Sneakers, runners, trainers, kicks, whatever your lingo, athletic shoes have become a fashion culture onto its own. Like many mainstream fashions, sneaker style was cultivated on the streets and permeated pop culture through big name athletes and high profile musicians pimpin’ them like nobody's business.
Now a trip down memory lane…
I remember my first pair of certified ‘kicks’ were the first Nike Air Max. The Beatle’s ‘Revolution’ became the new theme for Nike’s latest creation in the mid 80s – the somewhat gimmicky Air pocket (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=iMXhtFik-vI). With athletes on board, big production ads and media spends, the public didn’t stand a chance. My second pair of sneaks were one of the most coveted shoes ever (not to brag or anything). A black pair of Air Jordan IV. At the time, Jordan’s were unavailable in Canada, and black was almost impossible to find. Smuggled across the border, I was the envy of every baller despite having a j-shot that tended to drift left. Well that’s the way I remember it and I think that is why runners are so loved by sneaker heads. They help us relive our glory days. When the world was still our oyster! Sadly, we discovered a thing called ‘bills’ and ‘9-to-5’ that destroyed all that was good and pure in the world.
Now that I have a baby baller, I wonder if he’ll inherit my love? I don’t think he has a say – yes I’ve turned into one of THOSE parents.
Here is our top iconic kicks to get the love started in your budding sneaker head. All of these runners usually pop up in the kids section of stores across the globe through out the year in various colour ways. So keep a look out!
1) Nike Air Max I. Retro
The ‘Retro’ production run with the original colours will no doubt bring back 80’s flashbacks…welcomed or not. This shoe changed everything with its ‘Air’ sole and started the high end sneaker rage. $100 sneakers were unheard of back then.
2/3) Converse Chuck Taylor and Jack Purcell
Chuck Taylors may have been the original athletic shoe that was the precursor to the modern day high performance shoe. Given its originator status, this shoe enjoys legend status and huge mainstream popularity. Classic looks and affordability doesn’t hurt either. Jack Purcell’s, a less known Converse classic but one that cannot be denied. A little more refined than the Chuck’s, the happy face toe bump is instantly recognizable to any hard-core sneaker connoisseur.
4) Vans Checker Slip On Skate Shoe
Introduced in the mid 60’s when skate culture was still searching for it's bad self, Van’s became wildly popular in the 80’s and have become so again - love the simplicity and the kitschy vibe these shoes radiate.
5) Nike Dunks High
One of the most popular shoes in the world amongst street savvy fashionistas. If you need a shoe that holds its street credibility for baby, check out Dunk’s. Because of its popularity and collectability, Nike produces this model in every possible colour combination. Great for when you have to match a killer tracksuit. Comes in High and Low variants.
6) Adidas Superstar
Like any iconic piece of design, this shoe has stood the test of time and still looks sharp as a tack. Introduced at the end of the 60’s and made hugely popular by Run DMC and later Missy E, Superstars have never really fallen out of demand. Like the Dunks for Nike, this shoe is one of Adidas’ bread and butter models and infinite colour ways are being constantly introduced. If you can get your hands on a pair of Consortium Adidas versions, do it! Extremely rare and made with primo materials and paint.
7) Air Jordan III
Where were you when MJ took off from the free throw line, hung in the Air and slammed it home to win his second Slam Dunk title? Gotta dig nostalgia! He wore a pair of these that night and solidified his line of shoes as one of the most iconic sneakers ever. This shoe introduced the freshly minted visible Air sole and the street inspired, ‘Cement’ finish ‘leather’ which is probably one of the most copied textures in sneaker culture. This pair belongs to the boy and hoping he uses them to start working on his jumper… preferably one that doesn’t drift left or right.