This Iconic Sneaker Worked So Hard It Was Nicknamed The Soldier of NOLA
There are shoe releases that have flash in the pan success and then there are others that are a slow burn, building and rising through the ranks, imprinting lasting legacies on the sneaker community. The Workout, a Reebok Classics staple, is in the latter category.
Starting out as one of the first fitness shoes just for men, Reebok Classic's Global Product Manager James Hardaway says the Workout was destined to be a timeless silhouette.
“The Workout is a staple shoe,” says Hardaway. “I think clean white and clean black is going to always be something that people will reach for.”
No longer a sneaker just for men, the Workout’s clean, fresh silhouette gives everyone the freedom to style it any way they want.
The Workout was introduced in 1984 and became known for its iconic “H-strap,” pushing it out of the gym and making it a street style must-have. In 1986, the Workout Plus came on to the scene, with added overlays on the upper for a fresh evolution of the OG.
But while the Workout saw success globally, there was nothing quite like it’s rise to fame in New Orleans. In fact, Hardaway remembers when the Workout solidified its spot in streetwear style in NOLA, earning an unlikely nickname: the Soldier.
“In New Orleans in particular, the Soldier was the uniform if you will. People wore it as their uniform and as their street gear,” he says. “Certain musical artists used to sing about it in their songs and talk about how they wear their Reeboks or their soldiers. It really became a cultural phenomenon there.”
An iconic pairing, the Workout and New Orleans became synonymous with one another, with countless song mentions, photos and pop culture moments, early on the Workout cemented its spot among the sneaker collectors and tastemakers on the scene.
That’s why Reebok is getting back to its NOLA roots during its next stop on the 3:AM tour. We’ll be partnering with local hip-hop producer Chase N. Cashe and noted photographer Polo Silk to explore how the city sparks creativity during those early morning hours, bringing the Soldier back with a modern day twist.
“The Workout ‘Soldier’ was THE shoe with the NOLA youth. The southeast at this time was a “hot bed” for producing that good ole southern music with a funky beat,” says Hardaway.
“They would rap and boast about the “soldier” as a key component of their everyday street attire. The ‘soldier’ was an essential element in their uniform and “getting their hustle” on. It was the affordability, clean styling, comfort and unique “H-Strap” detail that set it apart from any other shoe in the industry.”
Hardaway says in addition to the influence of authentic southern rap music and cultural street style, it was the local “homegrown” music icons rocking the Workouts in their communities, that really turned the versatile sneaker into movement.
For more information on when the 3AM New Orlands product drops click here!