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Get Your Kicks On: Nike, New Balance or No Logo?

Get Your Kicks On: Nike, New Balance or No Logo?

Posted by Dalton Higgins on July 15, 2014

While spring might mean showers and/or flowers to you, to those like me who live in the concrete jungle, it means something entirely different. Spring means sneakers. So out go the Timberlands, Doc Martens and Blundstones, and in come the Converse Chuck Taylor’s, Ewings, New Balance 574’s and Air Jordan’s. Do shoes make the man (or mannequin)? And do you sometimes feel like you’ve become the DJ Clark Kent of North York, or the Imelda Marcos of Brooklyn?

If some of you are wondering why I included the Ewing brand sneakers in my hit list, it’s because I’m Jamaican (braap, braap, more fyah, Free World Boss). In all seriousness though, the Ewing 33 high cut sneakers that marked the childhood of many Generation X types were supposed to be making a comeback. But then again, so was Lamar Odom and you’ve all seen what happened there.

While fellow yardie Usain Bolt is largely considered to be one of the Don Dada’s of the sneaker game with his reported $10 million a year Puma deal, he doesn’t own any stock in the Puma company that I’m aware of. Whereas Patrick Ewing (now an assistant coach with the Charlotte Bobcats) was actually the first NBA basketball player to develop his own shoe company by 1989. While other ballers were simply content to shill product for yet another multi-national, Ewing wanted to own his own brand. So when I say it was a scintillating experience to see his signature model on display at the “Out of the Box: The Rise of Sneaker Culture” exhibit – the first exhibit of its kind in North America to chronicle the history of the sneaker from the 19th century to today – curated by Elizabeth Semmelhack and overseen by influential industrial designer Karim Rashid.

And if you say you’ve never been to a sneaker event, confab or exhibit, then you just aren’t living. I used to hang out with some hardcore sneaker junkies (affectionately referred to as sneaker heads) who would drag me to these shoe conventions to pore over the latest hard to find, exclusive, limited release models. At these events, upon entry, everybody in the room would look me up and down – but mostly down – beginning with my sneakers. And as superficial as it may sound but if my sneakers were deemed to be on point, I might receive something like a secret handshake, except that it would be given by the sneaker fraternity members eyes. That is while some other dudes in this space would stare directly at my shoes to see if my feet were living right inside of them, or perhaps to speculate on whether I’d paid my sneaker collecting dues. To see whether I’d earned the right to exist in these scared spaces.

It’s all simple, really. While world famous rapper Drake took his lint brush to his pants (during a crucial Raptors playoff game), others might’ve been taking their toothbrushes to their Jordan brand (during a not-so crucial yet predictable delay on the TTC). And much like how some cats need some fries to go with that shake, or a few Heneiken’s to go with that steak, I’ve become a Nike Air Force One guy over the years. Honestly, is their another sneaker you can think of, that can so seamlessly and effortlessly traverse the different worlds one might occupy; from hanging out on Brownstone stoops to walking along Fashion Week catwalks. I’ve seen dudes rock their all-white high cut Air Force Ones to wedding parties. Whether low-tops or mid-cut sneakers are your thing, all the way to sneaker boots and slip-ons, the time is now to renew your respective sneaker fetishes. P.S. If you have a pair of Nike Air Yeezy’s you want to unload, just holler.  

Out of the Box: The Rise of Sneaker Culture runs until June 1st, 2014 at Toronto Bata Shoe Museum

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