Move over, Samba! There’s a new contender on the scene, the Onitsuka Tiger Mexico 66, and Gen Z can’t get enough.
Over the past few years, it goes without saying that the adidas Samba has had mainstream fashion in a chokehold. Dominating the streets, algorithms, and anyone who uses TikTok as their main source of fashion inspo, we’ve seen the sleek silhouette more than we’ve seen our own parents. And we’re not mad about it – there’s no denying that bangers like the OG’s and Wales Bonner Silver Samba are worth the virality they’ve received. Co-signed by IT Girls all over, from Kendall Jenner to Zoe Kravitz, it’s been a strong run for the Samba. However, as with any sneaker that spikes to popularity, longevity isn’t always promised as consumers begin to crave something less ubiquitous.
This is where our friend, the Onitsuka Tiger Mexico 66, comes in. Emerging at a time when fashion forecasters are predicting the return of indie sleaze, this nostalgic model really does tick all the boxes. And the best part about it? The model’s heritage goes wayyyyy back, before GRWM’s and Fit Checks. You might even recognise the kicks from its iconic appearances in Game of Death and Kill Bill, Vol. 1. Yes, the Onitsuka Tiger Mexico 66 is a slice of cult film royalty. If it’s good enough for Uma Thurman, it’s good enough for us.
Back in ’66, during the pre-trials of the Mexico City Olympics, the Mexico 66 marked Asics’ debut of the Tiger Stripes iconography. The emergence of the silhouette made big waves in the design of running shoes going forward, perfectly encapsulating a distinctive vintage nostalgia that is widely adored today. Don’t get me wrong, the model didn’t grow to heights of other competitors around the time, like the Nike Blazer or adidas Shelltoes. But it was this low-key appeal that resonated with indie subculture.
Although the launch of the silhouette was quite some time ago, the shoe’s relevance with public figures today couldn’t be more enticing to a Gen Z audience. Addison Rae, Bella Hadid and Hailey Bieber – just to name a few. If the Bella Hadid effect is anything to go by, then the Onitsuka Tiger Mexico 66 is definitely a strong contender to be the next big thing. Already racking up millions of views on TikTok, the retro model is often sported by fashionistas ahead of the curve, so who’s to say it won’t be everywhere by Summer? With that being said, the most recently released batch of A/W Wales Bonner Samba’s went down a treat with fashion aficionados. Considering the unparalled fire of Bonner’s vision behind some of the most hyped Samba’s released thus far, it’s a good eye not to rule them out just yet.
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