Category Archives: Footwear


Anyone of a certain age will remember being so hyped on getting a shoe with Visible Air, a Pump device or Torsion bar, that they put it by their bed and looked at it before they went to sleep, or — in my case — placed it on a dresser so it was within my peripheral vision during a family dinner. Oddly, people of the same age are the ones complaining that everyone’s into shoes these days. Continue reading


The original 1996 catalogue image

What a time to be a Jordan XI Low fan. I’m not sure I’d ever seen Tinker talk about this design until Nike News upped a piece on it recently, plus fellow fan of this shoe, Ben Berry wrote a nice piece for Finish Line on the topic of the mysterious use of I.E. because like me, he doesn’t buy that story about it standing for “International Edition” at all. Continue reading



As a longtime fiend for sportswear in all its forms, I can’t help but suspect that we’re reaching the end of a cycle. A few shoes are still worshipped, while the majority — many of which were breaking the internet 18 months ago — are just gathering dust. Even resellers can’t be arsed with some releases. As a fan, I’m happy to see it — audience apathy forces brands to get interesting. Continue reading



I recently worked on a short book about the evolution of some flagship Gel designs with ASICS. While I get bamboozled by the sheer array of conceptual collaborations these days, I have a great deal of respect for this Japanese brand’s performance design language throughout the years. There’s actually more information on the earliest days of the Onitsuka line in this book’s typo-heavy predecessor, whereas this one Continue reading



I like adidas Superstars a lot, even though I rarely wear them after overdosing on them a decade ago. When Woody asked me to write something about them for an anniversary project, I wrote too much. The edited down and tidied version is widely available elsewhere, but this is the one that will probably appeal to about seven people. But that’s what this blog is about, right? Factually, I still think a few points on source countries and dates of releases could be off (my searches for hard facts sometimes came up short). I waited six months or so after the launch to up this, and I couldn’t think of anything to write today on any other topic. Expect typos, a slightly corporate tone (it was partly written with official use in mind) and the occasional repetition. Most of the imagery was borrowed from adidas’s Archive resource.

Iconic is thrown around a little too much. You don’t seem to have to put a lot of work in to be iconic any more. Nowadays your face is iconic because you #amassed #lots #of #social #media #follows. Even your lunch could be iconic. But to be a real icon, you need longevity, not some throwaway, fast-food, buzzword attachment moment in the iPhone spotlight. The adidas Superstar’s 45 years as a favourite on the courts and into a whole heap of subcultures during its retirement from the game make it a strong contender for the finest design of its kind ever. It’s liable to still be relevant when it turns 100. Continue reading



News clip library channels on YouTube are as good place to waste some time as any. I occasionally spend an unholy amount of time trawling places like Getty or Corbis to see the good stuff in static form, but after browsing the AP Archive channel, I found some more recent, subtitle-free footage based around vintage denim and old shoes in London and Japan (where Bing Crosby’s denim tux by Levi’s was part of an auction). I hadn’t seen the footage of ageing writers like Zephyr and LA ROC (with some commentary from Henry Chalfont) before either, even though it’s only a couple of years old. Provided that there’s working Wi-Fi, I can’t fathom how anyone can get bored in 2015.



The majority of documentaries on sports footwear are a bland retread of past glories with the same talking heads telling exactly the same stories. The world doesn’t need some guy in weirdly laced shoes asking people who’ve been queuing for 16 hours, “What is a sneakerhead?”, any more than it needs another Imelda Marcos reference in the opening of an article on collectors and resell. Dull. The much-hyped exhibition in NYC right now looks a little middle-of-the-road too, even if the first part of the book offers a useful primer on the history of athletic shoes Still, there’s a few slept-on productions with some rare footage out there, like Sneakers, a 2004 Dutch production that features Patta brothers and true shoe Jedis Tim and Edson (back when Tim had dreads), some super-dated “cool hunting” (which seemed to fascinate people back then), and some chats with Steve Van Doren, Tinker Hatfield and Nobukazu Kishi from Boon. Like much on the topic from this period, it’s dated, but in a nice way — like over-designed Flash streetwear and shoe websites from the same time frame that don’t work on Wayback Machine. Submarine did a decent job on this 50-minute film, so salutes to whichever kind soul took the time to subtitle this.