Bangers ‘n’ Phoneys

A year after doing the first regional exclusive collaboration New Balance is dropping a follow-up to their DTLR 990v4 with a retro & additional colourway double pack. I’ve already professed my love for the Stussy collaboration on this shoe but the DTLR ones add a whole other level of cultural relevance which in a rare change is completely on-point for what’s going on right now. Much like the original 990, 1300, 1500 and various other expensive NB runners the 990v4 is a subculture banger for those in the Washington/Maryland/Virginia area. Rather than prattle on I’ll direct you to this article by Sneaker Freaker which covers the topic brilliantly. I’m quite jaded when it comes to footwear journalism but this piece made me very happy.


The debate over who did it first with the 990 is hotly contested and I love that it has nothing to do with corporate cosign, trending demographics or Instagram influencers. Shouts to the “phoney” 498 callout, the shoe was offered at a much more reasonable price-point and eschewed the high tech midsole for a more basic and cost-effective ABZORB unit. The uppers were quite similar albeit a bit simpler than the 99x series shoes of the same era which in some light actually is a bit of a positive. The original versions copped a USA production but since then the follow up versions have been Asian produced.


Interestingly NB has been pushing a more contemporary version of the “phoney” concept with the 770v2 (the OG model from the UK 25th Anniversary pack gets a serious mention too). Similar idea to the 498 albeit using a lot more synthetic materials but still made in the USA. I feel these are still a better option than the non-stop hybrids they’re coming out with from Boston, I don’t need a deconstructed 997 with a inner bootie it just doesn’t make any sense. Doing something like the 770 is a strong move and I hope it picks up some steam, these are the models that will move in volume to keep those fine people in the US factories in a job and that’s important.


Whilst it wasn’t my intention this post seems to have spiralled into a New Balance love story (much like most of my life) and as such I’ll do my best to right the ship. After spending the last few days driving adidas into the ground with criticism I think it’s important to give praise where it’s due, I’m only critical because I know they can be so much better. With a brand currently so focussed on hype I’m eternally grateful that Gary Aspden’s SPZL range continues to not only exist but mercifully flourish with its dedicated following. Using Goldie alongside Aspden in promo for the new drop was both genius and completely fitting.

With a store dedicated almost exclusively to clothing; Spezial is probably the only adidas line that I could ever see being relevant for us at Contra. I feel like the collection had a rough start in Australia but with the rise of the overnight roadmen and a definitely tick in interested RE: English subcultures I’d love to give it a crack. There’s just the right amount of dedicated minute attention to detail in there.

That all being said the to-be-seen Chanel x Pharrell NMD is terrible in concept and in no way should be mentioned in the same sentence as the iconic Pump Fury which I’ve lauded previously although I’m doing it right now and it will at some point via a Complex list or something. Shame.

With the recent Supreme Nike collection again my mind wandered to our late friend Gary Warnett, I’m not sure whether he was directly involved in this project but I’m almost certain this would have gotten him excited when he first heard rumblings. On a side note, I’d love to see Nike bring back the Air Terra Goatek in his name, I know that shoe’s insane sole tech was a favourite of the man’s.

Supreme’s combination of acid bright colour schemes on technical outdoor footwear is just the right balance of ostentatious and historical reference, something that no matter who is a major stakeholder will always be what makes the brand’s collaborations so good. The matching apparel only adds to this point and anyone who wears this set in its entirety cannot ever be fronted on no matter how young and naive they are. If you wear ACG you get a pass.


I guess if we wanted to talk phoneys then the AF100 project seems to just be giving some people a chance to own shoes that look like ones they really want albeit a bit easier. The Rockafella joints are pretty cool but with so many more pairs going out there it kind of destroys the point of the originals.

In more clothing-centric news Diet Prada is my favourite thing on Instagram, it’s doing exactly what I wish I could do but lack the coherence and knowledge to justly convey it. In a time of me-to culture and designers biting from their idols and influences to repackage and sell to an audience that’s too young or naive to know where it came from it’s refreshing to see someone not tied to under-the-table “influencer” deals resulting from a truck load of clothes/shoes/whatever that nobody wants or ever asked for. Also anyone who first warrants backlash from Steffano Gabbana and then manages to not only turn the hate back on him and create a t-shirt commemorating the event to generate income for charity is going to be fine in my books.

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