Another footwear-related blast from the past this evening. From dips into the brand archive, I’m convinced that Nike’s womens’ training, aerobics and total conditioning categories were the most progressive departments of the company back in the day. Nowadays women get the pink and shrink treatment to their shoes or some token offering that rhymes chicks, kicks and whatever. Beyond just getting colourways that often superseded the men’s, they were the first to be offered new technologies. There’s a popular belief that the Air Max 95 was the shoe that premiered forefoot Visible Air, but from what I’ve seen, it was a 1988 women’s fitness shoe called the Air Elite.

I’ve heard anecdotal tales of earlier experiments in it during the debut and evolution of Nike Air — bearing in mind that models like the original Air Max had a separate hidden air unit in their forefoot — but this seemed ultra progressive. Whether the Air Elite ever released in this form, or whether it stayed a sales sample confuses me. By the following season, the Air Elite was offered with the window filled in, meaning we’d have to wait a long, long time to see the front cushioning (I’m sure that there’s an atrocious innuendo in there somewhere — especially with the cinematic reference that follows).

Man like Steve Bryden, aka. the knowledge god, noticed that Sharon Stone wears the Air Elite during the fight/workout scene near the start of Total Recall. I must concede that I haven’t inspected the scene sufficiently (I may have sacrificed days of my life to inspecting a sitcom star’s shoes, but I’m not analysing Stone’s feet during this scene — there are limits to this nerd shit), but they look more like the 1989 incarnation of the shoe that lacked the extra visibility.


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