BACK TO THE NIKE MAG

 In Classics, Features, In-Depth

OR: HOW NIKE CHANGED THE PRESENT BY PREDICTING THE FUTURE IN THE PAST – WITH THE MAG.

The sneaker game is all about trying to connect to the past while moving towards the future. The movie Back to the Future took it literally. The protagonist Marty McFly, played by Michael J. Fox, travels from 1985 to 1955 and kind of loses his path on the way back. The essence of the movie is that whatever you change in the past will affect the future. But McFly also had to adapt to the past of 1955, which wasn’t too hard – black Chuck’s, leather jacket, and sunglasses. While there, he drops a few pop cultural references to Calvin Klein and Darth Vader, and casually “invents” Rock ’n’ Roll and skateboarding. The sequels followed in 1989 and 1990 with McFly traveling all the way into the future – to 2015!

The props play an important part in the movie and it seems that the producers knew exactly who to ask for advice. Just like Stanley Kubrick, who was working with NASA and the computer industry for 2001: A Space Odyssey in 1968, Universal asked the Swoosh for help on the sneaker game. They came up with the Nike MAG, including a giant box, lighting, and of course auto-lacing! The super-high top came in a striking colorway, in grey with a bit of blue in the transparent outsole, and a white Swoosh adorning the upper. It’s quite amazing how well Nike hit the taste of our time. Even down to the material, which was synthetic instead of the canvas or leather that were dominant in the ‘80s and early ‘90s. Then there was the chase scene with the hoverboard, which was branded with the Mattel insignia. On the day of the premier, the director jokingly told the media that it was real – which prompted thousands of ”orders” for the board at Mattel! But fans had to wait until 2012 until Mattel presented the Matty Collector, the original hoverboard for collectors including a great package and hover sound. The only downside – it doesn’t hover.

But Mattel wasn’t the only company paying tribute. In 2009, Nike SB released a new high-tech shoe, the TRE AD which got the nickname “Mags” because it came out in the original colors of the MAG and featured a glow-in-the-dark swoosh. Nike 6.0 also joined the reference-game with a silver Dunk with laser embossing alluding to the Delorean. Then it was silent again, until the bomb dropped in 2011: In one of the best marketing strikes of all time – including a high-tech website and viral clips including Tinker Hatfield and Doc Brown himself – the Nike MAG was announced to become reality. Quite fittingly and as you all know, it was limited to 1500 pairs, sold only online through auctions on eBay USA – the shoe of the future can only be sold without a physical price tag.

Now we’re in the actual future date of the movie, which kind of makes 2015 the year of the MAG. First of all, this year saw the invention of the first real hoverboard, tested by Tony Hawk. Then, Nike SB released a whole series of MAG-inspired colorways: a Janoski Max, Koston Mid and of course a Dunk. There wasn’t much of a buzz around this pack – maybe for a reason? The MAG with auto-lacing is still a possibility. Nike filed the patents early on and the clips with Tinker Hatfield promise that something will come – we’ll find out soon!

Text: Jürgen Blümlein

Nike Mag courtesy of The Good Will OutOR: HOW NIKE CHANGED THE PRESENT BY PREDICTING THE FUTURE IN THE PAST – WITH THE MAG.

The sneaker game is all about trying to connect to the past while moving towards the future. The movie Back to the Future took it literally. The protagonist Marty McFly, played by Michael J. Fox, travels from 1985 to 1955 and kind of loses his path on the way back. The essence of the movie is that whatever you change in the past will affect the future. But McFly also had to adapt to the past of 1955, which wasn’t too hard – black Chuck’s, leather jacket, and sunglasses. While there, he drops a few pop cultural references to Calvin Klein and Darth Vader, and casually “invents” Rock ’n’ Roll and skateboarding. The sequels followed in 1989 and 1990 with McFly traveling all the way into the future – to 2015!

The props play an important part in the movie and it seems that the producers knew exactly who to ask for advice. Just like Stanley Kubrick, who was working with NASA and the computer industry for 2001: A Space Odyssey in 1968, Universal asked the Swoosh for help on the sneaker game. They came up with the Nike MAG, including a giant box, lighting, and of course auto-lacing! The super-high top came in a striking colorway, in grey with a bit of blue in the transparent outsole, and a white Swoosh adorning the upper. It’s quite amazing how well Nike hit the taste of our time. Even down to the material, which was synthetic instead of the canvas or leather that were dominant in the ‘80s and early ‘90s. Then there was the chase scene with the hoverboard, which was branded with the Mattel insignia. On the day of the premier, the director jokingly told the media that it was real – which prompted thousands of ”orders” for the board at Mattel! But fans had to wait until 2012 until Mattel presented the Matty Collector, the original hoverboard for collectors including a great package and hover sound. The only downside – it doesn’t hover.

But Mattel wasn’t the only company paying tribute. In 2009, Nike SB released a new high-tech shoe, the TRE AD which got the nickname “Mags” because it came out in the original colors of the MAG and featured a glow-in-the-dark swoosh. Nike 6.0 also joined the reference-game with a silver Dunk with laser embossing alluding to the Delorean. Then it was silent again, until the bomb dropped in 2011: In one of the best marketing strikes of all time – including a high-tech website and viral clips including Tinker Hatfield and Doc Brown himself – the Nike MAG was announced to become reality. Quite fittingly and as you all know, it was limited to 1500 pairs, sold only online through auctions on eBay USA – the shoe of the future can only be sold without a physical price tag.

Now we’re quickly approaching the actual future reference date of the movie, which kind of makes 2015 the year of the MAG. First of all, this year saw the invention of the first real hoverboard, tested by Tony Hawk. Then, Nike SB released a whole series of MAG-inspired colorways: a Janoski Max, Koston Mid and of course a Dunk. There wasn’t much of a buzz around this pack – maybe for a reason? The Nike MAG with auto-lacing is still a possibility. Nike filed the patents early on and the clips with Tinker Hatfield promise that something will come – we’ll find out soon, in the near future!

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