Everything You Need to Know About Vintage Nike


HF Lanzer

vintage nike spellout sweatshirt

What’s in a name? Well, you gotta hand it to Nike when we’re talking names! You can’t help wondering if the original ‘Blue Ribbon Sports’, chosen by Bill Bowerman and Phil Knight when they founded their company in 1964, would indeed have smelled quite so sweet for so many years!

It was 1971 when this not particularly snappy company name came up for discussion, and in flew the winged Greek goddess of victory, Nike, to join the brand-brainstorming pot … only to emerge as the out and out winner! Swoosh!

Once fully renamed and rebranded for the modern sportswear world, the company powered ahead with manufacturing iconic Nike 70s sweatshirts, 80s shell suits, 90s big hitting hoodies and on to 00s quality leisure apparel, including tracksuit tops, shorts, coats and jackets.

So, you see, that is why today, there is such an awesome array of quality vintage gems available, all proudly carrying the reliable Nike name. And who doesn’t want something they can rely on in these uncertain times? Still undecided as to whether vintage Nike really is for you? Then take a look at our guide to Vintage 90s Nike T-Shirts and join us on this discovery of everything you need to know about vintage Nike.

vintage nike swooshes

What is Vintage Nike?

What is Vintage Clothing? is a great intro blog to the V-word, ‘vintage’, but today’s closer look at Nike vintage takes things to the next level! Nike is one of the most recognisable brands in the world, and for good reason. The company has built a global empire on the back of its innovative and stylish products. And vintage Nike has become one of the most sought-after vintage clothing brands on the market. Nowadays, vintage is a term used in fashion to describe pre-worn clothing made 20–100 years ago, but for a piece of apparel to qualify as truly vintage, it must display design elements representative of the trends at its time of production. And Nike has examples of these in spades!

So, as you see, vintage Nike is any Nike piece manufactured 20+ years ago, be it anything from the founding days of Bill Bowerman and Phil Knight to the rise of Michael Jordan and the launch of Air Max – all of these clothes are now considered vintage Nike. Plenty to choose from, huh?

nike stacked spellout sweatshirt

Why is Vintage Nike Expensive?

Vintage branded clothing, including NikeAdidasTommy Hilfiger are truly as expensive as you want them to be. The joy of vintage shopping is that the price range covers all budgets. Of course, not all Nike vintage clothing is expensive, and there are many ways you can avoid paying a high ticket price on your piece, as we explain in our blog, Where to Buy Affordable Vintage Clothing. But, as we are looking here specifically at the higher end of the market, you may well encounter a vintage Nike piece selling for £80–£100 or more. Incredulous, you think? Well, there are valid reasons for this.

There are three key elements to consider in the vintage field: firstly, vintage Nike clothing was typically made with higher quality materials and finishing techniques than modern equivalents; secondly, vintage Nike clothing is increasingly scarce, which means there is high demand and limited supply, and thirdly, the unique style of vintage Nike clothing is widely regarded as a worthy investment in itself. So, if you are looking for something special, be prepared to pay a bit more.

nike jacket puffer

Why is Vintage Nike Popular?

There are many reasons why vintage Nike clothing is currently riding high in the popularity stakes, but the key one is simply that which we mentioned above: the legendary quality of Nike’s vintage clothing. This factor consistently ensured all Nike garments were top notch, and add to this, their amazing choice of designs, colours, fits, styles and graphics and we’re back to the goddess of victory providing this eponymous brand with winning numbers time after time.

A further reason for Nike’s popularity, is that vintage pieces made by the company, as well as their contemporaries, through the 80s90s and 00s have a highly creative design element, with vibrant colours and bold styles, which you just don’t see replicated these days. Vintage Nike collections were undeniably much more dynamic than current designs, which gave these clothes a far greater sense of individuality than those pumped out today by the same brands for the impatient mass-market consumers.

We’ve talked to many customers over the years about the ‘V-Factor’, and although they can’t exactly pinpoint why they find Vintage designs so much more appealing and cool, they do say, “There’s just something about them”. For a closer look at the intangible allure, vvvroom, je ne sais quoi nature of a vintage wardrobe, delve into our blog Why Is Vintage Clothing So Popular?

vintage nike full outfit

How Can I Identify a Fake Vintage Nike Item?

First, check the label(s). Below, you can see the comparison between an authentic 90s Nike label and a counterfeit product with a Nike label. Use google lens on the label of a piece of clothing you think is fake and compare with the genuine one here to see the differences. Next, look for signs of wear and tear. Vintage pieces of clothing should display age-related damage, considering they will have been round the block a few times. If an item looks brand new, this could indicate it is a fake, however … this is not always the case, as an item could be a deadstock number, which was still manufactured in the 90s but never actually sold or worn. Finally, trust your gut instinct. If something does not feel right about a piece of vintage clothing, chances are, it is not authentic.

fake vs authentic vintage nike labels

How Can I Identify a Vintage Nike Item?

The same way you tell if it is fake! First, always check the label(s). Below are all Nike labels by year, so you can compare: and again, use google lens to see other labels on the web and descriptions of what year those labels were from. Another way to help identify the genuine and avoid the fakes, is to familiarise yourself fully with the Nike vintage clothing palette by reading blogs and guides, such as Guide To: The Vintage 90s Nike Crewneck Sweatshirt.

80s vintage nike labels

90s nike labels

nike 00s labels

Where Can I Buy Vintage Nike?

Pretty much every vintage retailer carries vintage Nike among their stock, and as knowledge is power, arm yourself with as much info as possible about sales outlets out there, Best Online Vintage Stores 2022. You can browse online marketplaces, such as Depop, Vinted and eBay, as well as checking a broad sweep of online retailers, including ourselves, Linear Vintage, Payday Vintage and Thrifted. Or simply head out to an in-person event, such as a Kilo Sale, charity shop, pop-up or a good old physical vintage store near you. You are sure to find other vintage lovers there with knowledge they can share with you to help expand still further your understanding of the vintage world.

vintage nike t-shirts


Let’s face it, peeps, who wouldn’t Like a vintage Nike or two in their collection? This look at vintage Nike clothing has hopefully whetted your appetite to go out and track down that Nike number every wardrobe deserves. Be it a high-end item of great rarity or a modest little stalwart which will provide you with years of trusty service, the quality Nike name on a vintage label remains as sweet as it ever was.

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