TRAILING OFF

This blog is brought to you in association with Nike…I’m kidding. But you’d be forgiven for thinking that was the case. What can I say? It’s one of those weeks. My fanaticism for All Conditions Gear is no secret around these parts. I’ve got love for Terra too, not to mention the early days of Nike Hiking. Between 1989 and 1994 ACG redefined design for me and altered my perception of colour coordination. Purple, grey and orange just made sense on a rugged running oddity. Pink, green and grey? Not a problem.

With honourable exceptions they weren’t vast successes (though curiously, the Air Mada —a shoe I always believed to be a niche, affordable takedown of more expensive releases flew out). Thanks to my homies making power moves on and offline, Bradley and Joe, I got the opportunity to nerd out and write the love letter to big-brand trail runners I’d always wanted to do, but couldn’t quite take the pressure of breaking down criterias. I also thought it might be a geeky step too far, but it’s Complex and under their jurisdiction, obsessive becomes a little cooler. Of course, a grown man salivating over recycled rubber soles and brown nubuck is always going to be a little strange.

I can’t help but think that ACG has always been ahead of its time. The research and development behind even the most comically named releases (though you can see where they got their money’s worth out of lasts and neoprene technologies) was staggering—something I attribute to some big shot-callers at Beaverton having a vested interest in off-road wanderings. They were rarely overpriced on eBay either. ACG and Terra releases were something you could drop thirty on during two minutes of downtime to cheer yourself up and you could see those beige boxes from a mile off. The design savvy on some of these shoes is staggering—the branding and sub-branding goes way beyond the call of duty during the early ’90s. I’m obsessed. These guys broke barriers and we opted to revert to heavyweight hikers with red laces or moc-toed workboots – that’s how it goes. But I’m still confident a switch to tech will occur when everyone gets bored of the John Steinbeck styling.

It’s a great depression that the tradical (© Kyle at Goodhood, 2010) look is so bloody homogenized that the whole planet is shilling nothing but “nice” things. I want to see some weird shit that hurts feelings. I always felt that the boffins at Nike were keen to instigate acts of trailblazing when it came to offroad and that notion of limitless outdoor freedom leached onto the sketchpads at even the most nascent creative stage. In 2010, a lot of pieces seem to have been merged with NSW rather than remaining utterly (and presumably un commercially) hardcore. Still, the continued popularity of the truly amazing Zoom Tallac keeps hope alive and just when jackets got very sensible indeed, plenty of ACG (cheers to Dave for the heads up) camo pieces turn up in Mercer Street, including the brutal-looking Icex GORE-TEX jacket. Now that’s a serious piece of outerwear.

So the fam at Complex let me run through my top 50—the original list actually had the adidas Torsion Special and New Balance 802 in the mix but they were so outnumbered it seemed unfair—Nike Trail Shoes. Some are overlooked, some were never released and others just reflect a happier time for me. I know some of you are just as, if not more, peculiar than me, so if you’re cursing the omission of 1999’s ACG Exploraids and Explorun or 1996’s Air Skarn and 1997’s ACG Glace, all of which have their own fanclubs, it’s because I don’t get their appeal. Never have, never will. Anyway, the countdown’s right here and even peeling paint won’t topple my number one design.

DIGRESSION

I currently work in an area that, bar a fabled Japanese spot, is something of a culinary wasteland. London’s good, but it’s missing a few of my favourites from overseas. The rumours of a J Crew arriving at some point are one thing (and I would expect no less than an irritating pound to dollar RRP), but they’ve been fruitless thus far. There’s a few other exports than need to arrive.

Dear Ippudo. Please come to London and let us have good Tonkatsu ramen in the nation’s capital, rather than a slightly more perplexing version of the dish that I have to force myself to enjoy. I’ve had recommendations left, right and centre, but it always sucks compared to the real deal. I know it would be hyped to hell and I’d have to wait hours to be patronized by a jobbing actor asking if I’ve had noodles before, but seeing as I’m reliably informed that I have to travel to a golf course restaurant just outside the city to get something akin to the deep, complex flavour I crave, I’m cool with that. You’ve done NYC…now stretch a little further.

It would be great if a Supreme opened up in London for 2011 given that the company’s man in charge is a Brit and that between James and Michael they’ve long been repped on these shores with the necessary exclusivity (though old heads will recall Dr. Jives and Bond stocking the gear too), it’s time it got super-official over here. But of course, that’s just a pipe dream. After all, it’s not like we got BAPE and Stussy-only stores over here…oh, wait…we did. Interesting.

I support local newsstands whenever I can, but they always seem to be about half-way there. I will continue to support, but I want a vast hub of publications on the scale of Universal News over here. To buy, say, a trio of publications, it’s not unusual to have to wander to three different retailers across the capital. Extra points to anyone who can import Japanese fashion magazines and, while I appreciate the tax is a bitch, doesn’t bankrupt me in the space of two publications. Often Universal News has been manned by a student type who seemed nonplussed by my try-before-you-buy approach to purchase.

I would call for a Shake Shack, but I don’t want to infringe on the fine work that The Meatwagon is doing these days. I’m aware that In-N-Out will never happen. But how on earth can we have multiple Krispy Kremes and even a Cinnabon, but no great pizza? Sugary crap before we even get the main course? I’m talking NYC-style efforts (still, I’m not going to call them “pies”). Give me a single branch of Motorino in the city or at least something on that scale. I fear that if I ever took a friend from the States (especially the east coast) out for a pizza, I’d have to cut off my little finger as a token of my apology before the bill even arrived.

On an NYC pizza subject, this documentary on the legendary Di Fara pizzeria is beautiful…

0 thoughts on “TRAILING OFF

  1. fully agree about the exports that need to arrive. as a NY transplant, i miss good pizza & american burgers the most here here in london. but for the best pizza i’ve found in london, try saponara in islington, a tiny italian deli that serves pizza on friday and saturday nights only. it’s no motorino, but it’s really good.