Tag Archives: complex



Continuing the recurring Air Force 1 theme of the last few months, I threw together an attempt at a history of the ubiquitous white Air Force 1 for Complex. I would love to know how many pairs that specific iteration of the AF1 has shifted since its debut, but one thing is for sure — contrary to reports, it definitely debuted several years before 1997. Right now, brands are falling over themselves to force a footwear phenomenon on young people with their pop ups, event spaces, panels, careful drip feed of numbers and blood advertorial onslaughts. It makes sense, given that the social media herd mentality, plus hundreds of thousands of new converts to resell, generally makes creating hype far easier. But the white Force never had that push initially (though later down the line, its numbers were deliberately reduced to increase their demand). You can read it right here.



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.



There was once a time when, between Complex’s staffers and a squad of freelancers, every conceivable list that could be written was written. People complained about clickthroughs/orders/decisions and all of that other stuff. Post 2014, there were a lot less in favour of more features, opinion pieces and interviews. In fact, the only people still peddling that click-through thing are those “You won’t believe what XXXXXXX looks like in 2016!” clickbait sites that, curiously, Mike Tyson seems to be paid to promote on Facebook. I vowed never to write another, but my friend Matt asked if I wanted to write the top 35 Air Force 1s, which then became the top 21 Air Force 1s of the 21st century. No matter how much crap is thrown at that shoe (and those laser etched ones with players’ faces on and the majority of the 2007 anniversary rollout hurled a lot at them), it’s a design with a very special place in my heart. You could write a top 35 co.jp release only list, or simply put together a hit parade of Euro exclusives — since 2000 there’s probably been a couple of thousand variations worldwide, and the shoe was already 18 years old by that point. This was a personal list with a slight prejudice against some sacred cows (for instance, a lot of patent versions have aged appallingly and Entourage was a TV show for dickheads). Looking back, it’s bizarre to think that something as simple as a familiar shoe made to look a bit like a Timberland boot could blow my mind conceptually once upon a time. But blow my mind it did, hence its high-ranking on the list which you can read here or by clicking the image above.



I wrote a little piece for my friends at Complex on the 30th anniversary of Spike Lee’s She’s Gotta Have It and its subsequent influence on sports footwear and the Air Jordan line. You can read it HERE or by clicking on the image above. A couple of bits that never made the final edit are below, because this place is a good place to dump unwanted paragraphs. Continue reading 30 YEARS OF SHE’S GOTTA HAVE IT & MARS’ AIR JORDANS


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I wrote some Euro-centric stuff about Gazelles that Complex kindly published. You can read it RIGHT HERE. Naturally, I rambled on and some stuff had to be cut, so I stuck it here. Deleted paragraphs in a deleted scenes style. I’ve never actually liked the Gazelle much beyond that 1991-1997 era, but I can understand the appeal and its popularity is significant. This is my last shoe history thing for a while because I’m starting to bore myself. Continue reading SUEDE & ANTELOPES



Not much to report here this evening, but you can find my rambling on why the late 1980s and early 1990s were sillier when it came to athletic footwear than 2016 over at Hypebeast, plus a quick chat with Don C about bootlegs, dope boys and other reasons why the Air Jordan II is underrated for Complex. That lazy use of links makes this the shortest entry on here in a while, but both pieces would have ended up here if the editors of those respective sites had rejected them. The HB piece is the first in an ongoing monthly column, so keep an eye out for another one.



The COMPLEX man dem have been longtime supporters of this site, so I’m always down to contribute to their ever-expanding empire. They’re always tolerant of my traffic haemorrhaging rantings, and with the past week being dedicated to people banging on about the resurrection of the MAG (then being inexplicably disappointed that they could’t immediately buy a pair for 250 quid), I jotted down a few thoughts on what the shoe inspired over the last 26 years beyond the fancy special effect lacing. Continue reading ‘PLEX & BOBBITO