Like fine whiskeys, Hanon's colab with Supra has taken a long while to mature and get ready for release. The little Aberdeen sneaker shop that could is happy with the results now and are ready to uncork it on July 26. We pulled on our tartan smoking jacket, dropped some rocks in our cup and topped it with the finest dusty malt we could find, then got on the dog and bone to Hanon co-founder Edward Toft to talk about this special reserve sneaker.
SF: What’s been popping in Aberdeen lately? How’s the scene?
Edward: Things are not bad, thanks. Summer is here and the sun has been shining in Aberdeen. We have long winters with short days up this way, so when the fairer weather comes around you really appreciate it. Just now we are at that point where the days are really long and we have these magical night skies with only a few hours of darkness. At this time of year the north of Scotland is hard to beat.
As for sneakers, the scene is really good just now. There are younger guys coming through and embracing brands and styles that would normally have been off the radar. Instagram and social media in general has really helped build up interest in footwear again and has changed the landscape of how information is communicated. It's mad that a guy can come into our store and purchase a shoe, snap it and someone instantly sees it on the other side of the world. It has also developed a bit of one-upmanship!
I love a good surprise, especially when it comes to colabs. Supra v Hanon has def come out of the blue. How did you guys get down together?
Supra approached Solebox, Sneakersntuff and ourselves around two years ago with the idea to collaborate on a shoe together. Initially we worked on the Skytop III but we were maybe a bit ambitious with a modification to the sole unit that we flipped it to an Owen. It has been a long time coming I guess, but we are really pleased with the shoe. It has an amazing pig suede upper with coarse overlays and gold emboss details. We also added a bit of tartan!
The Owen is one of the new breed of quasi skate/lightweight/runners (Roshe, Flux etc). What’s your take on this new ‘style’? Do you think they’ll become staples in the scene or will it fade away?
Difficult to say really. I remember when Nike first introduced the Roshe and thinking at the time the shoe was something special. It was quite slow to start with and now it has just gone crazy! That particular 'Roshe look is everywhere these days and has sort of replaced the Vans and Converse vulcanised thing. Tesco (a well known supermarket in the UK) have just released their own version of it.
My feeling is the Owen, although lightweight with a similar outsole, differs to the Roshe and Flux look a bit as it has a more constructed upper. I think the Roshe is iconic enough now though, that if were to fade away and make a come back in a few years time it would blow up and have the same sort of impact that an Air Flow or Huarache does whenever they are reissued.
Nice job on the leather strapping on the side and the extra lace holes, I like body mods like that being done to a shoe.
Skate shoes and skateboarding played a big part in the store's development when we first started out in the early 90s. Back then and probably still today there was a lot of customisation of shoes. Cutting off lace savers and converting high tops to low tops via duct tape and shoe goo was a trend (not always with the best results). I am starting to see it today although it's more from a restoration perspective with the dying of suedes, cleaning up of ‘vintage' midsoles, that kind of thing. The dual lace hole was an idea we borrowed from some old skate shoes where you could flip the lace from a loop to a standard punched hole. I liked the idea of a customised look to the Owen and I think it connects quite nicely to Supra's skateboarding roots and the history of our store.
Hanon traditionally love mustard and burgundy, but this time it’s barley and navy. Do you ever feel like going really batshit crazy with the Pantones? Would Aberdeen heads embrace the funk or burn down the store?
Aberdeen would embrace some craziness, provided the sneaker was executed nicely. As long as the colours work together and the material selection is good I am sure we would be okay. I think around three different colours and tgree materials to make up a shoe is about right. It can be quite easy to get carried away and it doesn't take much to ruin a collaboration.
Regarding yellow, we do seem to have had a few gold and yellow releases out lately. It's not really intentional, more of a timing thing due to final sample sign off and factory production. Sometimes the order of each release doesn't work out as planned. I was worried we were overdoing grey on our colabs!
Can I ask a really serious question about Scotch whisky. I wouldn’t drink Fosters if my own ass was on fire. Is Johnny Walker (red) the same thing for you?
Johnnie Walker Red to my mind is normally used as a mixer and not really a whisky you would drink on its own. You would have to go to black and above to have something that is palatable. We grew up in the Speyside region in Scotland where at least half of the distilleries are located, so there is a lot to choose from and it's all pretty good. By no means am I a connoisseur or expert as you can be a bit nerdy with this stuff – single malts, single grain and blends all make up a different type of whiskies and it gets quite involved.
Generally the whisky from Speyside is lighter, smoother and golden in colour – hence the colour of our shoe – and then there is the whisky from the islands where you would find the smokey peaty flavoured stuff. It tends to be darker and more distinctive in taste. Most Scotch is good though. If you were to avoid cheaper blends, I think ultimately you would be fine.
So what is your preferred tipple?
From Speyside you can't really go wrong with Knockando and if I were to go Islay, maybe Ardbeg. Bunnahabhain is also good. I actually have a cask edition, around 56%, hand numbered bottle from the distillery where we filmed and shot the shoe. The attention to detail and care shown for the design of the whisky labels and packaging appeals to me. I like the gold foil print details, and special edition boxes. I guess we try and reflect this approach to our shoe collaborations.