Tag Archives: windrunners



There’s plenty of little corners of footwear cultdom that haven’t been flogged to death yet because nobody actually knows why they ever existed in the first place. The Nike Escape collection is one of those unturned stones. Like Foot Locker’s Limited Edition collection from the early 1990s — a line that paralleled Escape in its executions — these shoes were just there in selected stockists one day. Premium materials and muted colours on some of the best shoes of the time, back when most colourways were just there rather than relying on specific concepts. The real name of this collection was actually a fancier-sounding Escape by Nike when the project debuted in late 1988. Two Air Force IIIs (as seen in the video for Straighten It Out by Pete Rock & CL Smooth), two Air Cross Trainer Lows, the proto ACG Lahar and Son of Lava Dome, an Air Windrunner, plus the Street Shark turf shoe all got a new appearance for the launch and with an RRP of $125 on those IIIs, they were obviously aiming at a moneyed consumer.

I’m not entirely sure what Escape by Nike was all about — it doesn’t seem to connect to 1984’s Escape trail runner. Instead, this felt more like a deliberate attempt to target consumers looking to wear Nike designs for fashion rather than athletic reasons — the materials seem more luxurious and the colours were targeted at everyday wear. With the Air Safari a year prior being an early experiment in hitting the leisure wear audience with that merger of Windrunner and Air Max, Escape looks like a follow-up. With All Conditions Gear just created, maybe there was a connection there of some sort. In many ways it seems to be the grandaddy of today’s relentless rollouts of themed makeups, except back then even Nike seemed nervous about describing what they were trying to do. The White/Chocolate Brown-Black colour combination (note the lack of Escape tongue labels on the samples shown on the page above) would find its way onto several shoes, defining the look of this project and being part of some more recent JD Sports exclusives as well as some excellent reissues from the mid 2000s — the Air Force 1s, Air Force IIs and Air Trainer SCs could have easily made this page if it was a catalogue from either side of 1988.

Escape didn’t end with these eight shoes either. From what I’ve seen, there were at least two more Windrunners (including the lesser-seen one in this image with the colour scheme seen on AM93s, Huaraches and AM90s), a very rare and incredibly simple Air Max Light (see below) with a matching Son of Lava Dome and — unless I dreamt it — a Greco wrestling shoe. All additions to the 1988-1990 Escape output list are welcome in the comments below.

nikeairmaxlightescape (1)


The last few days have had a faintly apocalyptic feel — not so much in the acts of a few kids liberating some adidas PTs, but in what it’s going to unleash in terms of a crackdown on day-to-day life. One minute you’re in the park eating a Taste the Difference sandwich with three colleagues and the next you’ll be sent sprawling by a hose blast for your unlawful gathering. Banging on the door to wake your housemates at 3am? Rubber bullet to the chest. You can thank the youth posing solemnly for phonecam glory with the bumper bag of Tesco’s Value Basmati rice for that when you’re spluttering on the floor, being booted in the ribs. There’s dissent elsewhere too.

My buddy Philip at Madbury Club (a site that makes most other sites out there look weak) stood calm in the face of being hacked and losing a wealth of excellent content a few months back and just started again. Already, Madbury’s better than the rest and he let me write some stream-of-consciousness nonsense about ‘Watch the Throne’ during a third listen. I liked that album a lot — not as much as I loved ‘Rise of the Planet of the Apes’ (which at the halfway point turns into a monkey prison flick) in the hype that delivers stakes, so I don’t understand the backlash.

But then I also don’t understand how people could be so moved by it that they Tweeted about it for 24 hours, will probably return to babbling on about it at the end of the week, collating reactions to it like the craze of filming yourself reacting to some women eating each other’s shit (an apt metaphor for something or other), then gather tearfully every August the 8th to commemorate the day that two men rapping about fancy slacks and art galleries changed their lives. If the media’s looking to point the finger at rap for Britain’s troubles, ‘Watch the Throne’ would be a shoddy scapegoat. If the youth were corrupted by this, they’d have been grabbing unpronounceable brands and priceless paintings. Anyway, ‘Ye and Jay had that scapegoat skinned a long time ago to make some luxurious driving shoes.

My favourite discovery online today was that whiny-voiced-yet-prolific mixtape maker (whose ultra-zooted ‘Ride Around Slow’ I’ve had on rotation for a while) Rich Hil has been dissing Supreme in the New York Observer. Dan Duray’s profile of the rapper ends with,

“Later in the night everyone ordered Indian food and after the five chicken tikka masalas arrived, Rich began to rail against the clothing label Supreme, which he used to wear regularly, until they started “fucking with Odd Future,” a West Coast rap group.

Now he wants to kidnap Odd Future frontman Tyler the Creator and make a music video where an attractive woman takes a duffel bag of Supreme out to the middle of the desert and burns it. He didn’t say for which song.”

That’s doubly amusing in the knowledge that Rich Hil is Tommy Hilfiger’s son. Two of my favourite clothing empires collide in those closing quotes. His output isn’t Chilly Tee level, but some of the drug dealer boasts (despite that documented bust) seem a little unnecessary given the options available. On the Hilfiger subject, I loved Diamond D’s revelation that, “Tommy Hilfiger or his brother Andy came over to the video shoot in person in a big body 600…and opened up the trunk and said ‘Back up, this is all for Puba” during the ‘Watch the Sound’ shoot in the Complex piece recently.

Rich was merrily Tweeting about Supreme until a couple of months ago too. I thought it was just kids who got into Supreme in 2008 sitting on message boards moaning that it’s “mainstream now” but it appears even the Rapidshare rappers out there are getting restless. I tried to calculate as to whether there’s a direct trajectory between how annoying a white rapper is and how many tattoos they’ve got, but Lil Wyte, Paul Wall and Yelawolf all disproved my theory with an abundance of ink. Machine Gun Kelly and Mac Miller are prone to pulling some annoying expressions, but at least white rappers have stopped trying to out psycho each other by rapping about bumming their own mums and stuff – they seem to have substituted that with game of who can amass full sleeves and a neck piece the fastest. Oh, and media coverage claiming that Rich is the best ever rapper from Connecticut are forgetting that Stezo, and — on the melanin-deficient front — Apathy, are a lot better.

This is my ‘Save the Elephant’ appeal. I’m a Nikehead. If you read this blog regularly you’ll know that. But just as that guy from GoDaddy caused trouble by shooting an elephant dead a while back, my beloved elephant print’s appeal has been slaughtered. On the Air Jordan III, it was amazing. I saw glimpses of it on Windrunners, some Airliner Cortez, Pegasus and an Air Trainer 1 from around the same time. The Air Force IV/STS worked it in nicely in 1989. Seven years later it showed up on the Air Jordan XI IE Lows in style — a nice throwback to the previous decade on a Jordan that still maintains a certain mystique.

When Supreme dropped their Dunk Low SB in October 2002, the resurrection of that pattern and reference to a 1988 aesthetic was indicative of Supreme’s knack for nailing a theme, and it seemed like a coup to fuse a Jordan aesthetic with a Dunk. How naive we were, but that duo of makeups is still classic. It’s quaint to think that seeing it on a Parisian b-boy’s custom Doublegoose seemed so unfeasibly fresh a few years back.

Chris Hall’s one-off Air Force 1 Hi makeup from 2005 and those unreleased Courir Air Flight 89 from 2003 aside, the magic’s been eroded during the last decade. Nine silhouettes (including the AJIII) carried it superbly. The last five years of abuses are proof that this classic pattern needs to be kept in a vault for outings that justify such a prestigious application. This mistreatment of a noble animal (print) must stop.


I’m taking inspiration from some interesting figures this year. You can keep your influencer or “brand builder”—I’ve been conducting my own little investigation into odd and evil characters, and there’s something weirdly mesmerizing about some monstrous individuals. I’d sooner watch the Aum Shinrikyo anime recruitment video than listen to a payola-led prediction about what 2011’s boom-brand will be. I’ve been watching that as well as marveling at the wide-eyed joy on the faces of Heaven’s Gate cult members pre-suicide on the “exit statement” video as Marshall Applewhite excitedly introduces each person, just before the infamous phenobarbitone pudding mass snacking. What do those folks know that we don’t? It doesn’t quite match the nightmarish aura of the Jonestown death tape—Jim Jones’s total lack of his fabled charisma, the bursts of mania and crying, plus the ghostly sound of previous music and hymns from a previous recording on the tape conjures up a scene that’s several shades of wrong. They’re all examples of PR and marketing gone hideously right…how do you generate that level of devotion? It’s one thing to sell bad denim to idiots nomadically hunting for the “next shit,” but getting your followers to take it up a notch in the devotion stakes is very intriguing indeed.

I’d love to have seen Shoko Asahara, the Rev. Jim Jones and Marshall Applewhite perform a TED talk on brand loyalty. They’re scumbags, but they were obviously onto something when it came to marketing. I also want to know why 1982’s cult errr….cult film ‘Split Image’ with James Woods and Peter Fonda (as a religious leader of sorts) remains in limbo.

Marshall’s insistence on a nifty little exit outfit, complete with that ‘Away Team’ patch (the lurid cult logo has long been a favourite of mine), and just as Jim gave out Flavor Aid rather than the rumoured Kool Aid, talk of Cortez as the Heaven’s Gate footwear of choice is wrong too. While that outsole is different to contemporary examples, they look more like budget 1996/1997 Windrunners or—looking at the outsole compared to the usual Windrunner*—a Waffle runner of sorts. I wish Nike would put that shoe out again.

*Thanks to shoe genius Mr. Ghettrocentricity the shoe is officially  identified…it’s a Nike Decade. Wikipedia needs to fall back with its talk of Windrunners. Shoe images courtesy of eBay and only-sneakers.ru.

Is that really a Windrunner sole…or something else?

But if you’re talking workrates, Richard “The Iceman” Kuklinski is a fascinating case study. Well regarded by NYC and Newark mobs as the hitman of choice, he was a steely eyed hulk of a man and a complete psychopath, but at least he was thorough. With a child killer as a younger brother and another brother killed at his alcoholic father’s hands, he was destined to turn out peculiar, but he channelled his blank approach to mayhem in a more profitable way. Testing crossbows on strangers to gauge effectiveness, killing prey with cyanide inhalers, videoing supposed rapists being eaten by rats, dressing up as a 6″5 homosexual to apparently evade detection and putting screwdrivers through spines to prevent escape, he was clearly a monster—and a wifebeater too—but he kept his day job a secret from his family. As a freelancer, he amassed a strong reputation that led to constant work. Let that be a lesson to you budding stylists, copy writers and designers out there—keep it thorough. Given his size, location and family life, his story must’ve entered ‘The Sopranos’ at pre-production stage in one way or another. On the HBO topic, their 1991 and 2001 interviews with Kuklinski are excellent. That blank face and subject matter is at odds with his colourful sweatshirt in the 1991 conversation—he’s a chilling character, and he’s in more standard prison attire for the 2001 chat, but seems marginally more relaxed.

If you’re caught up in notions of mobster glamour, Philip Carlo’s ‘The Ice Man: Confessions of a Mafia Contract Killer’ and ‘The Butcher: Anatomy of a Mafia Psychopath’ (based on the antics of Tommy “Karate” Pitera) are a good read. Kuklinski was apparently a little liberal with the truth, but it’s entertaining and terrifying nonetheless. Philip Carlo passed away late last year, but his book is the crux of a forthcoming film about “The Iceman” which would have been good with the long-rumoured Mickey Rourke lead (though if you’ve watched the chats, Gandolfini or Rip Torn a few years back could have nailed it), but now its rival production has the green light. Based on another book on the big man by Anthony Brunowith and the HBO specials, the usually unhinged Michael Shannon will be starring, with Benicio Del Toro as his mafia employer, Roy Demeo and James Franco as Robert “Mr. Softee” Pronge. Normally, I’d be sceptical that the film will ever materialise, but a test scene has appeared online with Shannon killing a non-Franco Mr. Softee (played by Michael Wincott). I’m looking forward to it. In the violent cinema stakes, Lee Tamahori’s ‘The Devil’s Double’ about Uday Hussein and his lookalike sounds like lurid fun, but ‘The Iceman’ has some serious potential.

This post was meant to be a rundown of what I saw on a brief Germanic tradeshow jaunt, but other than the Gourmet sneakers using Horween’s Cordovan leather, LVC’s new range (and that RRL influence via the new man in charge shows in a major way), Levi’s Made & Crafted and Supra’s plans for 2011, it was pretty underwhelming. Those tripping in France at the moment will be seeing the truly good stuff..