The 50 Greatest Tennis Sneakers of All Time

5. Nike Air Ace

Year Released: 1988

The 1988 Air Ace is more slept on than Krown Rulers, Low Profile and Tempurpedic combined. I never owned these in 1988, and in fact I only saw them once in a store. These were technical tennis shoes, and I don't think they made it much beyond pro shops and sporting goods stores. So if you missed these, it's because they weren't there (or because you weren't there. . . you are 20, and this was 1988). So to me, Air Ace 88, for a long time, was part of a personal mythology: "no, b, I swear to god I saw some lowtop Revolutions in this one store." Until one fine day way after the fact when I got my hands on a pair, at a store called [I ain't telling] in [I ain't telling], New Jersey. I think the key to this shoe for me is the the shape, which is practically perfect, and the inner structure of the shoe. Nike called it a "Footframe" with a "Dynamic Fit Sleeve." Actually, no. The key to this shoe for me was that I couldn't have it. That was also the key thing about my girl, but then I got her, and I still like her. So maybe it was the shape. Anyhow, there was also a 3/4 planned for Fall 1988. One colorway only—white-capri blue-yellow. I have never seen it in person, and I think it got dropped before it ever hit the market. The Air Ace was dead in six months, by the way. *Please, my man, don't confuse this with the 1983 Air Ace, which was reissued in more colors than we ever needed in 2000 to take out the PUMA GV Special, which it did.

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