Q2wo on eBay

Welcome back to Sneaker Grails, your weekly look into the mind of our editor-in-chief as he tries to remember the kicks he once had and the agony he suffers when he realizes that he might be the only person who ever liked those shoes so the odds of a retro are zero. Poor guy…

Sometimes Google can be your own worst enemy. It can lead you down an internet rabbit hole of ruin full of dead links and fakes galore or it can help you confirm that a long lost pair that you had as a kid does exist and that it wasn’t just a figment of your imagination. Such was the case with the Nike Air Max Uptempo III in the Forest (aka Green) colorway.

I know I had a pair of those kicks back in the 90s but I could never find a picture of myself wearing them, unlike the white Nike Air Penny 1 or Air Jordan 1 Chicago. I distinctly remember asking my parents to buy them for me because our high school had draconian gym rules and we had to either wear plain or green sneakers. There was some NBA influence in that purchase since I had seen Scottie Pippen and Vin Baker wear them, but it was mostly because of school and the novelty of having an (almost) fully visible Air Max bubble on my feet. The green beads (I’m sure they have a fancy technical name but I called them beads like how my brother and I called Jason Kidd’s Zoom Flight 95s bug eyes) also shined in a way that made them seem like precious metal gems. And when I got them, I wore the s**t out of them for the rest of my high school years.

Vin Baker in the Nike Air Max Uptempo III Forest (NBA via Sole Collector)
Vin Baker in the Nike Air Max Uptempo III Forest (NBA via Sole Collector)

Make no mistake about it, I tried my best to keep my sneakers fresh. At least once a month I would take the time to clean all of my school kicks to keep them as “new” as possible, but they wouldn’t stay that way for long because of the rigors of high school (and because we didn’t have any concept of “social media” or “resale” back then). In time, the bubbles on my Uptempos would eventually yellow and crack and pop. But I didn’t wish for a retro yet because I just moved on to the next shoe; there was no time to be nostalgic back in those days.

A few years ago, the Nike Air Max Uptempo III returned as the Uptempo 97 but unfortunately my Forest colorway was not cool enough (if you haven’t noticed this is a recurring pattern in Sneaker Grails) to warrant a retro. While other Uptempos have also come back since then, my Forest pair remains a relic of the past. I’ve tried everywhere from Google to eBay to Kixify, but finding an authentic and wearable and playable size 11 has proven to be impossible. Someday, Nike Sportswear, someday….