How does vintage Nike fit?


How does vintage Nike fit?

Nike is a household name an all-around beloved brand, among teens, adults, and everyone in between. Industry leaders ahead of rivals Adidas and Under Armour, Nike’s dominance in sports retail is undeniable.

Nike has become a major player in essentially every major sport. It is a sponsor of major football teams Manchester United, Arsenal, and Barcelona. In short, Nike's achievement is that it has become one of the biggest companies in the world with its global influence and ranking as the 18th world’s most valuable brand according to Forbes.

The company has come a mighty long way from being founded back in 1964, where it was previously known as Blue Ribbon Sports until 1971 when they rebranded as Nike.Inc, named after the Greek goddess of victory. The founders, Bill Bowerman and Phil Knight began making trainers for track athletes at the University of Oregon. The iconic ‘swoosh/tick’ logo was incorporated into the brand identity along with the goddess’ name and it was designed by Carolyn Davidson, a graphic design student, who was paid a mere $35 for her design. Now, the logo is famous and globally recognised as a part of Nike’s core international brand. Nike has continued to sell sportswear but moved into different product lines like selling streetwear and sports equipment too. It’s acquired many footwear companies and other sports brands (including Converse [Chuck Taylor AllStar] and Umbro).

The biggest reason for the exponential growth over the years is due to their smart marketing and global strategies. They are experts in product design, marketing, branding their business, and innovating with bold advertising campaigns.

Air Jordan Jumpman Advert

One of the most significant parts of Nike’s initial marketing strategy was in 1984 when they collaborated with basketball legend Michael Jordan, to create Air Jordans. Nike then capitalised off their success with Air Jordans and they collaborated with athletes from around the world, including Cristiano Ronaldo and Tiger Woods. They have made kits and trainers for various sports teams around the globe. When Nike began branching into casual and streetwear, the brand collaborated with celebrities too. To this day, celebrities are thought to have more influence on the trainer market than athletes.

Nike has remained consistent in their simple brand identity including the swoosh logo which as aforementioned was designed in 1971 and only went through a slight change in 1995. Even Nike’s signature slogan has been the same for 30+ years – Just Do It. They’ve remained consistent in their branding and global marketing strategies throughout the duration of the company which is a testament to their success. 

Our guide on how vintage Nike fits

To keep up with the everchanging world of sportswear, Nike has revisited the way it clothes fit many times over the years. The way vintage Nike fits and feels is very different to the Nike being made today, and here’s our guide on how to navigate this change.

It’s important to note that over the years Nike have produced so many different products that not all the fits were consistent in any one era, and these rules can only be applied generally. If you’re ever unsure about the potential fit of an item get in touch with the seller and ask for measurements.

How vintage Nike T-Shirts fit

Vintage Nike T-Shirts

The white Jordan t-shirt on the left is a from the late 80s to early 90s and we can tell this from the neck tag. Nike t-shirts from this time were usually a very wide and loose fit. T-shirts from this time also come up a tiny bit shorter than most and the sleeves are bigger than most you’d see today but not by too much. The black jellybean t-shirt on the right is from the mid to late 90s and as you can see had a looser fit. Many vintage Nike t-shirts from this time fit as oversized, and the sleeves and body and loose, long and have quite a boxy fit.

Vintage Nike T-Shirts

The black swoosh t-shirt on the left has tags which indicate its from the late 90s. The shape and fit of the body and sleeves haven’t changed that much from its predecessor (in this example the black jellybean t-shirt discussed before) however the neck is slightly wider. The navy Nike football t-shirt is from the middle and judging from the tags is from the early 00s. Vintage Nike t-shirts from this time were marginally slimmer in the body than its predecessors but still much wider than the Nike t-shirts you’ll pick up nowadays. The blue Nike t-shirt on the right is from the mid 00s and at this time the t-shirts stopped fitting as oversized and whilst they were still loose compared to the form fitting t-shirts made today, vintage Nike t-shirts aren’t as flowing and are better suited for sports activities.

How vintage Nike Sweatshirts fit

Vintage Nike Sweatshirts

The black Air Nike sweatshirt on the left is from the late 80s to early 90s according to the tags. The fit of Nike sweatshirts from this time was slightly oversized. The cuffs were tapered however the waist was relatively loose on designs from this time. The blue sweatshirt in the middle if from the late 90s and has quite a loose fit across the chest but is more tapered around the waist and cuffs. The width comes up a bit oversized, but the length doesn’t. The navy Nike sweatshirt on the right is from the early 00s and has a boxier fit, with less tapering around the waist and cuffs. Vintage Nike sweatshirts from this time are generally a bit slimmer fitting that those from the early to mid 90s but are still a looser fit than Nike sweatshirts made today.

How vintage Nike Track Jackets fit

Vintage Nike Track Jackets

The navy Nike track jacket on the left appears to be from the late 80s when assessing the tags. Track jackets from this time were relatively tapered around the cuffs and waist and would often have a wide but short fit. The black vintage Nike track jacket on the right is from the late 90s and track jackets from this time tended to have a slightly looser fit and were less tapered around the cuffs and waist.

Does vintage Nike fit bigger?

Generally speaking vintage Nike clothing does tend to fit slightly bigger, however for certain lines of clothing they have released they have adjusted the sizing and fit so it is always important to get the measurements if you are unsure about the fit.


What’s your favourite fact about Nike? Do you find their story inspiring? We’d love to know your thoughts feel free to share them with us in the comments below.


  • Posted on by kathleen

    Thanks for great info! I really love finding vintage clothes that are well kept because it won’t be the same thing anyone else has! It is so frustrating to get the item home and it doesn’t fit. This article was really helpful!

  • Posted on by Tiff White

    I have a few vintage Nike sweatshirts and one vintage Nike windbreaker-type jacket and I am in love with them! The fit is amazing. They are mens but they have a nice oversized fit on me where they are not as long as modern Nike sports gear/wear (I am very short!). I am hoping to find some more when I go thrifting around the shops again.

  • Posted on by Jasmine Hewitt
    Very interesting breakdown of ow vintage Nike fits, this is awesome!

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