Reviewed & updated: October 19, 2022 by Jamie Wilson BA
The Nike Challenge Court has been a welcome reintroduction for 2012. That height and the material mix makes this pivotal John McEnroe shoe a genuine icon and with the success of the Blazer, we can see Nike eating the waters to see what else amasses mass appeal like that basketball classic.
Having been launched in VNTG form and as a Lunarlon SB edition (which we would have loved to see Supreme rework) complete with John in the ads, trading Larry’s book of freaks for a newspaper, we knew the colours were going to keep coming.
Sophisticated and Smart
This Nike Challenge Court is a particularly versatile design, with plenty of scope to go wild on that collar and the under and overlays of the upper. However, these editions play it pretty safe in wintery shades, with wool-like tennis ball texture collars, off-white outsoles and suede and ripstop nylon on the upper. These are winterised in the right way, without any daft d-rings or superfluous applications. They make for a more subtle look. The Nike Challenge Court does not command attention but offers high quality when noticed.
Brought Some Needed Colour
This is definitely a model that deserves more respect, as it made Nike tennis releases interesting at a time when conservative white low tops with some purple and green were making us yawn, while Adidas were putting out one amazing Lendl shoe after another. After this and the mighty Mac Attack, John’s typically brattish decision to go with a cross trainer over a tennis shoe changed the game’s dress code again, opening the gate for Andre to bring forth the neons. Were we sleeping, or did the red and white OG palette not get a re-release?
Feature image from Pinterest