Vintage Nike Tags

Vintage Nike tags help you to identify the best vintage Nike apparel. Vintage Nike is the most unique, and its appeal has grown in recent years. So, if you want to avoid missing out on a vintage Nike sweatshirt, learn how to identify one.

vintage nike tags

All Vintage Nike Tag

When trying to figure out which Nikes are vintage, look at the tags first. To determine the period of vintage Nike clothes, we may examine the design of the tag on the garments that were manufactured at the time of their production. Please be aware that all timings of when tags were utilized are estimations owing to the nature of global manufacture. Even Nike would struggle to pinpoint a certain manufacture date based only on tag data.

Nike Pinwheel Tag

  • From 1978 until 1982, this label was in use.

  • When Nike began mass-producing shoes, this was one of their very first models.

  • When compared to modern logos and labels, the logo on these labels is almost unrecognizable.

  • Repetition of Nike’s swoosh in a circle was employed to produce the pinwheel effect.

  • If you didn’t know better, you’d think these tags on genuine Nike apparel were phony since Nike’s typeface looked so different from the present standard.

Nike Orange Tag

  • It was used between 1978 and 1983.

  • For the rest of Nike’s tag designs, this was the starting point.

  • For the first time, the swoosh and Nike’s now-famous typography were used together on tags.

  • The orange swoosh on tags from this period is unusual.

Nike Blue Tag

  • 1984 through 1987 saw the usage of this designation

  • Nike’s swoosh and Nike spell out have been combined ever since.

  • This era’s tags were all one color.

  • At this time, tags also included measurements.

Nike’s Grey Tag

  • From 1987 until 1992, this label was in use.

  • The Nike emblem appears in red in the middle of a grey rectangle on a white label.

  • Compared to their predecessors, these tags are often thicker and of better quality.

  • From this era forward, tags featured measurements as well.


  • From 1987 through 1994, this label was used.

  • The majority of the design’s characteristics are similar.

  • The measurements have been removed, which is the most significant change from the previous tags.

  • When compared to its predecessor, the logo and lettering seem a little stretched.

Nike’s White Tag

  • Nike’s red swoosh and the word “Nike” stand out against the white backdrop of this label, which dates from the late 1990s.

  • Even though these tags are difficult to photograph, they typically have a gloss or shine to them and are rather thick.

  • They no longer use standard English font for sizing but have instead adopted the type used in other languages (“G” for “Grande”).


  • In the late '90s and early '00s, this label was popular.

  • These labels were mostly white.

  • The quality is worse and some of them don’t have the Nike logo on them.

Nike’s Grey Two-Tone Tag

  • In the early to mid-00s, this term was widely utilized.

  • The two-toned grey was a departure from prior designs in this category.

  • In favor of the Nike swoosh emblem, the Nike spell out was completely omitted


Another method to tell whether a Nike shoe is vintage is to look at the material it’s made of. It is common to find 50/50 cotton-polyester or nylon-cotton shirts on the market. On the coats, some zippers are thicker and more robust. Some of today’s moisture-wicking textiles won’t be used to make vintage garments.

Design & Colors

In the end, you can tell whether anything is vintage Nike just by looking at the style and color scheme of it. Primary colors and basic drawings dominated products from the early 1970s through 1983. The pinwheel emblem, which is quite popular, was often used by them. As the name suggests, this is a pinwheel made out of Nike Swooshes in various colors.

Nike’s self-promotion and the clothing’s graphics both become busier throughout the Jordan era. Clothing with slogans began appearing. Everyone was pleased to wear Nike at the time because of the brand’s popularity. Look for Nike-branded apparel that stands out and attracts attention.

People love to acquire old Nike clothes since the brand is so well-known. Vintage Nikes are simpler to detect since the brand has undergone significant evolution throughout time. Starting with the tag is a great place to begin since there are a lot of unique style guidelines and colors associated with various eras. Additionally, you may look at the item’s structure and design to determine its historical context.


Early Nike clothing had an orange swoosh and a blue “Nike” tag from 1970 until 1983. This badge indicates a vintage Nike item. Collectors call this era the orange-tag era because of the orange Nike swoosh. Finally, due to its significance, the years 1988-1993 are considered the second half of Michael Jordan’s career. The tags now include a red Nike logo. The Jumperman’s logo was added to all Air Jordan goods. Check the tag to determine whether this logo is still used on modern footwear. A red and gray marking denotes this period.

History of Vintage Nike Tags

Since its modest beginnings in 1964, Nike has amassed an illustrious history that has helped propel the company to the top of the sports clothing industry. The two co-owners of Nike, Phil Knight, and Bill Bowerman, first referred to their firm as “Blue Ribbon Sports,” but it has since evolved into the sought-after brand it is today, Nike Inc.

Nike Tags Year
Prematures Era 1970-1983
Jumpman Era 1984-1988
MJ Taveover Era 1988-1993


When it comes to athletic goods, white tags with blue Nike letters and an orange Swoosh became the standard. Nylon blends or 50/50 cotton/poly t-shirts are the norms, with a concentration on lightweight simple designs and design.

In terms of rarity, the pinwheel design is a sought-after one from this period. To create the logo, a circle of different-colored Nike swooshes is drawn around the wheel, with the word “Nike” in the script either below or above it.


For the first time in the history of sports gear, we saw a tremendous shift in Nike’s culture and key principles; this shift can be attributed to Michael Jordan. MJ signed a five-year, $2.5 million endorsement agreement with Jordan, an extraordinary bet on a young, unproven player at the age of 21.

For decades, the legendary Air Jordan 1 was the most sought-after shoe in the world, and it remains so today. Blue tags with silver Swoosh and lettering appear on Nike clothes during this period, which is when the company was at its most popular. Michael Jordan, who had just been signed, was prominently featured in the designs during this period, along with other designs for shoes like the Air Force 1, Nike Dunks, etc.

MJ Takeover

Nike opted to update their logo at the start of the new decade to go along with its new brand image. As the face of the brand, Michael Jordan, the company decided to alter its primary color from blue to red. After some time, the blue tags were replaced with red and grey ones.

The Chicago Bulls were a powerful force in the NBA during the period this grey tag was worn, winning the NBA Championships three times in a row (1991-1993). A black and red Nike logo was introduced in the late 1990s, keeping the company’s primary color, red, intact.


After being inspired by the Greek goddess of triumph, Nike came up with their now world-famous emblem. Carolyn Davidson’s simple “swoosh” design has become a wardrobe essential and the iconic face of sports culture.

Nike Celebrity Endorsement

Nike has worked with several notable athletes, including Michael Jordan and Tiger Woods, as well as others. In 2003, after signing another lucrative NBA contract with LeBron James, the company broadened its search to include athletes from a variety of other sports.

Several high-profile athletes have worked with them over the last two decades: Serena Williams has designed forward-thinking tennis costumes for women, while world-renowned footballers like Ronaldo and Neymar have used the brand.

Nike Air

As a result, Nike has collaborated with artists and enthusiasts of the swoosh, as well as other sports brands. Kendrick Lamar, Travis Scott, and most recently Drake have all developed their clothing lines. Nike has shown to be more than simply a sports brand for players. Nike Air is a brand of footwear.

Nike started investing in their air-infused cushioning after being approached by aerospace engineer Frank Rudy. Nike researched techniques of trapping air to make shoes light and supportive, resulting in the 1979 release of the Nike Tailwind.

Nike Air technology quickly found its way into other sports shoes, resulting in the 1982 release of the Nike Air Force and the 1987 release of the Nike Air Max line. Now, individuals of all walks of life wear the iconic soles that have been synonymous with Nike Air since their first release in the mid-1990s.

Air Jordan

Air Jordan is one of Nike’s most popular collections, with the Michael Jordan ‘Jumpman’ shape being one of the most sought-after logos in the company’s history. Jordan’s agent and parents pushed him to sign a contract with Nike in 1984, and the two worked together to create his shoe line.

The fact that Michael Jordan was well-known for his ability to leap in games coincided with Nike’s concentration on ‘air soles,’ and thus the ‘Air Jordan’ was formed, with both partners spending time in or manipulating the air.

‘Devil colors’, according to sports legends, led to the NBA banning the initial model of Jordan’s sneakers because of their excessive use of red and black and absence of white, which was seen to violate the league’s 51% rule.

As reported, Jordan was hit with a $5,000 penalty each game, but this did not stop him from running a successful ad campaign. By 1985, Nike sold $70 million worth of Jordans thanks to the attention generated by the lawsuits; this contributed to the appeal of being like Michael Jordan.

Frequently Asked Questions

Here are some FAQs related to vintage Nike tags:

1. How old is Nike’s red tag?

From the mid-80s forward, Nike used a dark blue label for their gear, until settling on a red and gray tag for its Jumpman gear between 1988 and 1993.

2. What’s the best way to identify how old a Nike t-shirt is?

When trying to figure out which Nikes are vintage, look at the tags first. To determine the period of vintage Nike clothes, we may examine the design of the tag on the garments that were manufactured at the time of their production.

3. How do you interpret the Nike-style numbers?

It’s immediately next to the Color and Style numbers on your product screen. “Style#/Color# 393249-100” will be the format.

4. What is the color of Nike’s staps?

Nike decided to update their logo at the start of the new decade to better reflect its brand’s fresh look. As the face of the brand, Michael Jordan, the company decided to alter its primary color from blue to red. The blue tags had been replaced with a red and a grey tag during this period.

5. What does the Nike logo’s red tag mean?

They may be found at Saks Fifth Avenue and Neiman Marcus. In recent years, they’ve collaborated with Nike and Converse on several projects. So if you see someone with that tag on their shoes, you can be comfortable that they spent a lot of money on them.

6. What’s Nike’s new tagline?

Nike’s “Play New” ad campaign, which debuted on May 6th, 2021, encourages you to take a fresh look at sports. The company is already well-known for its unapologetic approach to marketing and public relations. Black Lives Matter inspired it to modify its motto to “Just Don’t Do It” last year.

7. On Nike tags, what significance do the two dates have?

There are two dates printed on each side of your size. Dates in brackets indicate how long it took for a shop to order certain Nike sneakers directly from the manufacturer. Using this information, you may find out how long you have to return your item(s).

8. What is the Nike product code, and where can I locate it?

In all genuine Nike shoes, the size, barcode, and model number of the shoe are sewed onto a tag that is sewn into the sole. The barcode is the best way to identify it. Inside, you’ll find it: The organs of the mouth.

9. Do you know whether your Nikes are authentic?

The SKU number on the box and the labels inside the shoes should be checked out. A unique SKU number is assigned to each pair of genuine Nike shoes, and this number matches the SKU number on the shoe’s box. Fakes are more likely to have missing or mismatched numerals.

10. What is a style number, and how can you discover it?

Inside the back collar, inside seam, or along sleeve are all possible locations for the tag. Turn the white tag over and look at the other side. On the tag’s reverse, look for the term “ITEM” or the phrase “STYLE.” Afterward, you’ll see a style number.


Rather than just being a symbol of professional athletics, the swoosh has evolved into an essential part of contemporary streetwear and fashion. From its beginnings as a sportswear company to its current diversification, Nike’s tag and label have seen several transformations.

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