Wednesday, March 11, 2009
When I saw these Huarache Air Force Ones and read they were about to drop next month I got open ($125). Real open. Royal blue is number one on the color scale and all white soles are a rare and lost art form. Perfection squared. The lime green lining adds a little extra, but that's just a throw in. It's the sole that separates the Air Force 1 from the dunk, court force, vandal, etc. The sole is what defines the sneaker. That thick, bulky, NYC storm trooping sole. So of course it plays an intricate role in design, and depending on how it is tweaked, the final product can be a sure shot classic or just a come and go colorway. With that said, I've come to realize that solid soles on air force 1s are a beautiful thing. Especially all white soles. It fully brings out whatever colors are sitting atop them. The contrast with the white makes you pay attention to whatever is happening above the sole (white on whites excluded.) I would prefer not using the term "pop", but the shit "pops" on a white sole. Peep my "pop"-offs "pop"-po before you get "pop"-ped for being un-"pop"-ular. Word is born.
In all the years I can remember, and I've been wearing forces since around 1990, the utilization of an all white sole is very far and few between. I can remember 20 or so all white soles since the early '90s. There have been close to 1,000 different Air Force 1s manufactured over the last 25 years or so. We're talking about 2-4 percent here. Rarefied territory. Maybe that's why they're dope to me- the novelty of it. But it's more than that. Aesthetically they're kind of bugged. We're brought up in a symmetrical world and these buck the trend. They keep you off kilter. There's no full circle.
I own 4 pairs of white soles. It's becoming very clear to me why I own them. Originally I wouldn't point to the sole when discussing the sneakers. I'd mention it in terms of the simplicity, but now I understand that the sole was the motivating factor for the purchase. Or maybe I knew it, but just couldn't articulate. One of the pairs, the Orcas- black and white like the whale, has been discussed in detail and received top honors at Nike Mercer. For one day I wore the dopest shit on the planet. Period. I still swear these are some of the baddest joints. That's why I had to double up.
Another pair is the white with light stone trim. What a beauty. Packer's in Teaneck had them on the humble one day and luckily an 11.5 was in the stockroom. These are so close to a white on white, but oh so far. I was surprised to see these since they were out several years prior. A spot on the Concourse off 188th St. in the Fordham area of the Bronx- not the spot that stunk like ass- but the one next to it- had them for years just sitting on the wall. Just not my size. With such minimal color on the sneaker you would think the outsole would add some flavor. But Nike took the minimalist approach and won. There is only color outlining the swoosh, on the heel tab, tongue tag, and the "AIR" on the sole. Nike used the same coloring template with pink in 2004 as a quickstrike. I never liked pink but I kind of dug the sneaker. Now I know why. Even when Cam had the whole New York wearing pink I had to puff puff pass.
The other 2 white soles went against my anti-patent leather M.O. But the relaxed feel of the wrinkled leather made them approachable. That's what I hate about patent leather. It's too stiff and shiny. Ease up a little. And I got a reasonable price so I went in. They are part of the Slam Jam pack, Slam Jam being an Italian streetwear brand. There was also a hard to find all yellow and all black pair (see above- not mine). The simplicity got me again. The all white leather/rubber sole, referred to as an insideout sole, made the colors, for lack of a better word, "pop". That varsity red is crazy.
If I could turn back the hands of time, here's a list of the all white soles I'd make sure to cop multiples of. We need to spark it with the all purple highs from '93. Man I love those. A truly beautiful sneaker. Nike's never used that purple on an air force since. These won the NYC Nike 1 Vote which I posted back in January of '08 so they might be reproduced. But there was some controversy with the vote count- seriously- so who knows. That pic isn't mine- mine are long gone, but I copped them in Foot Action in Cross County in Yonkers. Nowadays that place has absolutely nothing. These are close to impossible to find in great condition, and if so, you're dropping way more than you'd want.
Next up would be the 1996 Olympic pair of lows. All white with a navy swoosh and "USA" on the heel tab in red, white and gold. Such a nice quality sneaker. And so clean. Perfect in the summertime with that Yankee fitted. Impossible to find.
Nike must have been into the all white sole because these joints came out around the same time as the USAs. Or they had problems in the factory dying the rubber. These snake joints are mean. Putting snake on the heel tab gives them a much richer feel. There is also a pair with a navy snakeskin swoosh that is just as fly. IMPOSSIBLE to find.
In 2005 this pair dropped and I should be in possession of them. But I slept. Originally a Euro release as part of the Matrix pack, these seeped into several foot lockers/champs in the tri-state area. I remember holding these in the Fordham Foot Locker but 10.5 was the biggest size they had. Shits are fire. Crocodile skin uppers with the black swoosh and gold outline. "AIR" and the line in black on the sole but we can fuck with it. Attainable with the proper amount of work.
One last joint that is so ill to me are these. Dropped in 2007 but never released commercially- only 24 pairs I hear to VIPs- this color combo is sick. I keep telling you I don't need crazy shit on my feet. This is my rendition of "30 Something." Burgundy forces are so ill, and don't drop too often.
Thanks to Sole Collector and Kicksonfire.com for providing several of the photos. It's difficult to find images of a lot of these joints. The Japanese mags got them but the scans wouldn't come out too well. If you're interested in stepping up your uptown knowledge head over to Nike's 1Thology. They have images of close to 1,000 Air Forces.
I felt it would be fitting to bring some symmetry to this post. I'm sure a lot of you are freaked out right now. Your color allotment meters must be all askew. So I'm going to land this baby and bring some normalcy back to life. The counterpart of the all white sole is the all colored sole. That can get its own post, but for now it will serve as the yang to the first sneaker's yin. This spring an all white air force with a completely royal sole will be dropping at Footlocker for $88. You know I was hyped about these too- though that pricepoint means shitty quality. Fuck it. We can take it back and rock opposites. Just put the scream green laces in the white to balance it out. How fresh? So fresh.