First off, a little geography lesson. Perth is located on the western edge of Australia, some 2500 miles from Sydney – making it the most isolated major capital city in the world. But that doesn’t mean they don’t know what time it is! HIGHS and LOWS have been holding it down for five years, and on the eve of their anniversary, Reebok have laced the boys with their very own shoe, We caught up with Matt and the team at HAL to introduce their virgin colab – the eminently wearable HAL x GL6000!

It’s your fifth birthday this year… Are you all grown up yet?
It’s seriously flown by. It seems like only yesterday we were all saying ‘Wow, we’ve been open for two years now!’ We feel like we’re in a position where we can be satisfied with what we’ve created and how long we’ve survived in such a hot and cold market.

Is there a particular sneaker that represents the city?
Two words – Vans Authentic – they’re everywhere! I guess because of the generally warm weather over here, people like to dress light so we see a lot of guys running that whole blank tee, skinny denim short and Vans Authentic vibe. Then you’ve got the whole fixed gear thing that’s really starting to take off over here as well. We’re seeing more and more rolled-up pants and Vans Authentics, dudes running mean shin-tans and the flipped up caps.

Kudos to Reebok for recognising your influence! You must be pretty excited?
Absolutely. Now that it’s happened we couldn’t be more thankful. After a bit of stress, a few do-overs and hundreds of emails and phone calls, the shoe is finally ready to drop and we couldn’t be happier.

The GL6000 is a somewhat obscure choice… Why this model?
We actually hadn’t had much to do with this model prior to its re-release, but to be honest, it seemed a natural choice with the shoe celebrating its 25th year and all. Plus a whole other bunch of deciding factors such as the 6000 model number which ties back to the Perth city postal code.

Since it’s your first chance to really go nuts on a shoe, did you agonise over every detail?
We went through a bunch of concepts and looked at a heap of other shop collaborations before we started and realised we wanted something simple and stealthy that incorporated our favourite materials, because that’s what we all wear. We were very meticulous with the sample process and the picking of materials, making sure that every panel coincided nicely with the next and that the whole package was easy to look at. To us, the point of this colab was to celebrate the store’s connection with that brand by design, not over embellishment. Ultimately we wanted make a classic piece of footwear. The shoe’s colourway actually ties directly back to our Mt Lawley store’s shopfront colours and the gingham lining reflects the pattern on our shop bags. Judging from the response we’ve had so far, we’ve produced something that both encapsulates Highs and Lows and gives our supporters a shoe they can be proud of.

You did that! Your chance to show off has come at an incredibly conservative time… I guess you wouldn’t mind if I said the shoe was distinctly ‘wearable’.
Definitely. Being in the position we are we’ve seen a lot of colab shoes and wondered exactly what people were thinking when they did it. You can put as many dodo feathers and gold badges on a shoe as you like but that doesn’t necessarily make it a nice shoe. A few years ago, when it was all about the brightest colours and the most obscure materials, we probably would’ve gone and done something silly and would probably be embarrassed to wear it today. We thought about that and decided to make something that would stand the test of time. We’ve been given a huge opportunity with Reebok, one that will hopefully be the first of many and we wanted to start on the right foot.

I also heard a rumour you’re also working with NB?
We heard that rumour as well! I guess we’ll have to wait and see.

Find this article in Sneaker Freaker Issue 19.

HAL crew shot by www.lukeshootsphotos.com