I’m trying to keep this site as an outlet for the sneaker related musings I run through almost every day in my head as a way of staying sane. Whilst I’ve reserved myself to not buying or selling them anywhere near enough they still seem to take up a fair bit of mental space so writing things down is almost therapeutic. I’m re-discovering how much I enjoy sports footwear as simply a hobby and passion, minus the tedious day-to-day task of trying to sell shoes I don’t really care about.
The adidas Dublin holds a lot of significance for the older generation of footwear afficionados in the UK but for me it has a far less culturally significant impact on my life; instead I remember watching the CT crew during their AZX interview (below) and being enamoured at just how flueorescent those stripes are. Unfortunately the shoe was shelved to the “one day” section due to a preoccupation with the very footwear being discussed in the video (I still maintain AZX is one of the best mass-collaborations ever). With the professional maturation of the 40-something crowd and their rediscovery of the footwear they coveted as children being available as retros the prices of this particular shoe have skyrocketed in recent years. Fortunately Size? has capitalised on this to re-release the shoe and although the sole looks possibly a bit lighter than the original dark-gum it would be nice to finally own a pair even though I’m sure they’ll be too narrow and uncomfortable as all hell.
Similarly I’ve also held a great respect for the adidas Forest hills (the later ’79 version) with its similarly legendary status among casual folklore. The subject of which came up in the Away Days film touching on the rumours that the yellow/gold version was rumoured to not be available in the UK at retail. Refreshingly this argument results in a battle of hazy recollections and here-say, rather than a google-fuelled factoid debate (I realise this skirts the line pretty closely).
It also segues nicely into another shoe I’ve coveted for similar reasons which is basically a white tennis shoe with a gold logo; this time the Diadora Borg Elite. Whilst the Forest Hills had scarcity on their side the Borgs added exorbitant price, oddity (Diadora being basically known only for football boots at the time) and connection to arguably one of the greatest tennis players ever at the peak of his career. It also plays a role in the most amazing sartorial era of tennis; the images of Borg and McEnroe in their mixed Diadora/Fila and Tacchini/Nike outfits is something that no marketing team could ever allow nowadays.
I still need a pair of these in the Made in Italy version made from Kangaroo leather. There’s non-Italian kangaroo and Italian non-kangaroo versions which makes tracking down the right one more stressful. I find myself zooming in on Ebay listings trying to find the distinctive wrinkles of kangaroo hide’s supple toughness.
Honestly I cannot really begin to touch on any of this stuff in a way that’s better than how Neal Heard manages to do it. Fortunately the Lover’s TV channel conveniently houses an episode of Shoe Gaze which covers Wimbledon and Neal’s encyclopaedic knowledge can shine in all its glory. People with this level of passion and genuine experience are invaluable and I’m glad to be able to share and learn just a sliver over the mountains of shit this man knows about stuff.
With all the preoccupation with Gucci’s bootleg Stan Smith (they like to call it the “Ace”, get it?) it reminds me of their only shoe I ever considered passable for any self-respecting sneaker fan. I walked into the Gucci store in 2014 and kindly enquired about the “Tennis 84”, which celebrated its 30th anniversary with a re-release (retro luxury sneakers!?) and was met with blank faces and scoffs of “we have this tennis shoe” as they tried to put me on to some whack Indian-dad-spec weird Puma Speedcat looking thing.
No, I came looking for the shoe that had you the freshest d-boy on the block in 1984; the shoe that was intended for the upper-crust on their leisurely days playing tennis at the club which was co-opted by the streets alongside the New Balance 990 and Bally sneakers for those who needed to flex just how much bank they were raking in.
This was the sneaker that Jay-Z remembered so fondly from the feet of his icons as a kid that when Reebok tapped him to make a signature sneaker he straight up jacked them and made the S.Carter. This subtle white, rather feminine shoe is the pair that God’s DJ himself and fellow one-a-days Rock-A-Fella crew member DJ Clark Kent owned multiple pairs of back in the day and regretted not still having. It’s the first luxury brand sneaker and in many ways it might be one of the most important sneakers as far as the coveting and flexing of expensive footwear at a street level.
Stories came mostly as second-hand information care of the people that lived it. The fact that Gucci saw fit to re-issue them in 2014 (before the Alessandro Michele revamp and subsequent commercial boom) was impressive and completely unexpected; done with no fanfare, #influencer rollouts or stupid “activations”. Needless to say I never got a pair, due to the lack of regional release and their exorbitant price ($560usd from memory) meant I wasn’t going to drop a stack without trying them on first.
I’d like to apologise for my lack of archival images of the original shoe, I’ve got a great catalogue excerpt somewhere but I can’t for the life of me find it. It put the shoe in its intended setting with overtly happy men and women in full Gucci garb looking ready for cucumber spiked water court-side on a Sunday morning. In lieu of that I’ll leave you with an image from the book Japanese Snoopy in Fashion wearing them instead. I need this publication…