for outdoor hoopers. The cushion setup is forefoot Zoom Air with Nike Air in the heel. The leather upper does feel cheap though. See the full review. Retail Price: $160
Nike LeBron 3 Barbershop
The Nike LeBron 3 Barbershop brings back one of the iconic LeBron James shoes. The rubber outsole is thick and perfect for outdoor hoopers. The midsole is full-length Phylon with Pebax and features a comfortable setup: heel and forefoot Zoom Air. The leather upper smells fantastic, so if you’re one to take a whiff of your sneakers, this is a good option. The laces are rope-style with metal tips. See the full review. Retail Price: $185
Nike Air Trainer SC 2022
The Nike Air Trainer SC 2022 is Bo Jackson’s shoe returning in the modern era. It was designed by Tinker Hatfield and was a shoe meant to handle all sports and workouts, much like two-sport athlete Bo Jackson himself. The midsole is a classic polyurethane with Nike Air Sole. The upper is a mixture of genuine and synthetic leather that gives the shoe multiple looks from different angles. The ankle pillows look like the ones from the Air Jordan 5 and Air Jordan 6, giving it that extra retro look. See the full review. Retail Price: $150
Nike Air Max CB 94 Suns
The Nike Air Max CB 94 Suns will make Charles Barkley fans happy. The midsole is supposedly polyurethane, but the brand released no official tech specs. But we can tell you for certain that it’s comfortable. There’s also a visible heel Air Max unit for impact protection. The upper features cheap leather, but it looks ok, and at least it’s leather. See the full review. Retail Price: $160
Nike Air Trainer 1
The Nike Air Trainer 1 is the first cross-training shoe in the history of the world. If that doesn’t scream iconic sneaker, we don’t know what does. The midsole is full-length polyurethane combined with a Nike Air Sole, a standard for that era of footwear. The overlays are of better quality than the base layer. We’d rather have it all be excellent quality, but we’ll take what we can get. The strap is similar to the one seen on the Air Jordan Legacy 312. See the full review. Retail Price: $125
Nike Air Pegasus 83 Premium
The Nike Pegasus 83 Premium is a remastered version of the silhouette released in 1983. The star of the show is the material quality. For $100, you’re getting better than expected details. The leathers used are thicker, and there’s even leather lining the collar and the insoles. The suede feels good to the touch as well. Even the nylon is solid stuff. Plus, the comfort is good enough for all-day wear. Read the full review. Retail Price: $100
Nike Air Flight Lite Mid Olympic
The Nike Air Flight Lite Mid Olympic was originally released in 1992 ahead of the Summer Olympics. This release is very close to the shoes worn by Scottie Pippen and Chris Mullin as members of the Dream Team. The shoe is playable and the outsole is ready for outdoor action. The Phylon midsole with heel and forefoot Nike Air Soles are comfortable, especially for a retro. The upper is basically particleboard leather. See the full review. Retail Price: $120
Nike Air Monarch IV
The Nike Air Monarch IV is an always available retro, despite being most well-known as the ultimate dad shoe. And it is just that. The highlight of the shoe is its comfort. The foam midsole combined with full-length Air ensures you’re comfortable mowing the lawn, standing around at a barbecue, or any other normal Dad activity. The leather upper molds to your feet and relieves pressure. Read the full review. Retail Price: $75
Nike Air Sonic Flight
The Nike Air Sonic Flight is a piece of Chris’ sneaker history. The midsole is especially interesting. It’s a one-piece cup sole with an arch EVA piece. There’s also a heel Air-Sole unit hidden within the midsole. The outsole is thick, and they don’t make shoes like this anymore. The insole is made of foam for additional comfort, and it’s board-lasted, the old-fashioned way of including torsional support. See the full review. Retail Price: $140
Best Nike Retro Shoes Available for Resale
These best Nike Retro shoes are available on the various resale platforms for close to retail price.
Nike Air Penny 1 Orlando 2022
The Nike Air Penny 1 Orlando 2022 pays homage to the team where Penny Hardaway started his career: the Orlando Magic. You can think of it as the LeBron line before the LeBron line. It has Air Max in the heel with a large volume Zoom Air unit in the forefoot. The Phylon midsole is fluffy and lightweight, making the shoe even more comfortable. The upper is all synthetic nubuck. See the full review. Retail Price: $170
Air Jordan 7 Citrus
The Air Jordan 7 Citrus is like most Air Jordan 7s in many ways but unique in many others. Recent releases of this silhouette have had a Protro treatment without Jordan Brand calling it that. The original tech specs were a combination of polyurethane and Air Sole. This release has a foam midsole, probably Phylon, with a full-length, top-loaded Nike Air unit. The nubuck upper is also excellent. This stays true to the original 2006 release. See the full review. Retail Price: $200
The Air Jordan 1 Low OG Mystic Navy was previously released as a retro in 2015. This release from 2022 features many of the same aspects as that one. The Wings logo is in the proper place and done the right way. The midsole is still the same: a rubber cup sole with a polyurethane wedge and an encapsulated Air Sole unit. The insoles are better than last, and the leather upper is almost premium. Maybe we’ll get a proper Air Jordan 1 Low OG release soon. See the full review. Price: $130
Air Jordan 3 Desert Elephant
The Air Jordan 3 Desert Elephant is close in color blocking to the original releases of the AJ 3 in 1988. The shape is very streamlined and not like most Air Jordan 3 releases. The leather panels are of excellent quality by Jordan Brand standards. Don’t worry about it being stiff at first. That’s how quality leather behaves. You’ll also get proper polyurethane insoles and real suede. The midsole is pre-vintaged, which is the trend nowadays. See the full review. Price: $200
Air Jordan 3 Dark Iris
The Air Jordan 3 Dark Iris is among a plethora of recent Air Jordan 3 releases from Jordan Brand. The leather quality makes this stand out and worthy of a spot on the list. We give Jordan Brand credit when and where it’s due. The leather upper can be described as fabulous, and the whole package includes polyurethane insoles and a thicker elephant print. We just think the tongue logo is a little weird. See the full review. Price: $200
Air Jordan 6 Red Oreo
The Air Jordan 6 Red Oreo had some release issues, but the shoe itself is fantastic. The polyurethane midsole with an encapsulated Nike Air Sole unit in the forefoot and a visible one in the heel is typical for the Air Jordan 6. Like the OG, the shoe is board-lasted to give it rigidity. However, there’s no 3M backing at the heel of the upper. The leather is good quality, but the toe is a bit too boxy for it to be a 1:1 retro. The splatter print looks tremendous and garners the Oreo name, although it’s not an official collab. See the full review. Price: $200
Air Jordan 2 A Ma Maniére
The Air Jordan 2 A Ma Maniére is a collab from Jordan Brand that returned the hype for the criminally underrated Air Jordan 2. As you would expect from a collab release, everything is premium. The leather upper is cracked (which isn’t for everyone). Even the Wings logo is premium leather. The inner lining is quilted and heavily padded to add to the premium experience and comfort. If only each Air Jordan retro release were like this, the sneaker world would be a better place. See the full review. Price: $225
Air Jordan 3 Dark Mocha
The Air Jordan 3 Dark Mocha is primarily for the ladies, though men can still enjoy it if they go up one and a half sizes. The upper leather can be described as super soft and buttery. The toe shape is on point and not as boxy as other releases. The tongue is also the original style with the padding tucked in and invisible from the front view. The shoe comes in a special styled box. We know what you’re thinking: it looks like the Air Jordan 3 Mocha from 2018. And it does. But that’s ok if you like the look. See the full review. Price: $200
Got any suggestions for shoes we should add to our best Nike retro shoes list? Comment below or message us on Twitter or Instagram with your suggestions.