The Air Stab has been missing from Nike's arsenal of retro runners. It's not because of slumping sales figures or the public falling out of favor with the sneaker, which was originally released in 1988 to give runners the benefits of stability and Air cushioning. But the Air Stab has a much shakier past than other sneakers in Nike's running line.
In July 2008, the Air Stab was pulled from shelves in the UK due to a high-volume of deaths by stabbing, where sneakers such as the Stab have more cultural value than they do in the U.S. This stems from two security guards receiving knife wounds to their legs and backs when they confronted two shoplifters at Niketown in London, The Daily Mail reported.
That incident struck too close to home for Nike, and it prompted the brand to release the following statement:
"Given the current climate we have withdrawn the shoe indefinitely from Nike's own stores in the UK. While it may be an unfortunate coincidence timing-wise, given current problems regarding knife crime, we completely reject the idea that we are in any way condoning or encouraging the issue of knife usage," in reference to the Stab.
The shoplifters weren't trying to steal Stabs, either. They were there to boost clothes. At that point of the year, 53 people had already been killed in London due to knife violence. And since that point, the Stab has disappeared.
Nike later made the sneaker available to iD at its 21 Mercer store. But other than that, the Stab remains a memory in the back of people's closets. Which is a shame: The "Electric Green" O.G. colorway of the Stab is well overdue for a re-retro since it was last produced in 2006, and the Foot Patrol collaboration was too good. Also, let's not forget the "Runnin' n Gunnin'" Stabs that caused some critics to raise a brow to the sneaker with the unfortunate name.
For those wanting to see the Stab come back, though, think about this: Too often we hear about sneaker violence, but this is a case where Nike acknowledged the connection, albeit however loose it was, between people dying or getting hurt and a sneaker. The brand was doing all it could to right the ship, and that meant pulling the Stab from stores.
Six years later, and there haven't been soon-to-be-released versions of the Stab popping up on Instagram and sneaker blogs. So we have to assume that the Stab has found its resting place in Nike's archives, for however long that may be.