SNAKE

nikeairpython2

A few months back I wrote some things about the Nike Air Python, oblivious to the fact a retro was on its way. The resurrection of this shoe seems to have split friends’ opinions — some can’t fathom why this shoe was brought back when there’s more significant shoes in the archive and others, like me, were pleased it made a return, just because they wanted a pair in the stash. I can understand the former opinion because some things are best left as aspiration — while the original intent was hardly one of pure performance (it seems more like an excuse to use some 1987 lasts and tooling), there’s an aura to the rarely seen and now a Google Image Search is going to spit out PR pics rather than a scattering of yellowed pairs. The spell is officially broken.

But you know what? This shoe still delivers — the swooshless oddness, the proto-Troop Cobra flamboyance, the way Nike added those tongue and heel labels as if the shoe was a big deal. As a Jordan II fan (a shoe that’s soon to get its aura bruised by reissues and hype), it’s a solid partner piece and (contrary to the myth of them having real python on them 26 years ago, which I fell for, it was always snake-effect leather) the retroed Air Python’s quality is good. Many’s the memory obliterated by a cheap looking resurrection, but the leather here is appropriately soft, rather than a plastic toy mockery of the original. Having only ever handled a pair under cellophane I can only presume that they felt like this (Edit: I am very reliably informed that the original Air Python was made from decidedly non-luxury leathers and far cheaper materials than the Air Python Lux seen here, which makes it a rare case of a reissue that’s better quality than the source material). Ignore the faintly Liberace steez that my amateur photography gives the snakeskin texture on the silvers (brown drops next month), because it’s undeniably flossy but not as sparkly in the flesh.

That bulbous toebox makes them fit roomy (at least half a size bigger than usual) and they’re surprisingly chunky, but it’s good to tick a box and get these in the teetering pile I’ve amassed since I decided to slow down on the footwear acquisitions. They make more sense releasing in the current climate than they did when they were swamped by 1987’s slew of more heavily publicised classics. Know what else ruins a rerelease? A generic packaging. That spot varnish scale pattern on the box for these is a nice touch. Shouts to Nike for these ones.

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After the talk of Kukinis on Sunday and these 1987 oddities reappearing, I’m keen to level things a little by including the LeBron XI — I’m blatantly in mid-life crisis mode, but that swoosh and Hyperposite combo makes them the logical successor to the Alpha Project lunacy of 2000. This is exactly what a basketball shoe should look like in 2013.

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On that Nike topic, this chat with Chris Bevans, creative director of Billionaire Boys Club on Salehe Bembury’s blog indicates that he’s one of those industry guys who seems to have had a hand in plenty of significant projects. A lot of talented people have passed through Rocawear over the years — while we’re in danger of assuming that Instagram represents the world at large’s tastes, Bevans and company seemed make far more of a splash on a grander scale. There’s a spot of insight here on the genesis of the Kanye West Nike Air 180 that occasionally surfaces during talk of rarity among nerds.

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The new issue of Fantastic Man has a lot of content to recommend, but Jeremy Lewis’ exploration of the mystery of the ‘Dorito’ (that triangular panel) on the neck of sweatshirts, complete with an answer from vintage master Bob Melet. This is still the best men’s fashion magazine out there.

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Seeing my friend Edson of the mighty Patta crew sold these Rockwell sweat pants to me. Edson has significantly more swagger than my disheveled, pallid self, but that print is at its greatest in this context. On sweats and rucksacks this design works, but here, it’s leisure wear done very right.

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