Tag Archives: nike

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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1993 OPENING

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An abundance of footage of the 1993 opening of a Miami Nikeshop branch recently appeared on SHOP TOUR CANAL OFFICIAL’s YouTube account. If you look at this site relatively regularly, you’ll know it’s my favourite channel for the way it dwells on the products in shops from yesteryear. That ACG selection with the LE Huaraches in the mix is particularly appealing here and, as usual, you need to be Brazilian to understand some of that dialect, but the shelves do the talking. Suits, basketball showcases, execs, some Night Tracks in a display case and people in short denim shorts dancing solemnly to new jack swing are just part of the launch festivities. A nice little snapshot of a moment in time that’s rarely documented.

WHITE FORCES

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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.

AIR SHIPS

This did the rounds a few months ago, but after the regular splatter of speculative articles surrounding what the banned Nike Air Ship actually looked like, all we seemed to have to go on was a couple of black and white training and action photos and really blurry split second pre-game footage from Madison Square Garden. But this footage of Jordan playing against the Bucks at a Washington High School, East Chicago on October 9th (easily falling into the period that’s mentioned in the stern letter from NBA commissioners) was dug up by true Jordan fan MJO23DAN. I was also pretty sure — though I can’t find the supporting evidence I spotted right now — that the lettering that replaces the wings logo on the strange Rare Air versions of the AJ1 is taken from the heel of Jordan’s Air Ships. We tend to exist in an echo chamber when it comes to legends around shoes and I and many others are guilty of pecking at what’s already out there, so salutes to this YouTuber and connoisseur for researching and sharing this video.

AIR TR*MP

For a while I was convinced that I imagined that Donald Trump appeared in a Nike commercial in the late 1990, and the sheer volume of great campaigns during the 1990s didn’t make ascertaining which ad any easier. But, thanks to YouTube (big up mercatfat), I was reminded that it was part of the 1997/98 era Fun Police series with the likes of Kevin Garnett, Tim Hardaway and Gary Payton, Jason Kidd, Damon Stoudamire and knowingly fun-free characters like Cherokee Parks. Promoting a series of memorably eccentric Zoom-assisted silhouettes, one spot includes a one line speaking role by the future president-elect himself. Before you take those red boxes into the back garden ready to set them alight, chill — this was when Trump was seen as a New York mascot of sorts (and back then, without the internet, it was easier to forget that this was around the time he seemed to switch from Democrat to Republican, or that just eight years prior, he demanded the execution of five wrongfully accused young black men — including a boy of just 15), appearing in everything, from Home Alone 2 to The Nanny to Sex and the City, as well as ads for Pizza Hut, Oreo and McDonald’s. And by turning him into this larger-than-life caricature of capitalism, we all created a monster. But 20 years ago, the events of this coming Friday seemed even more improbable as a young boy left alone in New York thwarting the same duo of bumbling crooks he’d defeated before in a completely different city.

GOLDEN ERA STORE FOOTAGE

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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.