Category Archives: Footwear

GOLDEN ERA STORE FOOTAGE

1991airmax90man

A few months ago I linked to some 1990 Foot Locker store visit footage from this Brazilian shop tour show, but the gems just keeps on coming via the frequently updated SHOP TOUR MEMORIAS – COMERCIAIS YouTube channel. While it isn’t English-language, the neon-accented treasures on show are pretty universal. Check these 1991 clips. The trip to A Sports is particularly impressive, with an examination of Mowabbs, a meeting with someone dressed like an Air Max 90 (“Hi Mr Shoe! Are you alright? Okay! What do you think about A Sports — great, no?”), plus a look at Starter jackets. There’s a shit ton of 1990/1991 clips below with lots of repetition, but if your eyes are peeled you’ll catch some gems. Best. YouTube channel. Ever. Excitable presenter babbling about sportswear during a golden era — no vlogger can come close. Even the soundtracks are excellent. Continue reading GOLDEN ERA STORE FOOTAGE

LIST

There are lists everywhere right now. End of the year is a perfect time to bang them out to keep that content moving. I wrote a quick one for my friends at Sole Collector before realising that I’d omitted loads of good things (in fact, I’ve picked up shoes in the days following the list submission that deserved some placement). If you’re looking to write a top ten of the year’s best with any modicum of integrity, I recommend leaving it until the year has fully concluded and taking some time to collate it. In this case, I did none of those things. With the freedom of a top 20, this would have been a bit more varied in terms of brands and silhouettes. As it stands, it simply highlights how dull and middle-aged I am when it comes to sports footwear. For the most part, I still don’t understand the need to put reissues of reissues of classics on a pedestal. It’s a given that a black and red Air Jordan 1 is amazing, but it belongs on a top ten of 1985 list (maybe the mid 1990s at a push because retro basketball still seemed quite novel), except there weren’t “best shoes of…” lists back then because they were too busy keeping it moving rather than wallowing.

D.C. SET TRENDS

As much as few would like to admit it, the most important endorsee for most types of athletic footwear is drug dealers. Expensive Nike Epics in Amsterdam, Fila tennis shoes and Gucci in New York, the mighty Forum in Boston back in the day or the prevalence of New Balance in D.C. and Baltimore are rooted in expendable income from illicit activity. That state-of-the art performance runner or basketball shoe that broke the 100 dollar mark or that silhouette in 20 different colours to match your outfit and/or car all flourished from wedges of dirty cash. I’ve rarely seen a brand acknowledge that alpha consumer, but the 2007 Air Force 1 documentary definitely made a mention of that I-95 craze circa 1984 and the type of dudes making big buys. Continue reading D.C. SET TRENDS

CHRISTMAS COMMERCIALISM

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You can’t beat a spot of crass holiday commercialism from an interesting era, and this is a good example. This 2001 Christmas card from Nike wishes us a happy holiday using a bizarre array of shoes. Many of the designs are very much of their time (the Air Max Willy might be one of the oddest titles for a silhouette ever), but it demonstrates a real appreciation of some of the most uncommercial Nike models and a commitment to mule fits. Why was the Air Huarache Plus included? Nothing says seasons greetings like an Air Superfly.

MORE SOURCE

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When I can’t think of something interesting to put here, I always chuck up a shoe page from an old issue of The Source as a distraction. There’s a brace of yellow accented greats here that evoke an era and the Reebok Apogee DMX 2000 is the champ — you NEVER see that thing anywhere anymore despite its popularity back in early 1998. A lot of great design came out of that DMX era (which, coincidentally, corresponded with the veteran MC of the same name’s ascent), but there’s very little online that catalogues it. Maybe there is some Geocities mirror site from Japan out there, but it’s been bumped down the Google rankings by a slew of new jack crap.

YELLOW BOOTS

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My obsession with Timberland boots has been outlined here time and time again, but it was fun to take a moderate (and edited) take on that preoccupation to MR PORTER a few days ago. You can force cultural connotations on other items of footwear, but there’s almost too much to talk about when it comes to the item of footwear that the entire business was renamed after. I think getting a mention of ODB’s bootleg boot sweatshirt on MR P was something of an achievement — a triumph of spreading rap trivia base don split-second glimpses beyond our usual geeky echo chamber. Check it out HERE.

BEASTIE BOYS & SUEDE SHOES

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I’d sooner not celebrate the fact that License to Ill came out 30 years ago yesterday, which means it’s 29 years since I read The S*n headlines about them getting up to all kinds of wild things during their 1987 UK tour wide-eyed, beginning a hero-worship that lasted just shy of three decades. It’s not that I’m not in awe of their work — it’s just that being reminded that things you have lucid memories of are that old is a scary reminder of your own mortality. One day you young ‘uns will be telling kids to shut up and listen to some real music, before cranking up Lil Yachty on some kind of futuristic device that, if their current creative stalemate continues, probably won’t be made by Apple. I wrote a little retrospective of what the Beastie Boys mean to retro footwear and streetwear for complex. You can read it right HERE or by clicking that image above.