Understanding a Sneakerhead - The Soul of a Sole
photography by reegsta

I like sneakers. This topic evolved from “sneakers sneakerheads should own” to “classic kicks,” but I will simplify it by just naming fresh kicks from one shoe lover’s perspective. I mean we all have different tastes, so something that’s dope in my eyes very well may be an eyesore to you.

People often ask me if I’m fond of a particular pair that they’re eyeing, and I give my honest opinion, which might sway them from one direction to another. But the golden rule is: wear what you like, and emphasize the YOU part. Don’t rock a pair of kicks because other people sweat them, because of scarcity or because you’ve waited in line overnight for them. If you think a pair of kicks is fresh, then that’s all that really matters. Jay-Z says, “What you eat, don’t make me sh!t,” and likewise, what you wear shouldn’t make me sh!t either.


Anyways, I can rant about kicks forever, so let me just present 7 dope kicks I would want to have if I were stranded on a deserted island. And yes, in that hypothetical situation I would still rock these since I wear them for myself as previously mentioned. Why 7? Well, there’s one for every day of the week in case I lose track of the date. This list is partial to the Swoosh, so you won’t see any 3 Stripes, Vectors or Mr. Taylor’s on here. Again I’ll reiterate these aren’t the 7 best sneakers, but rather 7 of my favorite sneakers of all time.

1. Air Jordan III

Black/Grey/Red

Picking my favorite Jordan is akin to asking my mother who her favorite son is. It’s just not a fair question. This shoe is so historic both design-wise and basketball-wise that it had to be the first shoe I mentioned. What shoe did Michael Jordan wear to win the 1988 Dunk Contest where he took off from the free throw line? It was the Jordan III [albeit in a different colorway] . It was also the first Jordan to employ the visible-air technology and have the ubiquitous Jumpman on the tongue and Nike Air logo on the heel, while also being the first Jordan to use elephant print. I love this shoe as if it were a son of mine.

2. Air Jordan IV

White/Cement Grey/Black/Red

How can you follow up a classic shoe? With another classic shoe obviously. One of the never-ending shoe debates is what is the greater shoe, the III or the IV. It’s up there with the 2Pac vs. Biggie and chicken vs. egg arguments. Really there is no answer as they are equal in my book. Personally I sway back and forth between models as it just depends on how I feel at the moment. While similar in shape to the III, this sneaker uses mesh and tabbed wings for its eyelets. Nike knew people who rocked these would want to floss them, so the upside-down Air Jordan tag behind the tongue was meant for other people to see.

3. Air Max 90

Infrared/Grey/Black/White

I have a confession to make. When Nike released the History of Air pack in ‘05, I did not scoop up a pair of these but not without justification. You see, Nike released a super-close retro of the shoe exclusively in Europe in ’02, and being the avant-garde sneakerhead I am, I went ahead and purchased them when exchange rates were tolerable. For a while they were the crown jewel of my Air Maxes as they helped me win my first poker tournament in ‘03. There are subtle differences between the two colorways, but I’m not sure Tinker Hatfield could even differentiate between the two. I can take solace in that I have the version with a bigger air bubble.

4. Zoom Spiridon

Metallic Silver/Red/Black

Before the Nike Free, there was the Spiridon. Probably the lightest shoe I own, its versatility is why it made the list. When these dropped, they were loosely endorsed by Michael Johnson before he did any of those Budweiser commercials. When these were retroed in ‘05, there was a mild uproar since this edition did not have its trademark metallic swoosh. Although anyone who’s owned an original pair can attest to its early cracking, the matte-finish swoosh made for a longer shelf life. There aren’t many shoes in my closet that I have doubles of, but this is one of them.

5. Air Trainer III

Medicine Ball/White/Navy

Comprising a third of the Do The Right Thing trinity [along with the aforementioned Air Jordan IV and Air Revolution], this shoe was retroed in ‘01. However, Nike didn’t do the right thing concerning distribution. Three batches of 3000 numbered sneakers were released in the following geographical regions: U.S. East Coast, Europe and Asia . Even though my pair is numbered 2416, there are a couple other 2416′s out there. Known as the Medicine Balls, these kicks have led the way to a recently released Dunk colorway featuring the same color palette. Once a shoe inspires another shoe, it becomes more than just another shoe and takes its place in shoe-lore.

6. Air Trainer Huarache

Grey/Black/White

While not the first Huarache, this model definitely had the most staying power. Not that it needed it, but the Huarache revitalized the Air Trainer line. Its nubuck material and mesh strap over the middle provided comfort and non-bulkiness that the Trainers of its day had. It didn’t hurt that Michigan’s Fab Five rocked the flight version of this shoe during their freshman season. These were retroed with little fanfare in ’02, so I had an easy time picking them up.

7. Air Humara

Orange/Olive/Grey

Thus far on my list I have two hoops, two running and two trainers. For an all-purpose shoe that can withstand the daily rigors of being on a deserted island, I need an All Conditions Gear shoe. This may be somewhat of a regional pick as this shoe resonated with people in my area. When they were retroed in ‘01, I was actually able to pick up a pair out of town for 50% off. I am reminded of this deal every time I rock this pair as the price tag is still on the box.

I’ve had the pleasure to own and wear all of these kicks, and ever since they were fresh out of the box they have remained in my rotation. The common thread is that all of these shoes have been retroed at one time or another, so it provided me the opportunity to obtain them rather easily. Each of them carry its own story as if you’re wearing history on your feet. So the next time you see someone wearing one of these shoes, stop in your tracks and give him or her a pound. Chances are the shoes would be part of their deserted island rotation as well.



Comments

9 Responses to “Understanding a Sneakerhead – The Soul of a Sole”

  1. David Carmona on February 22nd, 2008 12:17 am

    Agreed,… Different taste.
    I would totally rock a pair of ‘Zoo York’ sneakers, only only if under 100 bucks and there dam better be a small diamond if I’m paying more.

    -Zoo York Shoes:
    http://www.zooyork.com/product/footwear07/index.html

    Also even though there played out by now, I still enjoy my slip on’s from Van’s which are sooooo comfy no matter how old they are.

    -Van’s Shoes:
    http://skate.vans.com/SHOES/slipon.html

    Also as a note to your selection, I would like them more if I was athletic and played basketball alot. I digg the style and love the flavor but just not my kicks. Currently I go to a school in San Francisco and I love crazy designed shoes,..maybe not all of them I would wear, but still none the less kick ass.

    Example ‘Kick ass’ in my books:
    http://tinyurl.com/2u8v5f

    Overall you have some interesting shoe interest and keep rockin it,…I enjoy the open conversation of what shoes mean to people,…I think people have a very odd bond with their shoes…
    -dave

  2. kram on February 22nd, 2008 10:33 am

    no love for “ewings”!? Good read. Always good to hear insight on kicks from true sneakerheads. Infared 90′s still on the top of my grail list.

  3. Anthony on February 22nd, 2008 11:20 am

    Great sampling of shoes. I’d probably wear the Spiridons the most if I was on the deserted island since they have the most reflection and a helicopter might see me.

    I’ve actually owned 2 of those shoes (Jordan IV and Spiridon). Right now I have been riding my Vans (slate and black) and classic black low top Chucks pretty hard the last couple of years.

    I still will always love the Nike Air Force Max B’s in Black and Grey (Charles Barkley’s back in the day I think).
    http://www.pickyourshoes.com/athletic/nike_force_max_b_blk_gry.htm

  4. Alano on February 22nd, 2008 1:29 pm

    Great selection, Reegsta. I would have to say the Humaras has a special place in my heart. I had the navy/orange/grey ones and they were stolen out of my car back in the day. I felt so fresh in high school when I rocked them. Only had it for a couple months though…

  5. ugly on February 22nd, 2008 3:39 pm

    The Jordan IV’s are flashing me back to grade school when I first laid eyes on them. So sick, saw a classmate with them and told myself I gotta get them.
    “Hey Mom, check out these shoes! So and so has them, can I get them?”
    “$100 something dollars, are you stupid?!?!”
    So Mom ends up buying me shoes on the Copeland’s sale tables, and they were never Nikes. 2 for $49.99 – Mom wouldn’t even let me upgrade to the 2 for $69.99 table. And they were always two sizes too big. No matter what, the Ewings were never Jordans.

    Thanks for bringing up the old nightmares, Reeg.

    All good though, I made up for it when I got the Air Max 95s (the only pair I’ve ever paid over $100)….in 2000 or 2001. Loved them so much I finally retired them after my socks showed through the sole.

  6. Roland on February 23rd, 2008 2:42 am

    GREAT READ…I HAVE ALL THOSE SHOES!!!!

  7. Lauren on August 2nd, 2008 10:56 am

    AIR FORCE 1′s?! how can u sleep on those?!

  8. markcondon on September 24th, 2008 2:08 pm

    oh I have second pair of Air Max 90 but didnt really knew about the others, thanks

  9. mulberry outlet on November 16th, 2011 1:09 am

    Great selection, Reegsta. I would have to say the Humaras has a special place in my heart. I had the navy/orange/grey ones and they were stolen out of my car back in the day. I felt so fresh in high school when I rocked them. Only had it for a couple months though…




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