This one’s for the shoe weirdos only. When it comes to online retail, once a fearful domain where my bank details disappeared and I was left waiting for months for product to arrive (or not arrive in some instances), it’s curious that I should get nostalgic, but most men’s fashion retailers are fucking dull online. It’s the same stock as everybody else, a blog tagged on with brief features as an afterthought and I can’t get excited at all. Sports footwear’s even weaker — exactly the same options, pretty much globally, where once the US got some unexpected SC releases and co.jp was a mystery, now it’s all the same.
Staggered releases, but ultimately the same old stock. That’s why I pine for the grey retailers of old who actually had the untethered power to surprise a customer. Now we know what’s coming in advance and shocks are few and far between. If you lurked on the internet for Nikes between February 1998 and 2001 (though it started in 1996 and was online until 2010), you probably came across Shoetrends.com, with its mix of older and newer releases, import colourways and no-frills looks, plus the biggest amount of Air Max 95s, Dunks (a couple of years before their wider release and hype burnout) and Jordan retros the majority of us had ever seen in one place. It was riddled with some of the worst clip art ever, appalling fonts and other strange touches, like this:
…but the stock that passed through the store’s inventory was pretty spectacular. ACG and Terra fans were well served indeed, as was anyone with a thing for visible air. Sure, a ton of the good stuff was always sold out and while the secure server of the store with the Cerritos, CA P.O. Box address felt safe, the import taxes purchases incurred were often brutal. The basic looks and mind-boggling stock beats a million sites padding out mediocrity. To this day, Shoetrends is one of my favourite sites ever. After an early ’00s dalliance with consignment selling, those terrible looks remained until at least 2007. In early 2011 when i went to visit, stock had been liquidated and it sent me to DeadstockShoes.com — the new Shoetrends,com.
In honour of the greatness of this site and because I’m too lazy to write much this evening, I’m retroing www.shoetrends.com circa 1999 and 2000 as a reminder of the greatness it peddled. Note the ’99 Air Jordan IV Black/Reds sitting around. If this gets you hyped, you’re probably a likemind. Waaaay before Nike Sportswear, that SC abbreviation had retros on lock. Look at this and try to tell me colourways weren’t better in 2000. Women still got some amazing variations back then. In fact, I wouldn’t begrudge you if you find yourself sitting there, silently weeping, pretending to buy navy and orange 97 by clicking blankly on the screen.
This had to go up, because I get the feeling that pre 2004 footwear imagery is being slowly eroded (this content has been gone for nearly a decade) and the ’95 and Terra Humara fans might get a kick out of it. Those Uptempos are no joke either.
On the nostalgic wave, salutes to T-Shirt Party for celebrating that market knockoff era of Spliffy, adihash and the mysterious Naff Co 54 (Naf Naf for tramps, basically) brand with their latest releases. So widespread that they were, undisputedly, British streetwear for those without expendable dough, T-Shirt Party are shifting them as a three-pack. Those from the UK and of a certain age will get the reference — it was never good, but it sure is evocative.