The Nike Mac Attack, a tennis sneaker originally produced for John McEnroe in 1984, will return as a retro for the first time ever next year, sneaker industry sources tell Complex. According to one source, the retro treatment will include a collaboration with retailer Social Status that’s expected to launch in May 2023.
Nike did not respond to a request for comment about the upcoming retro; Social Status declined to comment about its collab. There are no image leaks of the retro Mac Attack, and the pairs shown here are originals.
Although next year will mark the first proper retro of the Mac Attack, Nike has flirted with bringing the shoe back before. In early 2012, the brand released the Nike Manor, a Swoosh-less retro design based on the Mac Attack. Samples of Mac Attack retros have circulated in recent years, suggesting Nike was planning a retro toward the end of the last decade, but the shoe was never put back into production.
More recently, some of Nike’s biggest endorsers have worn pairs of vintage Mac Attacks in what now feel a bit like calculated moves to build hype around the model’s eventual return. LeBron James wore Mac Attacks in January 2021, walking the NBA tunnel in a rare version of the shoe outfitted with a grass-specific sole. A Nike employee helped source that size 15 for James from collector Jon Migdal, who loaned them out and now has the shoes back in his possession.
Travis Scott wore a pair of vintage Mac Attacks in March 2021, then broke the shoes out again for a courtside appearance at a Brooklyn Nets playoff game that June. He got his pair from Los Angeles-based sneaker shop Rif in January 2021.
According to Rif co-owner Jeffrey Malabanan, the sneakers had been sitting at the shop for around 10 years before the rapper picked them up. The pair was pristine, complete with its original box. The Mac Attacks were listed at $500, but Rif actually gifted them to Travis as a token of appreciation for his patronage.
“He wanted to come by the new shop and show support,” Malabanan says. “He dropped, like, $20,000 on Dunks and SBs.”
Malabanan recalls that a friend of his at Nike had reached out about getting the Mac Attacks for Travis, who apparently needed them for inspiration on his own Nike projects. Although he was happy to make the connection, it struck him as an odd request.
“That’s the most random shoe somebody can ask for in brand-new condition with box and everything,” Malabanan says.
The ask for Mac Attacks makes a bit more sense now—with Nike prepping a retro for 2023, it wouldn’t be unreasonable to expect the brand to have gotten an early lead on fueling anticipation for the shoe. But the former Nike employee who helped Travis find the vintage pair at Rif insists that it wasn’t part of a marketing push, and was motivated instead by the artist’s genuine appreciation for the shoe.
Whether those moments of A-list Nike affiliates breaking out the Mac Attack affect the model’s retro success will be tested when the shoe returns next year. But Malabanan has already seen the trickle-down hype on the secondary market. Resale prices immediately went up. How many other people reached out to him to get a pair of Mac Attacks after Travis wore a pair publicly?
“Everybody,” Malabanan says.