A sole interest.
I was eight years old, maybe nine, anyway my age is irrelevant in this tale. My father was a naval officer, he spent many months at a time away from home on varying vessels, sailing this watery sphere on Her Majesty’s fleet. Destinations he has visited include Hong Kong, Arabia, Egypt, the U.S.A, most of Europe - France, The Netherlands, Denmark, Sweden, Norway the list goes on. He landed on his feet with his job and thus career, and provided well for us. Being of such a young age however, these far flung destinations were only encapsulated in picture books or cartoons. And the goods he brought back…
So, as the young mind would have it; a new concept, or in this case country that is introduced to a developing mind holds only a representation by what he or she has seen or experienced of it. In other words Egypt to me was purely a place where Dad would bargain with pirates for VCR tapes (pirated tapes). A place where you could gain a vast amount of bad quality VCR cassettes, a Disney warehouse of sorts. I’d view the globe and its countries as a series of specialist market stalls. Arabia was a salesman of intricate leather wallets, China a fan and rug boutique and Norway a quartz crystal museum. Whereas the U.S of A, for all it’s foibles, had etched the perfect image in my young mind; a NIKE AIR FESTIVAL of sorts!! A super cool New York utopian sidewalk scene, where all the pedestrians were rocking out a pair of the freshest trainers and hippest get up.
That’s right my obsession started at a young age. Those that know me, know. Those that don’t should know; I, Justin Mark Beats subscribe to the church of ‘sneaker worship’. Yes, I have an unhealthy interest in footwear. Currently totalling at 33 pairs, admittedly this remains at an all time high, due in part to my current employers; size?. But yes, I have always had an eager interest in footwear.
*Can I just take a moment to attempt a justification of such a pursuit. Ahem (clearing throat), many people have interests; clay pigeon shooting, hornby train sets, collecting nazi memorobilia, stuffed animals, cross stitching, Birmingham city programmes etc etc. This is how I consider a footwear collector. I don’t consider myself a hardened collector, believe me there are REAL collectors out there. I consider it a mere fancy. I think of it as a nostalgic catalyst, a means to remember the good times, reminding us of bygone fashions, values and lifestyles.
Ah… my first pair. I remember it well. Father arrived back from a visit to the U.S, prior to which I had harangued and hounded the poor man for a pair of Nike Air trainers, any would do. I needed firstly to keep up with my peers, as we all did, but secondly fulfil my dream image as some kind of Marty McFly/Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtle/MC Hammer breakdancing Ray Ban wearing hybrid dude. I of course wouldn’t achieve the cliched image but shit, were these trainers good. They were a variation of the ‘Nike Air Trainer SC’. Pictured below. Good memories. I was so chuffed!
So, as the years have progressed, so did my footwear taste, and as fashion and style so often does it has in some senses come full circle. Here’s a a few visual highlights:
I got a pair of basic ellesse deck/skate type shoes, I must have been 10. I remember P.J (Anthony McPartlin) wearing them in Byker Grove along with Stussy caps, varsity jackets and what not. Their styists were killing it! Resultantly I saved my pocket money and had to have them. These pictured below aren’t the model I had, but they are very similar.
Other highlights from ages 10 to 12 were a couple of pairs of Reebok hexalite’s and Nike air max ST - still a premium price even back then. At 13 I had my first flirtation with skate footwear a pair of Vans and Airwalks. Then my chav faze - having a series of Nike cortez, still a mainstay in poularity, and of course Reebok classics.
Aged 14 I found skateboarding in a big way. Begin the start of a 7 year obsession! Saggy and ridulously baggy denim, fat shoes and long t-shirts. What it was to be a grom! The es sword and Eric Koston 1 models were a specific highlights but I had far too many trainers to recount, going through around five or six pairs in a year. Oh, not forgetting the Rowley GTX pro model; reminds me of an era of under age drinking and getting into scrapes!
In the mid noughties, (is this what people refer to it as? Or is that just channel 4??), Nike was to make a well executed come back in popularity. How? Through the skateboarding market primarily. Releasing retro versions of trainers that were first skated before skate specific trainers were introduced. Ironically they applied new materials and manufacturing techniques to old styles giving them a whole new lease of life. NikeSB (Nike skateboarding) were the forerunners. The Nike Dunk model was their staple revival shoe. A once generally overlooked basketball trainer. To some it seemed the anti-christ of the skateboarders ideology; a mainstream brand cashing in on a re-release of a product. To me it opened a whole new door to footwear, fashion and I’d go as far as to say lifestyle. Nike SB was the revolution. Old school was back. Skinny jeans and floppy hair ensue.
Once gaining my current job my footwear interests intesified further, as it did to my colleague’s. And here I am today:
The state of affairs two months back. I am trying to curb it!
Anyways, I guess the purpose of this post is a rather self indulgent one. A rudimentary glance into my past through the medium of ‘trainers’. I hope it made for an interesting read??? All feedback welcome.
And a quick update about the present; I’m off to LAAAANDAAAANNN very soon! Yes, yes, yes and more yes’s!!! 12th of Feb is the move date. I’m just a little excited.. Until next time.
(Images taken from:
http://uk.ebid.net/for-sale/trainers http://uk.ebid.net/for-sale/trainers http://bakati.com. http://purchaze.com. http://www.discountcyclesdirect.co.uk http://www.sportsdirect.com http://www.allthehotkicks.com. http://www.comparestoreprices.co.uk. http://www.comparestoreprices.co.uk http://skate.lshoes-koston-1)