If you know me, you know I’m a certified sneaker head. Don’t let the ultra chic clothes and shoes I pose and prance around in fool you. Either I’m dressed to the nines or I look like a 5th Ave. hobo (5th Ave NYC- the street that features every high brand/designer known to man). 5th Ave hobos just dress better, it’s 5th Ave they have to, I don’t make the rules.
Air Jordan Sneaker Collection
Since we’re all cooped up in our homes I figured there was no better time to show off my babies- my modest sneaker collection. By why of collections I’d say this is rather subdued. There are crazy people who have hundreds of pairs of sneakers. I’m not one of those crazy people (at least not for that reason), I may have 20 pairs tops.
I love all kinds of sneakers, fashion, athletic, I’m here for it all.
But the Air Jordan brand holds a very special place in my heart. Being one of nine children I’m total (my parents kept going after they separated) there wasn’t a whole lot of money for $100+ sneakers. Although I think it had more to do with the fact that my dad refused to put another dime into Nike’s pockets especially when kids starting killing each other for them in the hood. My mother was no help either, she hates sneakers, she thinks they are ugly. She might own two pair, if that. She was willing to buy me any dress shoe I wanted but she could not bring herself to buy a pair of ‘ugly sneakers’, in her words.
I am an 80’s baby, 90’s kid. The 80’s and 90’s and arguable the earlier 2000s, were all about Michael- Jordan, Jackson, Tyson, choose one.
If you’re really cool you can name the tune that line comes from; the comment section is waiting for you. I love/loved sports growing up believe it or not and Michael Jordan was everybody’s guy. I will not explain who Michael Jordan is. If you don’t know who he is, you’re in the wrong place, this post isn’t for you. Let me be clear, I am and will always be a NY Knick fan. Admittedly it is a cramped and narrow road for the faithful, but we remain steadfast. Even as a Knick fan you couldn’t deny the unicorn that Michael Jordan was. He did things on the court that made you think he was quite literally magic and I don’t believe in magic. The sneakers he wore were as unique as him- appropriately named the Air Jordan by Nike. Nike and the Jordan brand would go on to create 20+ versions of the Air Jordan, in various color ways. Ladies and gents I give you the AJ1s in velvet.
These shoes were released in 1986.
I was a wee babe in 1986. There’s an entire documentary about these sneakers on Hulu, that’s how iconic these shoes are. I remember when I wore this particular pair to the office, one of my colleagues shared with me that these sneakers were one of his favorite sneakers growing up and how cool they made him feel. I felt pretty cool that day as well. My colleague is at least 15 years older than me and he’s a white guy. These shoes transcend, race, age, time and generations. And they just keep getting better. Air Jordan’s were the first sneaker to incorporate style, color, using craftsmanship and technology. The color way for most sneakers in the early 80s was black or white, with a pop of color. The Air Jordan demolished that template. With that, I give you the Spikeys. A delightful color assault on the eyes. One of my favorite pair of Jordan’s, I have them in two different colors, the pair below are my favorite. Incidentally Chris Martin from the band Cold Play performed in these when they first came out. He has several pair as well, further confirmation of how truly transcendent these shoes are.
These sneakers were made for director/actor Spike Lee; they are a hybrid of the Jordan 5.
As a die hard Knick fan Spike (he’s big bro in my head) was a frenemy of Michael Jordan for many years. You could say that relationship kinda paid off. The night Spike won his first Oscar he wore a custom pair of golden Spikeys. That was a proud moment. Brooklyn’s own native son winning his very first Oscar in a fresh pair of Jays (nickname for the sneaker). There is nothing more quintessentially Brooklyn then a fresh pair of Jays, a dope outfit, and the right accessories. An Oscar is a pretty dope accessory.
As far as guilty pleasures go I think it could be worse. I’m living my childhood dreams. I buy and collect sneakers. My aunt Shell buys and collects Barbie dolls. By way of vices and crazy people (not insinuating aunt Shell is crazy, she and I are living our best lives), I think I’m doing ok. Fortunately for me sneakers have become a part of everyday style and fashion. Casual Fridays are so much cooler now. Now that we’re quarantined/social distancing everyday is casual Friday. So when I get dressed for work, that is if I feel like coming out of my daytime PJs, I grab a pair of sneakers, more often then not, it will be a pair of Jays, my faves.
A few sneaker buying tips…
Authenticity is Key
Always buy from a credible vendor, Foot Locker, Champs, Dicks, Dr Jays, Jimmy Jazz. Anything worth having is worth counterfeiting and they definitely make fake Jordans. If you decide to go with a smaller vendor or reseller check their reviews, ask questions. Most credible sellers won’t have an issue with a lot of questions, they understand the uncertainty in buying from the little guy.
If your feet are any where between a women’s size 5-7.5, you can buy children’s size equivalent, 4-6.5. If your foot is any bigger, you’re going to have to pay the adult price.
Resellers and Mom & Pop shops
I purchased my velvet AJ1s from an Instagram sneaker vendor, McLaren Kick Shop1. I choose McLaren after Cardi B purchased a pair of sneakers from him. If he was good enough for Cardi, he was good enough for me. He was great. He had the sneakers I wanted and shipped them off in a timely fashion.
I purchased my Aleali May, millennial pink Jordan 6’s from Stockx; the sneakers I’m wearing the picture below. This particular pair literally sold out in minutes. I was forced to go to a reseller, forced obviously being an exaggeration. I didn’t want to go the eBay route because those auctions get ridiculous and I always loose to a higher bid. The let down is real. Authenticity is questionable as well. Stockx was the logical choice. They do all the leg work for you. They check the sneakers for authenticity, establish the price with the seller, and ship them off to you; easy peasy. Warning: You most certainly will be paying way above retail for any sneaker purchased from the site; so you’re going to have to really want it.
Air hugs and elbow bumps… Sorry hugs and kisses are no more.