Spotlight – 1979 Aztec

The Aztec is a curious shoe with an equally curious history. First seeming to appear in 1979 as a Training shoe, it appeared to share its sole tread with the Mens Shadow I, Womens Shadow III and the Midas. From a side angle I could never understand the ugly-looking angular cut from the rear sole up the heel tab ; but when you check out the sole shape, you can appreciate the design thinking: to offer an extra-stable flat platform for heelstrikes (reminding me of the Nike Air Rift for some reason).

Click on for more images & jibber-jabber.


I’m curious to find the real original Aztecs – some of the imagery I’ve collated shows no Reebok logo sitting on the usual side of the upper, whereas others it’s there. Some shoes feature the plastic lace loops (which look hugely practical and durable), again others don’t. Further still, some of the Aztecs have the lower half of the midsole coloured, others have the upper half. A different shoe perhaps?


Whether the original Aztec was aimed squarely at Women isn’t yet clear (if you know, please get in touch) but certainly there was a curious 2004 retro, and in 2006 a larger collection of retros under the Scarlett Johansson ♥’s RBK sub-brand (plastic loops were back!).

Aztec 25th Anniversary (2004)

RBK Scarlett Johansson (2006)

RBK Scarlett Johansson (2006)

Step forward to 2102 and we have a pair of Womens Realflexes in Aztec colourway – without plastic lace loops or Reebok on the side.
So were the Aztecs only ever a Womans shoe?

Womens Aztec Realflex Racer (2012)


Posted on October 23, 2012, in Newsfeed, Originals, Re-issues and tagged , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. 4 Comments.

  1. I can’t find the Aztec 1979 anywhere in Baldwin county Alabama.

  2. Goodfellow Ian

    My father used to sell Reebok trainers out of the back of his car and trailer in the late 70’s in England at local running meetings. I must have been around 13 years old and can remember we used to go to the factory where they hand made them in Birmingham, England (I think). I can always remember when a french chap came up to my father and asked him if he could buy all the Reebok Aztec’s that he had in stock so that he could take them back to his friends in France. My dad used to sell them for £25 which was a lot of money in the latex 70’s / early 80’s. He had big smile on his face all the way home ,as I think he sold about 10 pairs!

    From my memory he used to sell Reebok Aztec, Tendotector marathon and a few others styles. I actually still wear a yellow, black and white pair with a studded sole,but i’m not sure of the style name

  3. Awesome story Ian, thanks for sharing here on Retrobok. If you fancy emailing me pictures of your unknown shoe (certainly it’s a very interesting one if it was from that time period) I’d appreciate it 😀

  4. I’m pretty certain that the original Reeboks not only had the plastic loops, not holes, for the laces, but that they can’t have been solely for women (if at all) because I used to buy them and I was a size 11 men. The plastic loops added to what appeared to be a very original design, what with the cut back heel, snazzy colours and brilliantly grippy soles (see your first picture – that’s the original). Whether Reebok had a manufacturing plant in Birmingham, I don’t know, but it’s more probable that they had only the one, which was in Lancashire, where they originated. I used to save money by buying them directly from the warehouse – they were £14, later £15. Apart from being the best-looking shoe ever, what stood out about the Aztek was their cushioning. They were incredibly bouncy, and if you stood on a stone, you wouldn’t know. They changed this design strategy in the early 1980s, making the sole harder, due to, I believe, complaints that they didn’t last long enough. That ticked me off.