With Andre Agassi back under contract with Nike we’ve already seen the Tech Challenge Huarache make a comeback, but now it’s time for one of his greatest hits to re-release – say hello once again to the NIKE AIR TECH CHALLENGE II ‘HOT LAVA’.
First of all let’s get Kanye out of the way. Yes, the Air Yeezy II uses the same sole unit as the Tech Challenge II, and that’s definitely fuelling the hype for this release. As far as we’re concerned that’s wrong; the Tech Challenge II is no hypester shoe, it’s a true classic with genuine sporting credentials—and it helped change the game.
Tinker Hatfield’s mission in designing the Tech Challenge II was simple: take the original ’88 Tech Challenge and turn it up even louder! This saw the mid-height design that used elements of cross-training and basketball shoes for support and cushioning get beefed up further with reinforced toe sections, visible air midsoles, and even bolder colours.
The neon pink ‘hot lava’ colourway was the winner back then, with Andre taking them to the finals of the French Open in 1990. No surprises then that this big hitter is the first colourway back out of the archives for 2014. We last saw these in 2008, a release which was pretty true to the original but sat around on sales shelves. This time heads are more than ready, and these aren’t hanging about. So how do they compare?
Side by side there’s not much to choose between these and the ’08s – the older pair uses slightly different shades of lava on the swoosh and side panels, and has a brighter neon in places, while the ’14 uses the same slightly dimmer shade consistently. The tones of grey again differ slightly between old and new and the midsole on the ’08s has better quality paint, but otherwise shape, build and materials are very close and both run true to size.
So whilst they’re not perfect, the AIR TECH CHALLENGE II ‘HOT LAVA’ is still a sharp looking representation of one of the greatest Agassi shoes, and one of Nike’s killer models that set the tone for the 90’s. You should own a pair if you can get your hands on them!
Whilst most places sold out with the quickness, there’s still a couple of pairs left at retail, and with talk of possible restocks we advise you keep an eye on the link-through below. And keep one eye on the site and our social feeds for info on the forthcoming colourways, that are set to drop real soon too.