Category Archives: Footwear

GOLD STANDARD

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Books on athletic shoes are done to death. However, there’s always room for exceptions on the shelves and it was good to finally devour the contents of this particular one. A while back, before digital dominated, Nike commissioned some fascinating publications to coincide with campaigns. The world doesn’t need another bluffer’s guide to bestsellers with Q&As with the usual suspects. What it needs is untrodden informational terrain and Le Silver does the job. Written by Lodovico Pignatti Morano — editor of the flawless Ideas From Massimo Osti — the book is a 152 page anecdotal history of the Air Max 97’s role in Italy. I believe it’s culled from around 97 interviews and, curiously, despite its defiantly local nature, it’s published in English. Club kids, DJs, store managers, graffiti writers, rappers, stylists, editors, professional footballers, scooter boys and motorcyclists all break down the core appeal of Christian Tresser’s design between 1997 and 2003. Best of all is how the author retains the contradictions of any good origin story — there’s multiple accounts of different pioneers said to be the first to bring the shoe to Rome or Milan, some participants dismiss it as ugly, there’s tales of the shoe flopping initially before the sudden surge and plenty of corroborating tales regarding the impact that Georgio Armani putting it on the catwalk in early 1998 had locally. Very hardcore, very niche and beautifully designed by Munich’s Bureau Mirko Borsche, channeling that spirit of streamlined futurism that — according to some subjects — may well have driven the core appeal of this ostentatious entry into an already bold franchise. Incidentally, it also operates as a fairly comprehensive book on the popularity of the Air Max Classic/BW in Italy too. Well worth 22 Euros, even though that 16 Euro shipping fee is a little aggressive. Le Silver is the gold standard in shoe-related books. There are plenty more images of it and its contents right here.

MORE STORE

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Sorry, I couldn’t help it. I had to make a fourth return to SHOP TOUR CANAL OFICIAL and their abundance of 1990s’ retail wanders. You can’t fake this era of sport shops and those shelves are ripe with masterpieces that everyone took for granted at the time. Even the budget takedown crap has turned to gold. This is the kind of thing that makes YouTube better than any terrestrial or cable channel. It’s 1992 and 1994 embodied in a few minutes of grainy camerawork and excitable chat, but alas, A Sports USA of 148 E Flagler St, Miami is apparently a luggage shop nowadays. Continue reading MORE STORE

FOOT LOCKER 1991 SALES

Salutes to Hugh MacEachern and Rewind Eats the Tape for uploading these 1991 Foot Locker sale ads, with enthusiastic men in referee shirts banging on about bargains. You think trainers are a big deal now? Slicing cash off Air Jordans was enough to justify a moment in between primetime TV shows decades ago. That said, America seemed to get the good stuff that was omitted from the Brits. I never saw the grape Jordans (back before the numbers you had to just state the year as a differentiator) on sale where I lived, let alone with money off.

REGIONAL VARIATIONS

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There isn’t much to talk about here that can match the greatness of this Medium entry (shouts to Gotty for the heads up) by mauludSADIQ that’s absolutely mandatory if you’re interested in learning a little about those days when there seemed to be staggering amounts of regional variation, however fleeting, when it came to athletic footwear (Atlanta having a brief love for the Champion 3 on 3 shoe was news to me — I thought that was a Euro phenomenon). Read and take notes. Incidentally, the above image is part of a page from a 1998 issue of The Face magazine and Paul Gorman’s long-teased book on that magazine, Legacy: the Story of the Face apparently has a November release date, though, from my few experiences with publishing, that is liable to change. Then change again.

THE 2ND PLACE

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2nd magazine is always pretty consistent, and their themed issues and specials are always worth adding to those teetering piles of publications you deemed necessary but haven’t fully digested yet. We single dialect doofuses used to justify buying Japanese magazines for the imagery alone, but with a new and improved Google Translate on the phone, we can glean a little extra information from them nowadays. Continue reading THE 2ND PLACE

PATTA & MEPHISTO

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So far, the reactions to Patta working with Mephisto have been reverential from folk who know their stuff and laughter tear emojis from folks who list “Sneakers, life, god” as their interests atop a feed of pixellated memes and repost to win entries. “They look like geography teacher shoes” they say. Yeah, that’s the point dipshit.

I had the privilege of visiting Mephisto’s factory in France a couple of weeks ago with my friends Gee and Lee. They were extremely welcoming and gave us an extremely in-depth look at the manufacturing process. So in-depth in fact, that @mastalee had plenty of shots to spare, so there are a few bonus photos here. There’s a little writeup on the Patta site ahead of the shoe release this weekend. Continue reading PATTA & MEPHISTO

CLASSIC IMAGERY

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My friend Nick Santora has far greater fixation with sports footwear related imagery and ephemera than me. He runs the Classic Kicks site, social accounts and podcast and used to run the fine NYC store of the same name. He just made the plunge into publishing, but is keeping it as pixels for the time being. That doesn’t stop the visually inclined, 124 page Classic Kicks #1 from being designed as if it was on paper, down to the quality of design and page size. The inaugural issue has a ton of content (that’s content in the good sense as opposed to the gushing stream of content for content’s sake that is making anything useful harder to find using Google). If you’re a nerd, you’ll mess with this project — the old adidas and Fila ads are worth the price of admission, but the chats with Nike ad gods Chuck Kuhn, Bob Peterson and Bill Sumner with accompanying reproductions of some of their work, while — most importantly if you’ve followed this blog for any length of time — renaissance man and reggae archivist Roger Steffens shuts down that rumour that Nike’s mysterious Rasta Man samples were made for Bob Marley. Deeper than the usual shoe coverage and it’s best viewed on a tablet, though I would spend big on a physical copy. Well worth your £2.99 or digital subscription fee.

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