This is a double episode of Things. Aren’t you a lucky lot today?
Air Max Cross-Trainer ’91 Bo Jackson
I bought this pair of shoes from eBay a couple years ago. Ugly aren’t they? The reason I sought and bought these was a nostalgic one: A guy at high school had a pair, and I didn’t. In fact, back in the year nineteen-hundred-and-ninety-one, when I was in year eight, expensive Nike sports shoes were the shiznit1. As was NWA, Public Enemy, Twin Peaks, and the Super Nintendo. I remember all these things featured prominently in that year at my high school, but they were probably a year or two behind everyone else.
Expensive sports shoes were one thing which seemed immune from the delay. Someone always knew someone who had a cousin in the US, and they always brought home the latest and greatest Nikes. It was a matter of exclusivity and boasting rather than the shoes matching the person’s sports preferences, or even shoe size! If you were the first to have them, you were the shazlick2.
This was also the era when people I knew were ‘rolled’ of their expensive Nike sports shoes. I’m sure this still happens today, but it seemed more prevalent in the early 90s. This happened to a good mate of mine, threatened at knifepoint for the Nikes he received as a Christmas gift. Even back then, without the accumulated wisdom I have now, It was fucked, but it didn’t deter people getting their feet into the newest shoes however they could.
The Air Trainer Max ’91Bo Jackson’s were desirable. They were available in Australia, but they had a hefty price tag. I don’t actually recall the price, but I know I, or rather, my parents, wouldn’t’ve been able to afford them. I coveted them pretty hard — the odd contrasting colour way of cool grey and warm yellow, the velcro straps, the futuristic tongue. It would be almost 20 years before I got a pair for myself. Stick that in your pipe and smoke it, childhood-me!
For such a chunky and ugly shoe, their weight, or lack thereof, is remarkable. When you wear them, they feel almost non-existent. That is except for the fact my pair are one size too big for me. I know, I know, perhaps the irony in my earlier statement about owning the shoes at any cost shouldn’t’ve been so ironic. The fact is I couldn’t find my size of this shoe on eBay, and because I needed them now, I made the sacrifice. (Incidentally, Nike re-released this shoe in mid-2010 at selected stores in the US, a year or so after I’d bought mine. I’d like to say I have a pair of the originals, but I don’t really care about this. Had I known it was coming, I’d’ve waited until the rerelease).
I love these shoes, but I don’t wear them often. They don’t really go with anything other than sports attire. I’d wear them on a basketball court, or maybe a tennis court, but not to any large semi-formal parties where I’d be mingling with strangers. Oh wait…
Air Jordan 5s (wolf grey)
I bought this pair of shoes from the Nike store a few days ago. Beautiful aren’t they? The Air Jordan 5s were the most popular and desired classic Nike shoe in those impressionable days of early high school. Three of my friends had a pair, including the victim in the aforementioned knifepoint ‘rolling’, and they were awesome.
Michael Jordan was at the peak of his popularity around this time, and combined with the simple but futuristic design made this the biggest-selling Air Jordan shoe (well, not this one, the original white version).
Again, I coveted. The clear rubber sole, the plastic mesh on the sides, the lace locks, and of course the reflective tongue, all worked together in a great-looking and functional basketball shoe. Wikipedia tells us the 5 is regarded as the best Air Jordan shoe for actually playing basketball in.
Fast forward to a few days ago. Kelly and I were spending a voucher for fitness/health products given to Kelly by work. We’ve recently started playing, so we needed to grab some new balls and ‘sporty’ clothes (my snow-camo army shorts were no longer cutting it). While looking around In the Nike store in KLCC, I spotted the grey Jordan 5s, and almost got as excited as when I saw the Lego Death Star in person for the first time. These were the shoes I’ve wanted for 20 years, in all mid-grey, and without too many ugly bits. The classic Nike shoe made for me!
I love love love all mid-grey shoes. Ever since my cuz Marty got me a pair of grey és Quattro skate shoes (link doesn’t show the grey model), I’ve loved that colour. It’s so …weird, for a shoe to be an all over mid-grey. I love it.
So, I snapped them up. Well, strictly speaking that’s not true. I thought it over during the night and went in the next morning to snap them up. Unfortunately my size had ‘finished already’, so I jumped over to the Nike store at Pavillion: finished already. In the end I had to make my way over to Mid Valley Megamall to pick them up, and I’m glad I did as they were the last pair in my size; now ‘finished already’ :) Awesome. Crisis averted.
Now I have a pair of classic Nike shoes, in the colour I love. They are Teh Shiz3. 20 years in the making and worth the wait.