by Steve Jaconetta

In a follow-up to our video, here’s a breakdown of the similarities and differences between the Nike Mag and the University Studios Back To The Future II Light-Up sneaker.

Originally created by Tinker Hatfield for the 1988 film, Back To The Future Part II, the Nike Mag has been one of the most coveted and popular sneakers of all-time. Worn on-screen by Michael J. Fox as he played both Marty McFly and Marty McFly Jr. when the character traveled into the future, to 2015. Ever since, fans of both the film and the sneakers have been hoping that Nike would release the fictional sneaker widely in 2015. 

If that doesn’t happen, fans at least have two options to currently choose from. In 2011, Nike teamed up with the Michael J. Fox Foundation to bring the Nike Air Mag to reality. 1,500 pairs were made and exclusively auctioned off on eBay with all of the proceeds going to Parkinson’s research. While they were movie accurate and re-created by the man himself Tinker Hatfield, one thing missing was the auto-lacing feature. With prices continuing to rise and 2015 on its way, the general census is that Nike WILL bring the Mag back in 2015 with the auto-lace feature. However, this is 100 percent speculation.

Yes. Nike has put a patent in for auto laces and Tinker Hatfield has confirmed that the technology would become a reality in 2015, but no mention of the Mag or a specific shoe it would be featured on have been announced. Since most can’t afford to dish out thousands of dollars on a pair of sneakers, in comes

In September, they launched the Back To The Future II Light-Up Sneaker, available for purchase at a reasonable $98.99. When they released, the first drop of 500 pairs sold out instantly and due to the demand, 9,500 more pairs will release throughout the rest of the year and into the beginning of 2015.

The Halloween Costumes exclusive is officially licensed by Universal Studios and considered a ‘costume’ sneaker. While they are not the Nike Mag, they are an alternative that is not a ‘fake.’ If you imagine the Mag in your head and then look at the costume edition, you can point out some key details missing, right away. However, you really don’t see all the differences until you see them both in person. To sum it up in one phrase: it’s completely night and day.

First off, the cut of the shoe is slightly lower and, all Nike branding including the ‘Mag’ name on the back is absent. The ankle is also more flimsy and the hole on it is round and significantly smaller, rather than triangular. The strap is removable on both pairs however only the Nike pair features the branding on it that also lights up. To turn the lights on, you simply press the collar of the Air Mag while you have to stick your hand under the back plastic piece that holds the strap to expose the push-button wire on the Costume pair.

Upon lighting each shoe up, the sides of each outsole illuminate. The average life per charge for the Costume pair is four hours, and the Nike Air Mag is five. Both pairs feature LED lights to light-up each shoe. If you look close enough, you can see the strips inside the Costume pair. The outsole of the Costume pair features a yellow tint to it while the Mag is icy blue. Neither pair features a replaceable battery however, they can both be recharged, coming with an adapter to plug the shoes in. The Air Mag plugs into any standard wall outlet while the Costume pair comes equipped via USB.

Moving onto the midsole, both are grey-based with a blue splatter design throughout. The Air Mag is more of a soft rubber while the Costume pair is hard plastic. Both uppers are grey-based with the Nike pair being one-piece and the Costume edition features four puffed out lines on the sides, where the elastic straps in place of the laces are under. The upper of the Costume pair, as stated in the video is more plush while the Air Mag is more supportive and firm.

You can’t expect to see high quality on the costume pair, since they do come from a company that specializes in Halloween costumes. The costume pair was made in factories similar to the ones some of our favorite shoes come out of. In conclusion, if you’re looking for the exact shoe you see in the movie, then the costume pair might not be for you. However, if you don’t mind some subtle differences and would like to have a better chance at owning these futuristic classics for an affordable price, then the costume pair should do. The fact that they’re officially licensed and not fakes or knock-offs makes them more tolerable, even for the biggest Nike heads out there.

Steve Jaconetta is the Release Dates & Archive Editor of Sole Collector and you can follow him on Twitter here.