Adidas and Packer Show How To Do A Retro Sneaker

They’re better made than any recent Nike Dunk or Attack.

Courtesy Adidas
The Packer x Adidas Forum 84 Low in Pale Blue. Courtesy Adidas

Last year, Nike made a big stink about re-releasing their Mac Attack, famously worn by the famously vocal tennis legend, John McEnroe. They put out a large advertising campaign, collaborated with Travis Scott, and hoped that they could take down New Balance’s trendy 550 with their own stylist retro sneaker.

They had two problems, though; that few in the wider public cared about the silhouette, and that those of us who did were terribly disappointed with the shoes we received. I bought mine for $40, on discount, and even so, the beautiful red and white colorway and classic shape couldn’t make up for their horrific material quality.

The Nike Attack. Courtesy Nike

When the Mac Attack first came out, its leather was veg tanned and painted. By contrast, these Attacks were made with “action leather”’ a blend of “splits” suede, leather offcuts, and a thick lacquer, resulting in something that not only doesn’t look or feel like leather, but creases in an odd, quick way. It’s weak, ugly, and above all, cheap. I felt ripped-off paying $40 for them. At $120, it’s pure theft. 

The Packer x Adidas Forum 84 Low in Pale Blue. Courtesy Adidas

This is what came to mind as I opened the latest collaboration between sneaker store Packer and Adidas on their retro Forum 84 Low sneakers. Like the Attack, this is a low-top athletic sneaker, being brought back to compete with the New Balance 550, and comes at a similar price of $130. The difference, however, is that this Forum is everything the Mac Attack is not. They’re some of the best quality sneakers I’ve tried in a while — far better than any “retro” Nike — and are made with such attention to detail that if you’re interested in a stylish, retro sneaker, there’s nowhere else you should look. 

The Packer x Adidas Forum 84 Low in Pale Blue. Courtesy Adidas

First launched in 1984, the Forum was designed explicitly to be worn on court, with its designer, Jacques Chassaing, taking feedback from the very players who would wear it. This resulted in some of the details we love today, such as the “criss-cross ankle system” meant to stabilize the heel, and the puffy tongue and sides, for added protection when playing; and it was as beloved by players at the time. Before he signed with Nike, Michael Jordan was obsessed with Adidas, and it was a pair of Forums that he wore to the 1984 Olympics. 

The Packer x Adidas Forum 84 Low in Pale Blue. Courtesy Adidas

Forty years later, the team at Packer have given the shoes the respect they deserve. The midsole has a faded clay color, inspired by aging rubber, and the gentle brown tones of the toe box and upper suede and leather carries this pre-aged look. The cotton mesh lining is thick and thoroughly padded, as is the tongue, and it comes in three colorways, only differentiated by the colors of the Adidas stripes; pale blue in my pair, but also a soft lavender and a rich brown. 

Are they the most comfortable, advanced shoes on the market? Of course not; but if you’re looking for a stylish, retro pair of shoes, which is actually worth the price tag, made of thick leathers and quality suede, there is no better choice than these.


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