This blog commenced as an outlet for non-sneaker babble, but as time goes by, I find myself drifting in and out of obsession with pleather uppers and rubber soles. At present, I’m fiending for the J Crew New Balance 1400 and the Nike ACG Lunar Macleay. As in, really fiending for them—not finding myself attracted to the next best thing because the competition is so aesthetically displeasing, like 2:59am in a provincial nightclub. They will be mine. So consider this post a celebration of a purer approach to sports footwear.
Lately —and this is certainly no bad thing—I’ve spotted more and more loving tributes to sports shoes of old and a throwback to a more genteel time of footwear preoccupation. While there’s a part of my mind that wants to fill the information gaps on everything from my teenage years, I try to gag that voice for fear of slipping into regression. However, here was a point a short while back, when the shelves heaved with trainers self-consciously trying not to look like trainers and appalling hybrids. Brands were hopping aboard with “top-tier” collaboration “programmes” who just weren’t very credible the first time around. Everything seemed to implode. No wonder suede brogues made a reappearance in the most unlikely of sportswear-centric circles.
Fortunately, common sense prevailed and some good bits and pieces seemed to drop without the ruinous gaggle of pre-release shit that makes us hate product before we’ve ever physically felt it. I maintain that the darkest moment for fanboys and girls was awareness of collector culture and an attempt to harness that love with colours and fabrics rather than innovation and brand-new product. It’s refreshing that even ‘INVENTORY’—that perfect-bound periodical clutched by the stern-faced neo-hype massive maintains a very strong sneaker page that’s a good continuation of h(y)r’s original online magazine output.
Just as camo is back (and while I’m not paying £65 for a Champion repro tee I need a Real McCoys Tiger print jacket), the sneaker seems to have made another of its cyclical returns, and the blog realm is currently reflecting this. Want to know why? Because sauntering around with a tote bag rocking a cardi and sensible shoes is something we’re destined to do in our twilight years.
Of course, we oldies need to smarten up, but I propose we delay the inevitable slide into utterly sensible for a short while to come and dig out the articles that weren’t too tainted by the cynicism that retrospective shoe slurry can fuel. Complete crap can fuel negativity as if it was biomass, so I propose you kick back and read Bobbito’s ‘Confessions of a Sneaker Addict’ from May 1991’s ‘The Source’—reading it now, it’s pretty basic, given the electronic access to information we’ve long been exposed to, but those AF1s with a gold swoosh are no joke. Listening to nearly five hours of Stretch and Bobbito’s reunion radio show makes getting reacquainted with one of the original collector articles courtesy of Kool Bob extra timely.
I just finished writing a piece that’s a hefty love letter to the greatest period for footwear for another source and my mind is aching, hence the brief length of this entry. As an extra bonus, I chucked in the ‘Mass Appeal’ adidas basketball article from spring 2002 too—it’s not as enlightening as the phenomenal ‘Three is the Magic Number’ adi history from issue three of ‘Grand Royal’ (watch this space), but I don’t care much for the brand’s non-basketball output, so some of the imagery is priceless.