Sometimes first impressions are wrong; take for example, the Nike Air Footscape. First released in 1995, the Footscape was designed to be Nike’s premier ergonomic running shoe. It boasted light-weight, breathable materials, a foot-forming  sole, and the indistinguishable side lacing. The Footscape captured the best of Nike innovation and their ability to recognize what’s best for athletes. Since being released, the Footscape has been welcomed with lukewarm interest in the States, with most appeal coming from diehard sneakerheads. However, the Footscape is widely popular in Asia (i.e Japan) especially the woven design shown below. And we all know, when it comes to gear the Japanese know what’s fresh.

So why do I like these? Because they’re just different. The materials, shape, and lines of the sneaker are unique and silhouette the natural shape of the human foot.  Most first impressions start and end at “ugly,” but there’s so much more to the sneaker. The story of it alone is worth a second look

The pics below are of the recently released Nike Air Footscape Woven TZ “Striped,” but I doubt this colorway and style will hit the shelves in the States. Don’t worry though, the Footscape is making a comeback this season so watch out for other releases…and while you wait here’s all you could ever want to know about them here.

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It seems to me that the Olympics have lost a bit of luster. The last time I remember being really excited for the Games was 1996 in Atlanta, perhaps because it was the first time I could actually follow the Olympics in an American city (I was a year old when the ’84 Games were in L.A.) But I think it had more to do with the fact that there were actually notable marquee athletes to root for. The ’96 Games had Michael Johnson and his awesome gold shoes, Carl Lewis, Kerri Strug and many others. Nowadays, I would be pressed to name more than one (Michael Phelps) athlete to watch for. I also think that 12 years ago, people were naively ignorant of doping. In the realm of modern day athletics, anytime a competitor breaks a record, people can’t help but wonder.

The only reason the 2008 Games are getting the attention they are is due to their setting. Talking heads are babbling on about China’s worthiness as a host country due to highly publicized (and sometimes exacerbated) human rights offenses. Is that really all there is to talk about?

Regardless, I just saw something that got me excited again. Nike is notorious for its cutting edge advertising and proved yet again why they stand alone atop the mountain of apparel companies. Nike’s new Olympic ad literally gave me chills and does so each time I watch it. It reminded me of why we should get excited about the Olympics: the Games are an opportunity to see the finest athletes compete on a global stage, for the world to momentarily put aside its issues and focus instead on individual courage. Of course its an ideal and a naive one at that, but it sounds pretty nice doesn’t it? For two weeks it almost works.

Check out the ad. It features The Killers’ “All These Things That I’ve Done,” which works really well, particularly with choir accompaniment:

Nike Pro City

July 23, 2008

I recently read an article by ESPN.com’s Scoop Jackson about the deified New York City point guard. Scoop’s piece noted the decline of worshiped guards coming out of the Big Apple, citing the meteoric rise and subsequent fizzle of Sebastian Telfair as a turning point. NYC guards never changed the game, but gone are the days when players like Mark Jackson, Kenny Anderson, Rod Strickland and Stephon Marbury dominated the playground then went on to have notable NBA careers. Scoop’s point was that…who cares? NYC point guards are adapting their game to the pro level less and less frequently because–so what if the world doesn’t know their name…NYC basketball heads do, and that’s all that matters to them.

All summer I’ve been meaning to catch a few Nike summer league games at the city’s hallowed grounds for summer ball: Hunter College, West 4th, Dyckman and Conrad McRae, among others. These courts host games featuring rising college stars, current and former NBA players and playground dudes. Pro City at Hunter College (68th and Lex) has runs each Tuesday and Thursday nights, Dyckman (204th and Nagle) each weekend for the most part, West 4th every damn day and Conrad McRae (Park Slope) on Saturdays and Sundays. For comprehensive info on each court and full schedules, check out Nike Basketball’s NYC page HERE. If you go on the right day, you might just witness the next God Shammgod. While we’re on the topic of Shamm, check out a highlight reel from the ’95 McDonald’s game…

Pigeon Dunks

April 11, 2008

My typical day starts with me rolling into work late. Not too late but just late enough that my boss and I exchange uneasy stares as I walk past her desk. Within five minutes, my laptop starts up and I’m reading email, chatting, and most importantly checking the sneaker sites. I hit my usual online spots for cool releases, and then the online magazines for upcoming sneaker news.

Anyways, while perusing I’ve come across a pair of infamous sneakers that I want in my collection, the Nike SB Pigeon Dunks. The “infamous” tag for the shoes came during their release in February 2005. Around seventy people waited for days outside a shop in the Lower East Side, hoping to get a pair of these exclusive colorways. When the shop opened only twenty pairs were allowed to be sold, and a mini-riot broke out that ended with NYPD calling taxis to escort the lucky buyers out.

The colorway of the pigeons are definitely head turning, with the two shades of grey complimenting the orange lining and sole. As far as I know, this colorway has not been repeated or mimicked.