Very rarely do you come across such a unique pair of sneakers. Designed and made for one very specific purpose within one of the most exclusive industries on the planet - that purpose was to protect and serve the feet of the McLaren Team’s pit crew - the industry is Formula 1 motor sport. Trying to source a pair of these kicks would be near impossible. Well then, how did I get my hairy mitts on these you may ask?
Pure fluke really... A few years back when my modest little city hosted the Grand Prix my mum was working in the housekeeping department of the Adelaide Hilton Hotel. Being the best hotel in Adelaide at the time (not hard) that’s where most of the teams stayed throughout the racing weekend. The following week, whilst mum was going about her daily job she just stumbled upon them, sitting in the otherwise empty wardrobe. The previous owner had discarded them after just a few days use.
When she arrived home I remember they caused me some preternatural angst. I mean, a bright red pair of Asics? I was into Hip Hop, so I was rockin my adidas or fresh Nikes (whenever funds would permit that is). Would a loyal brand conscious head dare turn up to school in these? I remember getting laughed at for running bomber laces in my shell toes not long before I got these. I wasn’t ready to go through that again, I mean it was only petty shit from friends but it was annoying all the same.
Some people just don’t get it, and never will. If you were different back then you really stood out, something I always managed to do anyway without even trying. My back ground is asian/european, a minority group where I grew up. So imagine the response striding through the school yard in these everyday...
“Hey check out the asian kid in the bright red sneaks, lets crack his head open like an egg!"
Yeah, would’ve been real fun. So I played it safe and stashed them away. I had almost forgotten about them until moving house just recently. Whilst going through all my old gear I was reunited with them. It is only now that I realised what I have. These kicks rule! The most unique in my collection by far.
I got them in 1995 which was the last time Adelaide hosted the Grand Prix, and one of the last seasons the team ran this colourway. So what better parting gift could I receive? The shoes upper construction quality is second to none and the grip design is unique and works incredibly well. A lot of R&D must’ve gone into the sole alone. You can really feel and hear the little rubber nobblies gripping to the asphalt when it’s most needed. (The pit crew would never have slipped up in these bad boys). The incredible light weight is also very noticeable. To sum it up, the shoe personifies all the quality you would expect with anything associated with F1. Especially within one of the richest and most successful teams in the game. See the blackening on the white part of the sole - that’s F1 related markings. Fuck yeah! - F1 rules.
It would’ve been cool to see what the other teams were wearing, namely Ferrari, Williams/BMW or Jordan. Keep your eyes open this year, and if you know anyone in house-keeping at fancy hotels have them look out. In the wardrobes that is... Anyway another freakish score my mum picked up was a pair of Nikes that ‘Pistol’ Pete Sampras left behind after playing in Adelaide at Memorial Drive. They were also only one game old. They were two sizes way too big though, so I regrettably sold them not long after I got them for as little as 80 dollars. Oh well, you live and learn I guess.
It does make me wonder why I held onto these for so many years though. Anyway, here they are in post-race condition, well I have worn them around the block a few times. How else would I know how effective the grip design works??
‘Super’ Steve Varga