Ever since the 4th grade I have had an extreme addiction to shoes. Not sneakers, shoes. Sneakers is an East Coast term that I feel puts limits on footwear to being utilized for a specific purpose. The shoes that got me really into shoes were the infamous Space Jam Jordan 11s. If I only knew then, how precious they would be still today I would have taken way better care of them. I then started to expand my horizons to the Grant Hill Filas, the Shawn Kemp Reeboks, and Team Jordans.
At 15, my first job was at Champs Sports, where I took advantage of my employee discount and grew my minimal collection exponentially. Not to mention becoming the youngest assistant manager in Foot Locker Inc. history. As most high school kids did, I spent every penny I made and 90% was on shoes, coming home with almost a pair every week. I remember the epic December of 04 where I bought 10 pairs. Damn, that was a good year.
Anyway, I have matured and so have my expenses and I decided to donate my shoes a year ago to kids at Rancho and this blog is dedicated to them in their memory, all 140 pairs of them. With this blog I will outline my top ten favorite shoes of all time.
10. Jordan 1: If Nike only knew the billion dollars and the legacy that would come from this simple design. It was the first of many Jordans that embodied what the Jordan brand was all about. Bold colorways, simplified technology, and the world renown Jumpman on the heel made this shoe not the best looking shoe of all time but it was definitely a trend setter.
9. Vans Authentic: It wasn’t until my senior year of high school that I really bought into the Vans product line. I had always been anti-skate shoes and the Vans Authentic was the epitome of skate shoes. I felt like a poser with my first pair but the brand has grown from a skate shoe brand to a lifestyle brand and over time I accumulated about 14 pairs. I have flat feet and they are the perfect casual shoe for me.
8. Converse All Star: “Chuck’s” are the roller coaster of the shoe industry to me. They were the first basketball shoe ever and they are still being worn today by people who have never played basketball. The have highs, lows, leather, canvas, laces, no laces, and every color imaginable. They’re not the most functional shoe but people love them. I’ve only had 2 pairs in my life and maybe wore them both each twice. I was turned away a little bit when everyone was wearing them.
7. Jordan 3: The 3s are the ultimate mid basketball shoe. The had style and functionality. They were marketed by Mars Blackman played by Spike Lee and brought in a new era of “sneakerheads” in the 90s. The best part about the 3s were the “cement” accents. An option that was adopted on Nike Dunks and a reformatted version of the 3s, the Spiz’ikes. They are one of those shoes that you can dress up in some colorways, dress down, and still play in.
6. Reebok Question: Reebok’s best shoe of all time, even more so than “The Pump.” The honeycomb in the midsole was Reebok’s answer to the Nike Air Max. They were super comfortable. In 8th grade I thought I was tight because I would were the lows to school and wear mids during basketball games. They were heavy but sturdy and had really good ankle support and when I’m 40, I feel like I’ll be the old guy who wears them with knee pads when I try and relive my youth.
5. Nike Air Max 95: The best looking running shoe of all time. They were the first shoe to have the Air Max in the forefoot. They were also one of the first Nike shoes that placed more emphasis on the styling of the shoe and less emphasis on the trademarked Swoosh. Countless sick colorways made the shoe popular with both men and women of which my favorite was the grey/neon green.
4. Jordan 11: While their may be basketball shoes on this list ranked higher, this is the nicest shoe of all time. The patent leather completely throughout the upper made it a shoe different from any other. It brought a sense of sophistication and class to basketball shoes that had been bulky and loud prior to the 11s. The mids were super comfortable and I regret balling in my blk/reds in high school and completely obliterating my original Space Jams playing tetherball with them in Elementary school. Real 11s still go for hundreds of dollars on the internet and they are a must for hardcore collectors.
3. Adidas Superstar: I was hesitant to put the Superstars on the list because I always thought they were kind of “white trashy.” I felt like they were a cop-out for people who wanted shoe game that didn’t have any. And they were absolutely ruined for me when people started wearing fat laces with them and putting wristbands under the tongue. The only ones I ever wore were promotional ones that I never liked to wear because they have an awk high arch. However, I do recognize their place in shoe history and how without them, a lot of shoes wouldn’t be here today.
2. Nike Air Force 1: I’ll be the first person to admit to being a Forces hater but I do want to give credit were credit is due. Forces were the ultimate clean wht/wht shoe and had ridiculous colorways, many of which were even to obnoxious for me. I don’t know why I am such a hater on forces, maybe because I wasn’t a fan of the mids, couldn’t stand the highs, and could just stomach the lows. I think my big bias against them was that I always on my next shoe’s team, DUNKS.
1. Nike Dunk: By far and away my favorite shoe of all time. Their simple yet bold styling have them as one of the most popular shoes of all time. They can be worn by old people in plain colorways, by babies in soft colorways (and not have the bootie look), hoodrats in loud colors, and hippies in earth tones. There were unlimited limited editions from Newcastle to Tecate and from Jamaica to Russia. At my peak I had 33 pairs and each special in its own way. I could never decide which was my favorite but the battle always came down to my “Orcha” lows and denim lows. Dunks were the origin of shoes and will remain classic for eons to come. Timeless.