Monday, March 29, 2010

BAPE Baby Milo Parachute T-shirt

This A Bathing Ape (BAPE) Baby Milo Parachute Tee cost me $73. What? $73 dollars for a t-shirt? Now look, I'm well aware that there's no way to justify that kind of money for a screen printed t-shirt, no matter how high quality or detailed it is, and even if it's manufactured in Japan and imported in with a crazy currency exchange rate. But it's worth $73 to me because I love the BAPE brand, I love that it's part of the culture I grew up in, and I love the exclusivity you get with BAPE.

BAPE is a Japanese apparel and lifestyle brand created by Tomoaki "Nigo" Nagao, a music producer and DJ for the Japanese hip hop group Teriyaki Boyz. The brand really blew up here in the US when musicians Kanye West and Pharrell started sporting BAPE gear.

So why are BAPE products so pricey? Basically, it's because they're produced in limited quantities, are only available for a limited time, and are only available from official BAPE stores--most of them located in Japan. There's only two BAPE stores in the entire US, one in Los Angeles and one in New York. I actually cop'd this shirt when I visited the BAPE store in NYC (wrote about that here).

Other than dealing with a handful known-good eBay vendors (Pondon, Plainflour, Tokyoape) the only place you can cop legit BAPE products online is at the official BAPE website [link]. Everything else you see online is probably fake (FAPE) because BAPE gear is heavily bootlegged.

Thursday, March 25, 2010

Nike AF1 White/Red/Blue/Clear (GS)

So obviously because of the (GS) grade school sizing, you already know these ain't my shoes. Not that I wouldn't rock em, but they weren't available in my size. Nope, these are Big Kids sizes, which luckily my wife can wear.

I honestly don't know much about this sneaker--no backstory, so clue on why the colorway was designed or what the art you see through the clear icy sole is all about. But you know what? It just doesn't matter. I mean, the Air Force 1 is one of the most iconic sneaker profiles in history and I'm always attracted to them, and if the colorway is crisp and clean--like this one--then I'm generally down with it. The clear sole is the big selling point for me tho; anytime they put a clear sole on an AF1 and show artwork through it, I fall for it. Add a splash of patent, my favorite sneaker material, and BAM! I'm sold.

Damn shame I couldn't get these in my size. I think they're dope. Oh well, at least they're in my closet even if they're not on my feet.

Tuesday, March 23, 2010

Nike Air Foamposite One - Copper

Truth: I don't really like this shoe. I mean yeah, the color is cool and all, but I'm just personally not a fan of the Nike Air Foamposite One profile. I know that most sneakerheads disagree with my viewpoint, but I just think they're weird looking sneakers--and not in the good way. I think it's because to me, the wavy lines and overall curvy look make it look clunky and I tend to prefer sleek looking sneakers.

This sneaker profile was originally released in 1997 as the signature shoe for Anfernee “Penny” Hardaway in a Royal Blue colorway matching the uniform of his team, the Orlando Magic. Penny Hardaway's entire shoe line was a runaway success back then, no doubt helped by the awesome advertising campaign led by a puppet named "Lil' Penny" voiced by Chris Rock.

For the past year or so, the Foamposite One has been retro'd heavy, and considering his "Penny" nickname, a Copper colorway is a natural choice. These actually burned up the Internets last fall long before they came out when Wale wore them early [link] causing everybody to go bat shit crazy for them. Well, everybody but me I guess.

PS - These aren't my sneakers; I passed on these joints. They belong to my HEAT SEEKERS crew member Marcus @sneakerfreeak23 who like most people happens to like them a lot.

Friday, March 19, 2010

DQM x Nike AM90 "Bacons"

I got two words to say about these sneakers: GRAILS BABY! That's right, the Nike x Dave's Quality Meat (DQM) "Bacon" Air Max 90 is one of my "Holy Grail" pair of kicks, which is to say it's one of those that I've wanted for a long, long time that I just HAD to have in my possession. Unfortunately, since they came out about 5 years ago and are one of the most desirable and iconic colorways of the AM90 ever, they command a hefty price on the after market.

You might recall last fall that Nike released the Air Max 90 Current Huarache in a Bacon-inspired colorway, which I cop'd and already blogged about [link] and yeah while they're insanely comfortable, they're just nowhere near as awesome as the Original Bacons. The subtle textures and colors of the OG Bacons perfectly capture the "meat" look, but the new Current Huaraches are freakin' garish in comparison. They just don't hold a candle to the OG Bacons. But I bought em anyways since I didn't have the originals--but now I do! Ha ha!

You know, I wanted these DQM Bacons so bad that I actually made a point to go to the DQM shop in NYC [link] just to catch a VIBE off the place...and all that did was make me want the Bacons even more!

Oh and in case you were wondering, and just to clear up some confusion, there were TWO releases of the OG Bacons. Well okay THREE if you count the special "Friends and Family" version that didn't go to retail. But of the two that did, the first run (2004) had a "Dave's Quality Meat" tongue tag and the second (2006) had a "Nike" tongue tag and came with a matching t-shirt. Both were released in extremely limited quantities that didn't come anywhere close to filling consumer demand, which is why they sell for $500 dead stock on eBay, ISS, etc.

Fuck it tho, you only live once, right?

Thursday, March 18, 2010

HUF x Nike AM90 "Hufquakes"

HUF [link] is a sneaker/skate/streetwear shop--or to be more accurate "shops" since they have multiple locations--based outta San Francisco, California, founded by lifelong skateboarder Keith Hufnagel. Since 2002, HUF has been one of the biggest names in the sneaker scene. Want proof? They're one of just 6 ultra-exclusive Nike Tier 0 shops in the entire US. They're at the top of the sneaker food chain along with the likes of ALIFE Rivington Club, Dave's Quality Meat, Undefeated, Patta, Atmos, and Colette. HUF is most definitely a powerhouse brand in the sneaker/skate/streetwear world.

This pair of HUX x Nike Air Max 90 "Hufquakes" released as a quickstrike in 2007 at Tier 0 shops and caused long lines everywhere it dropped (YouTube is full of videos showing the campout lines f you're interested). It wasn't produced in quite as limited of numbers as some other Tier 0 releases, but it's still one of those shoes where demand outstripped supply--hence the campout and lines.

The HUFquake has since become one of the most recognizable and iconic sneakers in the Air Max line. The San Francisco earthquake-inspired "HUFquake" cracked concrete pattern has shown up on a number of Nike HUF colabs (Air Max 1, Dunk Low, Air Force 1) and of course was recreated last year on the Air Max 90 Current Huarache [link]. In fact, the cracked earthquake pattern is even available on Nike iD now (on the AM90 of course). It's also been put on other Sportswear items like shirts and jackets, often in the grey/blue colorway to match these sneakers. That sort of thing only happens with the most iconic, classic Nike sneakers.

This is one of my very favorite sneakers out there--hell, it's been on my personal Top 10 Sneakers list for years. In fact, it's the first "Grail" sneaker I was able to snag...but certainly not the last. I've got another one to show you tomorrow. Stay tuned.

Wednesday, March 17, 2010

A.R.C. x Nike Dunk Hi Supreme

So I pulled these ALIFE Rivington Club (A.R.C.) x Nike Sportswear Dunk Hi Supremes outta my closet a few weeks ago to wear down to Austin and it dawned one me, "I never did a blog write up on those." Well here we go, time to catch up on one of my favorite pair of kicks.

Surely every sneakerhead already knows about the ALIFE Rivington Club, right? If not, STOP RIGHT NOW and go read my blog post about it [here] and then come back to read the rest of this. [waiting...waiting...waiting] Alright, we cool now? Okay, on with this post.

The A.R.C. Nike Dunk Hi Supreme is a limited Tier 0 Nike Sportswear release, a "Classic Lining" (CL) Dunk and NOT a Nike SB like so many of the popular Dunks out there. Personally, that's a good thing for me since I prefer Sportswear over the Skateboarding line. While not flashy in appearance, the materials choices on these are insane: super-plush black suede, Schoeller technical fabrics, and a .44 sticky rubber gum bottom. They also came with a set of white laces that I put in for a while, but I ended up switching back to the originals.

These kicks caused a little bit of a ruckus when they released this past summer (along with a matching "Black, White, Gum & Bang!" t-shirt FREE to the first 100 buyers) with a big-assed line that streched down the street. Like all their colabs nowadays, ALIFE released the shoe across the street from the actual Rivington Club at their A.R.C. Sports storefront, but afterwards everybody filtered into the back patio behind the Rivington Club for a party. Here's a [link] to event coverage with pics from Freshness Mag if you're interested.

Like I said, these are one of my favorite pair of sneakers. They're clean, classic, durable, and very wearable--and of course my memories of going to NYC to cop em are priceless.

Tuesday, March 16, 2010

PHANTACi x Nike Air Max 1 Grand Piano

HOLY CRAP. Is this the best looking pair of sneakers in my house? Yeah, very possibly. Too damn bad they're not mine! Naw see I tried like hell to grab a pair of these, but since there were only like 400 pair made, all released in Asia, I couldn't manage to find em in my size. Thankfully, I did find them in my wife's size though, so she bought em. Hey, at least someone in the house owns these.

The PHANTACi x Nike Air Max 1 Grand Piano is a colab with Taiwan-based sneaker store PHANTACi and obviously the colorway was inspired by a grand piano as well as the signature pink color of the PHANTACi stores--but didja know that it was co-designed by Taiwanese pop culture superstar Jay Chou? You never heard of him, right? You're sitting there wondering, "who's he?" right? Yeah well, since you don't know, lemme drop some knowledge on ya: Jay Chou is one of the most popular musician/singer/songwriter/producers in Taiwan. He's just the biggest selling Mandarin Chinese recording artist of the past four years. In China, he's the second most searched celebrity behind Britney Spears. Oh shit, did I forget to mention that he's also written a book, starred in a bunch of movies, and even directed movies?

So yeah, he's kind of a big deal.

The fact that he co-designed these kicks shows just how big of a name he is over there. I mean, how often does any celebrity outside of the sneaker world get to design sneaker colorways? Okay yeah, so Kanye got a shoe. Who else? Yeah see, that's what I'm sayin.

The first 200 pair of these were offered in special packaging with some freebies (cool pink box, t-shirt, pink dubrays, and a bracelet) but those sold out pretty much instantly so I couldn't get my hands on them but to be able to get these AT ALL is special enough since there were so few made whatsoever, special packaging or not.

By the way--even if Nike woulda made fifty-gajillion of these, I'd still think they're the best looking sneaker in my house. They are DOPE-AS-HELL, regardless of their limited production.

Monday, March 15, 2010

Patta x Nike Air Max 1 QS Denim & Cords

PATTA [link] is a sneaker store in Amsterdam--yeah, that Amsterdam, in the Netherlands, where it's totally legal to smoke herb--that happens to be one of the 17 exclusive Nike Tier 0 shops in the world. If you don't already know, Tier 0 is the highest specialty Nike account level, with only six stores in the US, six in Europe, and three others scattered about the rest of the planet. So yeah, it's safe to say that Patta is one of the top tier, most exclusive sneaker shops in the whole world.

Founded in 2004, Patta celebrated their 5 year anniversary at the end of 2009 with a series of limited edition "Quickstrike" Nike sneaker colabs, all on the classic Tinker Hatfield designed Air Max 1 shoe, which apparently is the hotness in Amsterdam. The first four dropped in '09 but the last one, a collab with Dutch artist Parra (yeah I know, it's confusing) was delayed and just dropped this past weekend.

All of these sneakers were released in extremely limited quantities (250 to 500, thereabouts) with the bulk being sold at the Patta Amsterdam shop, so getting them here in the US is no easy task. Thankfully, the Denim & Cords model (which was one of my favorites) popped up at one of the Asian Tier 0 shops and ended up online, which is how I was able to snag them.

Patta x Nike Sportswear Air Max 1 Premium Quickstrike Denim & Cords (boy that's a mouthful of a name) has a great mix of materials; dark navy corduroy upper and tongue, denim mudguard, blue suede perf'd toebox and ankle, and a green Nike Swoosh and Patta logo. Interestingly, there's no Nike or Patta logo on the back panel. I wonder if that's because embroidery on the corduroy didn't work well? I dunno why really, but there's nothing there. Kinda cool.

All in all, I think this is an incredibly hot sneaker. It's got great materials, great colors, and it's not something you're gonna find on too many people's feet. Definitely out of the ordinary, that's for sure.

Monday, March 8, 2010

Manny Pacquiao x Nike Trainer 1 - Lights Out

Surely you know who Filipino professional boxer Manny "Pac-Man" Pacquiao is, don't you? Well just in case you don't, let me tell ya: Pacquiao is the current WBO World welterweight champion, rated by Ring Magazine as the number 1 pound-for-pound boxer in the world. He's the first boxer in history to win seven world titles in seven different weight divisions. He's also the only boxer to win the lineal championship ("the man who beat the man") in four different weight classes. Impressive, right? Naturally, an athlete with his credentials is signed with the greatest sneaker company in the world--Nike--and he's had a few sneakers put out with his name attached, including these amazing "Lights Out" Trainer 1s.

The "Lights Out" is the second of two sneakers commemorating the Light Welterweight bout between Pac-Man and England’s Ricky Hatton held last spring on May (5) second (2) of '09 (9) --remember those numbers-- with the first being a red/white/gold pair. After knocking down Hatton twice in the first round, Pacquiao knocked him out in the second round at the 2:59 minute mark with a left hook. Hmmm...and there's those (2) (5) (9) numbers again. Toldja to remember those!

In honor of the 2:59 knockout on 5/2/9, Nike created just 259 pair of these black & white glow-in-the-dark Trainer 1s, cleverly calling them "Lights Out" since he knocked out Hatton. You can see the numbers through the clear sole on the bottom--well, assuming you manage to notice them with all the freakin' glow-in-the-dark details on these. WOW do these things GLOW! The laces, the swoosh outline, the specks on the midsole, and the stitching all glow like crazy!

This really is a beautiful sneaker, and it's got a fantastic back story to it that I just love...but unfortunately, they aren't mine. They belong to my fellow Heat Seekers Krew member Bruce @process817 which is pretty amazing considering the vast majority of these were only available in the Philippines (a few trickled in to the US at some select shops).

BTW, Pacquiao's next fight is against Joshua Clottey this coming Saturday here in Dallas-Fort Worth at Cowboys Stadium. In honor of the event, the crew at Shogun in Fort Worth have created a wicked cool t-shirt that I suggest you get on immediately. Shit's HOT! Oh yeah, and when you stop by the store, be sure to check out their glass sneaker display case; Bruce's Pacquiao Nike Trainer 1 sneakers are on display there.

Tuesday, March 2, 2010

DJ Clark Kent at Nice Kicks

DJ Clark Kent is a legend in the music industry and in the sneaker world. I already posted once about his incredible background [here] but this past weekend I got to just sit and chill with Clark for 6 hours--that's right, I said 6 HOURS--talking about music, DJing, sneakers, friends, family, and life. After that much time talking about that much stuff, I'm gonna say something that might sound kinda silly at first:

DJ Clark Kent changed my life.

I know that sounds stupid--how can talking to a celebrity DJ/sneakerhead change your life, right? Lemme try to explain it. I expected that meeting Clark would be like meeting most celebrities. You know the drill: talk for a few minutes, chat cordially about some general b.s., and that's it, over and out. But people, that is NOTHING like what happened. NOTHING.

Clark is straight up just a regular dude. He is as approachable as anyone I've ever met. If you didn't KNOW he was a big deal, you'd never know it from how he acts. He's as real as you and me. No wait, fuck that; he's REALER than you and me because he's ALREADY MADE IT and yet he's still just a regular, normal guy. If I woulda made it big like that, would I be as straight as Clark Kent? I dunno, I seriously doubt it. I can't imagine how anyone can overcome celebrity like that, but somehow Clark has done exactly that.

So you see, his REALNESS is what changed me. I can only think, if a celebrity like DJ Clark Kent can be that real, how can I not be 100% authentic? How can I possibly ever front on anybody or anything ever again? What possible reason is there to be fake about anything?

All that leads me to this conclusion: HYPE = stupid fake shit.

If something is dope, it's dope because its designed well. If something is heat, it's heat because it's designed well. Nothing--not sneakers, not music, not clothing, nothing--is dope simply because hypebeasts claim its dope, or because it's got some artificial manufacturing limitations. That's not HEAT, that's playing the supply-and-demand game. That's just really good marketing, not HEAT.

For one point, Clark told us why Nike Air Force 1 Bespokes cost $820 dollars. He said it's because people are out there buying sneakers from resellers for $1000+, which is stupid if you think about this: you're paying $1000+ to buy something limited, something that maybe only a few hundred other people have. But conversely, that means there's hundreds of other people that got the same thing in their closet that you got! How is THAT exclusive? BUT a Bespoke...if you buy a Bespoke, you're getting a 1-of-1. There's only 1; no one else can have that same shoe, ever. And if you can get that exclusivity for only $820 dollars, why would you ever pay MORE than that for something that hundreds of other people also already got too?

So here's what's changed about me:

#1 - I'm gonna keep it real 100% of the time. At work, at home, with friends, wherever. I'm gonna be me no matter who I'm around. I mean I was already mostly like that anyways, so this isn't a big change, but what little I did pull punches on? That shit is over. Keep it real, son.

#2 - I'm gonna avoid the HYPE. From now on, I'm only going to buy sneakers that I think are DOPE, that I think are HEAT because of what they look like, or how they appeal to my own personal sensibilities. Fuck the fake artificial limited quantity bullshit. If I like something and want to rock it, I'll cop. If not, then I won't.

#3 - I will still cop expensive sneakers, retail and aftermarket, but my top dollar will not exceed $820. Beyond that and I'll go make a Bespoke. That way I can design exactly what I want on the most iconic sneaker profile there is and get REAL exclusivity, 1-of-1 exclusivity.

#4 - I'm going to start actually BUYING the Nike iDs that I've been designing. I've made a ton of dope colorways that actually mean something to me, but I never buy any of them because I'm always spending my money on the latest "limited" sneakers that drop. Hell I am a designer in my professional life--I should be putting those skills to use on sneakers I create, not just buying so many "limited" retail releases that I can't afford my own designs.

#5 - I'm going to LASER my own custom designed iDs. I mean come on, I can buy a iD for under $150 and get it custom LASER'd with my own design for $225, so for under $375 I can own as many 1-of-1s as I can dream up. Now that is limited...and that is REAL HEAT.

I know you probably weren't trying to change anyone's lives in your trip down to Texas, but you did. Your positivity and realness is inspirational, brother.

PS - the dude in the pics with the sunglasses and BAPE hoodie is Joe LaPuma from Complex magazine, and he's is another 100% REAL dude who also is from NYC. Must be something about that city.

Monday, March 1, 2010

Nice Kicks - Grand Opening Pt2

In my last post, Nice Kicks - Grand Opening Part 1 [link] I mentioned the line outside the store that was hundreds of people deep--what I didn't mention that it stayed that way for 3 whole hours. WOW. Seriously, the last person in line didn't get in the door until 2:00 pm. You know it's a successful grand opening when you got that many people willing to wait that long just to get in the door.

Unfortunately, Matt and the crew had some Internet connectivity difficulties, so the check out computers were having some problems handling credit card transactions, which is what slowed the line down. I know Matt was concerned and that people were a little frustrated at the hour+ long checkout line, but he really did his best to keep things moving as quickly as possible.

It was a little difficult to really get a proper feel for the store since it was so jam packed all day, but let me try to describe it to you. Up front in the windows were some kicks on display in large heavy glass cases, including some autographed Michael Jordan Concord XIs and Matt's own Air Force 1 Bespokes. To the right is a seating area with a table and chairs under a pretty cool light fixture. Along the right wall is the sneaker display with each shoe inside a circular cubby hole. Many of them had small index cards describing the history and significance of the shoe. Nike, Adidas, and Supras seemed to be the big brands on display--pretty impressive for a brand new shop to open the doors with a heavy Nike account; that's extremely difficult to pull off. Then along the back wall are bags and a clothing rack, including the exclusive Bun B x Nice Kicks "Keep Texas Trill" tees. On the back wall there's cool artwork of a telephone line with real sneakers hanging by the laces. On the left side of the shop is the checkout counter and accessories, including Nixon watches. Finally, up front by the door was a DJ booth setup and in the middle there were coolers full of FREE Sweet Leaf Tea for the event, very nice.

In addition to the new sneakers, Matt also pulled out some limited "private stock" to sell at great prices. There were Fire Red Jordan IIIs for just $300 (currently selling on Flight Club for around $500) which my homie TaVoiras jumped all over. Some Nice Kicks X Asics colabs which Jaye was lucky enough to cop. Some Air Max Crepe Hemps that both Jake from SASneaksUp and Shoe Wolf got. And even some 2003 Air Max 1 Safaris for just $85 that I really wanted to grab myself.

By the way, Nike did something pretty freakin' cool: they shipped Matt one of the super exclusive UT Nike Pro Combat College Football Pack box set [link] which were made available to 10 different Universities. UT was given 277 pair for their athletes, but only 9 pair were made available at retail (and only at the Nike Sportswear 21 Mercer shop in NYC). Shows you just how much Nike thinks of Nice Kicks.

After all the initial hoopla was over, the shop stayed open all afternoon and we all hung out in front outside chillin with DJ Clark Kent (more on that tomorrow) who went on to DJ the after party that night in the shop. All in all, I'd say the Grand Opening event was a huge success, and I wish Matt and the whole Nice Kicks crew the bets of luck in the future. I know I'll be back down in Austin many times in the future to visit the best new sneaker shop in Texas.

Check back as I talk about the conversation we had with DJ Clark Kent and how he schooled us for over 6 hours at the Nice Kicks Grand Opening.

Nice Kicks - Grand Opening Pt1

After four years of running one of the biggest and most well respected Sneaker news wesbites, Matt Halfhill of announced last month the opening an actual brick-and-mortar Nice Kicks sneaker store in Austin, Texas, prominently located on "the strip" next to the University of Texas campus. Honestly, I think it's truly incredible that someone could go from starting a blog to opening a store in less than 5 years--it really goes to show just how powerful of an impact the Internet has had on all of us.

I don't think I can stress enough how significant of a Grand Opening this was. I mean yeah, we're talking about a new sneaker shop here, but one that out of the gate has better brand recognition than most established shops simply due to the strength of the website. Because of that, people from literally all across the country--NYC to LA--came to Texas for the event. Hell, my homie @esco777 drove 1,300 miles for 22 hours straight to make it out. Now that's some sneakerhead dedication right there.

There were also some VIPs in attendance. Bun B of UGK fame made it up from Houston--and he walked down the line and personally handed out free CDs. No assistant, no bullshit, just some real interaction with the people. I got a chance to spend a few minutes chatting with Bun about sneakers and life and shit, he's completely approachable and authentic. Oh yeah, CONGRATS to Bun B for being named the newest member of the ATF crew.

Speaking of the ATF crew, DJ Clark Kent from NYC was also in attendance--and he also DJ'd the evening after-party. I've got a whole post coming up dedicated to the heavy 6+ hour conversation our Heat Seekers crew had with Clark. That's probably coming up tomorrow or the next day, so stay tuned for that.

Also coming in from NYC was Joe LaPuma, online editor for Complex Magazine. In case you didn't already know, Complex has really been doing up this sneaker thing right for a while now. JLP has that online shit on lock; I don't know if anyone in the publishing industry "gets" how to deal with the Internet better than Complex. Their online content is totally separate and perfectly suited for Internet reading. is on point.

Finally, the infamous Dante Ross from NYC made and appearance. I gotta admit I was a bit star stuck by meeting someone that was so intimately involved with the creation of some of my favorite Hip Hop albums by some of my favorite artists: Pete & CL, De La Soul, The Beastie Boys, Eric B. & Rakim, Digital Underground, Brand Nubian. Dante was instrumental in creating the soundtrack to my life. He reps for Pro Keds right now, so obviously that's why he was in town, but damn I was just floored that he was there and that I got to shake his hand. Whew.

Now about the line...

Me and my crew got to the store at 9:00 am, two hours before it opened, and there were already about a dozen people in line. By the time 11:00 am rolled around, the line went all the way down the block. The coolest thing about this line, compared to just about ever other one I've ever seen here in Texas, was the caliber of sneakers cats were wearing. Usually I see a bunch of new release Jordans and Fusions, but in the Nice Kicks line people were wearing HEAT! OG Concord XIs. OG 1990 Vs. DQM Bacons. Warhogs. HUF SBs. What The Dunk SBs. And then, whoa, the stupidest heat of the day: dude in front of me was wearing ma'fockn' AF1 CLOTS. Yeah, CLOTS!!! What the hell? That took serious bawls to wear those! Mad props to Ken for rockin those.

Read about the shop itself, how it's setup, and what kinda items were on hand for the Grand Opening event. Read Part 2 now! [LINK]

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