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Fly Fishing On The Bay: Part #2

Date: October 31 2014

By: Sneaker Freaker

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Enjoy the second installment of our Fly Fishing Feature as we go undercover on the bay in search of a mad vintage catch!


Nike Air Max 120 : 1998
The Air Max 120 is drenched in late-90s MSG-enhanced super flavour, but how is it possible we have virtually no recollection of this spider-webbed wonder? Could it be that the shadow of the Air Max Plus TN from the same era was just too menacing, or was it simply the sight of the blazing AM120 that burnt an ozone-sized hole in our retinas?

Designed by Richard Clarke, now the creative director for Nike Sportswear, the Air Max 120 – like a Cadillac Escalade – arrived fully loaded with every option ticked. That means a rubber cage, jewelled Swooshes, gradient mesh, MX Air, Burst Air bubbles and 3M detailing on the toe. 14 years since this towering inferno was released, it’s fair to say that it still looks utterly futuristic today. And to think, all it took was a single click for the pseudo nostalgia to come flooding back.


AVIA 1355 : 90s
Avia was founded in the late-70s by Jerry Stubblefield, a classic maverick in the great tradition of sports industry entrepreneurs. Over the years Avia had a few successes, most notably shoes worn by Clyde Drexler (as Mr Clyde) and Scottie Pippen. They also developed a cantilever system (similar to adidas Torsion) which they claimed was stolen by Nike and used in their Air 180 and Air Force 180 models. Neither party was reportedly happy with the outcome of the legal stoush and side-by-side, it’s hard to see exactly how this conclusion was possible. By the mid-80s, Reebok had acquired Avia and despite a low profile, it is still in operation today. Vintage models appear sporadically on the Bay but here we have unearthed two genuine nuggets of Avia gold. The 1355 cross-trainer is the more interesting of the pair, primarily for its unique ‘Transport’ lacing system. It’s hard to tell from the photos, but it has an elasticised upper that uses plastic ghilly tabs and a full length panel to cinch the shoe tight to the foot. We’re not sure it’ll make much difference to your performance but it looks pretty cool, as does the minty fresh colourway. Similar in stature and mid-pricepoint steez is the 868 model for basketballers. As the tongue label says, this is ‘For the Fast Game’. Both shoes have held up well and with a little care could definitely be used on the street once more!


AVIA 868 : 90s
Avia was founded in the late-70s by Jerry Stubblefield, a classic maverick in the great tradition of sports industry entrepreneurs. Over the years Avia had a few successes, most notably shoes worn by Clyde Drexler (as Mr Clyde) and Scottie Pippen. They also developed a cantilever system (similar to adidas Torsion) which they claimed was stolen by Nike and used in their Air 180 and Air Force 180 models. Neither party was reportedly happy with the outcome of the legal stoush and side-by-side, it’s hard to see exactly how this conclusion was possible. By the mid-80s, Reebok had acquired Avia and despite a low profile, it is still in operation today. Vintage models appear sporadically on the Bay but here we have unearthed two genuine nuggets of Avia gold. The 1355 cross-trainer is the more interesting of the pair, primarily for its unique ‘Transport’ lacing system. It’s hard to tell from the photos, but it has an elasticised upper that uses plastic ghilly tabs and a full length panel to cinch the shoe tight to the foot. We’re not sure it’ll make much difference to your performance but it looks pretty cool, as does the minty fresh colourway. Similar in stature and mid-pricepoint steez is the 868 model for basketballers. As the tongue label says, this is ‘For the Fast Game’. Both shoes have held up well and with a little care could definitely be used on the street once more!


LA GEAR Light Gear : 1993
Without any external branding, you’d never know who was responsible for this mid-90s runner, though it is hard to avoid the conclusion that the designer had a pair of Huaraches on their desk when they did the sketch. It’s a shockingly derivative design in other words, but we have to admit, even though it’s LA Gear, it actually looks kinda cool.

White microsuede with orange and magenta pops wrapped up with a trick black-and-white print on the socklining means the décor is period correct. The chunky rubber heel cage is where the action’s at, and even though it’s more ornamental than functional, it definitely adds some pizzazz. It’s not immediately obvious but the cherry on top of this phoney fruit sundae is the transparent panel across the top of the tongue that lights it up like Akihabara when you hit the switch. Shhhsh! Don’t tell Solebox or they’ll have another light-em-up gimmick for their next colab. 1993 was the last hurrah for LA Gear. They might have just sold 100 million pairs of their LA Lights to little kids, but the brand was in terminal decline and inches away from implosion. Regardless, this is one of those WTF shoes that we’re proud to put in the SF collection.


adidas (Keyshawn Johnson) : 1997
Keyshawn Johnson is one of those quintessential American athletes with a loud personality and a mammoth sense of inner confidence. As the number one NFL draft pick in 1996, Johnson went to play with the New York Jets. By the end of his rookie year he had already finished his autobiography titled Just Give Me the Damn Ball. Adidas obviously thought highly of him and decided to Just Give him Some Damn Money, naming this abstract model after him just a year after he went pro.

In the trademark adidas Equipment white -black-teal, the shoe still cuts a dashing figure. Scholars will immediately detect the pungent aroma of adidas’ ‘Feet You Wear’ design language, which placed an emphasis on chunky pod-like sole units. Whilst it created some of the most interesting shapes in the history of shoe design, Feet You Wear remains a vintage delicacy few have developed an insatiable hunger for. Johnson’s shoe was also memorable for the distinctive Fido Dido-esque logo on the midsole. It also came with a hangtag in the shape of a key which said that ‘All elements of this product have been approved by him’.At least now we know whose fault it was! It is not known if Keyshawn Johnson also has tiny pink balls.


Reebok Big Hurt (Frank Thomas) : 1995
The Big Hurt arrived at a time when stonking egos and balls-out machismo was the name of the game in the athletic biz. Based on the Kamikaze and other Reeboks from this period, newbies might conclude that the Big Hurt is a ball shoe, but it was actually designed for Frank Thomas, a home-run slugging machine with the Chicago White Sox. Frank was built like two brick shithouses and famous for swatting baseballs into orbit. He was also part of the Planet Reebok campaign, appearing alongside Shaq in their squad of indefatigable athletes. The shoe itself is rather sleek and simple, yet there’s no mistaking that Reebok obsession with hyper-kinetic panelling. Less immediately obvious is the unusual placement of the three Reebok logos and the irregular perforations that smother the upper. Hexalite is also visible in the soles – as long as you have a magnifying glass and eyesight that is better than 20/20. A few different versions of the Big Hurt were released over the years, but this is the one with retro potential. Thomas’ legacy will never match the power of Shaq, but the Big Hurt is still worthy of some overdue recognition.


Apparel: Troop Tracksuit
Our semi-serious Troop obsession is well documented in the pages of this magazine, but their shoes rarely appear on the Bay and if they do, a small army of F-Troopers are usally all over them like LL Cool J on NCIS.

Over the years we’ve seen dozens of Troop leather bomber jackets, velvet crushes and silky warm-ups all loaded with classic embroidered patches that say ‘In Full Effect’, ‘High Roller’, ‘Excitement’ and other equally nutty slogans, but nothing compares to this Troop tracksuit we discovered a while back. The appliquéd sneakers are just too funny, and if you think four on the back of the track top isn’t enough, you’re in luck because there’s two more Troop sneaker patches glued to the pants. The comedic value of flossing this tracksuit would be sky high in the right environment, but as is often the case with vintage gear, it’s developed a serious case of ‘stickyitis’, which as we all know, means it is slowly eating itself alive from UV and oxygen exposure. Held up to the light, it’s close to threadbare in some areas, but we still couldn’t help ourselves. If you now look up the Guiness Book of World Records and search for world’s craziest tracksuit, this is the new benchmark!


Apparel: Nike x Bo Diddley T-shirt
As one thing leads to another, we also picked up a genuine Bo Diddley x Nike tee from the cross training era when he was part of the Bo Jackson campaign. It’s in remarkable condition, especially since white tees often yellow-out over the years.


Apparel: Reebok Pump T-shirt
The Reebok Pump tee is another crazy piece, with 100% sublimated coverage of golfers, ball players and the moon thrown in to an ensemble for no reason we can think of.


Apparel: Jordan Shorts
Judging by these Jordan shorts we picked up, our taste is obviously questionable, but as the old saying goes, they sure don’t make ‘em like they used to.

Nike Bowling Shoes
Who knew Nike made bowling shoes? Turns out they’re not that rare. Oh well. As our eBayer said ‘I can’t guarantee that you’ll get more strikes while wearing these but I can guarantee that your feet will look fabulous’. These will be a hoot at some post-ironic hipster gathering. Triple the effect if you’re jocking a Big Lebowski tee.


adidas EQT Adv. Sand II
Designed for the great outdoors, these EQT sandals are rugged enough for even the toughest off-roading conditions. Can’t say we’re overly keen on velcro under normal circumstances, but on these brown canyon bombers, who cares!


Nike Hijack : 1985
Man, these Nikes are ancient! Like Madonna’s wrinkly white ass, they’re also in remarkably preserved condition for such a vintage relic. Could they possibly be a long-lost prototype for Mork from Ork? Who knows!

We’re ashamed to admit this but we didn’t archive our eBay purchases, so any knowledge from the auction has now been lost, but here’s what we’ve been able to deduce from a close examination of this strange sci-fi moonboot. The shape is reminiscent of a boxing or wrestling boot, yet this seems an unlikely vocation due to its fashionable construction. The silvery-grey upper material is very similar to that found on the original Nike Vandals, which means it’s paper-thin yet surprisingly robust. There’s no Swoosh either, just the Nike block letters in a circle on the ankle. All in all it has withstood the ravages of time and presents in magnificent condition.
Released in the era before barcodes, 850204 TY1 is printed on the inner ankle, which immediately evoked memories of OG Jordans. We can assume therefore that these shoes were made back in April 1985.

Or is it February? A Google search keeps pulling up the original Jordan production codes, which only adds to the puzzle. Like a riddle wrapped in a condom stuffed in a conundrum and smoked in a crack pipe, this is one shoe we’ll probably never get to grips with. Was it targeted at breakdancers?

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