This is one of the strangest retro decisions in a while.
Who actually lusted after a pair of Nike
Air Base II back in the day? Nobody we knew. Who would fiend for a budget mid-range running shoe when there were Structures, Air Max and the Pegasus to go crazy for, among other classics from the 1990/91 seasons? Very, very odd. Was this one picked out the archives at random? That's not to say the Air Base II is a bad shoe by any means, but this was an attainable eBay steal alongside models like the Waffle Runner II when prices on rarer stuff was skyrocketing. That's not to say we weren't feeling the rarer Terra ACG colourway (the shoe was released around the same time as the Base II), but just like the release of the budget-in-its-day Delta Force, this is a curious pick to be brought back from the dead. The Air Base back in 1989 was a decent enough (we're sure we remember seeing it in the dark grey and purple colourway shown here which we also recall on a Waffle Runner too) and the Air Base III from 1991 was okay too. We actually prefer the mid 1990s Air Base design. But this just wasn't a slept-on or overlooked model — they were just there as we grew up.
But now literally anything over 20 years old is deemed vintage, maybe we're missing something. We just see a series of shoes that kind of squandered a cool name (there was a real life military facility called Nike air base in the Chicago area between the 1950s and 1970s). Were these released as a response to the success of the ASICS Gel Saga II (another early 1990s budget runner)? We're trying to work these out. While this retro isn't afflicted by the banana sole curse as dramatically as some Nike runners have been on their return, that silhouette seems pretty different, with a chunkier sole and a more rigid mesh. And where's the AIR SPAN II writing on the heel at? Still, looking down with a pair on, the width and forefoot design is appealing mainly because we're not precious about the original in any shape or form. But one last question — why these and not the Nike Air Span (though we'd be a bit glum if they returned with a sole like that) or Air Support? Priorities are skewed.
What's next? Air Analog? Decades? Waffle City? Plain white Air Icarus? There's definitely a market out there in 2012 for this style (neon pop colour on a 1990 silhouette still appeals) but you can get these in the New Year but can only get the Tailwind and Air Max 96 as strange hybrids? We're baffled — maybe we're just too old to analyse shoes. These drop at the start of 2013 and hopefully they won't be getting the fake vintage treatment, because out the box after 20+ years, it's glue marks rather than yellowing that sully those soles and uppers.