As recently detailed in Five Ways to Fuel Your Sneaker Love From Home, it’s worth becoming a bookworm to level up your sneaker knowledge. No one’s expecting you to recite specific colourways or product codes, but you’re likely to learn something new! Here are just a handful of books out of hundreds that are worth tracking down for a deep read.
The adidas Archive
Inside adidas’ Herzogenaurach HQ lies an extensive product archive containing over 7000 different sneakers. The adidas Archive highlights 357 of the collection’s most significant silhouettes, curated by its custodians Christian Habermeier and Sebastian Jäger. Find some of the brand’s earliest designs, plus never-before-seen samples and a comprehensive recap of past and present collaborators. Even the casual Three Stripes fan will appreciate the painstaking lengths adidas have gone to preserve and celebrate the brand’s deep history.
Nike Chronicle Deluxe 1971-1980s
Japan’s Lightning Magazine decided to gather just about every significant Nike shoe, starting in 1971, up to the 1980s for the Nike Chronicle Deluxe. This super-close focus on the Swoosh’s early years is a fascinating study in minutiae. For example, there’s a comparison of six different Cortez releases that to the layman look identical but, to the dedicated sneaker nerd, are night and day apart. Think of it as a hardcore stamp collector’s album, but with nylon Nike runners and crusty leather basketball shoes. A lot of it may be in Japanese, but the detailed photography will have you comparing product codes and tongue tags for hours.
The Sneaker Colouring Book
It’s said that ‘a picture tells a thousand words’, so if verbose ramblings about shoes aren’t your cup of tea, try The Sneaker Colouring Book. Containing 100 iconic sneaker stencils, it’s up to you to select the perfect shade for your one-of-one creation. This book came out in 2010, so a couple of vendors are selling ‘deadstock’ copies for top dollar. But it’ll be worth it… just stay between the lines! Otherwise, similarly oriented books have come out in the past few years. Top tip: photocopy the blank sneakers so you can colour them in more than once!
Hiroshi Fujiwara: Fragment
Whether he likes it or not, Hiroshi Fujiwara is considered one of streetwear’s godfathers. Hiroshi Fujiwara: Fragment is a fairly comprehensive recap of Fujiwara’s multifaceted projects and collaborations behind his creative entity: Fragment Design. He’s had his thumb in just about every single pie since the Urahara era that began in the late 1980s. Get ready to add new Grails to your wishlist that you never knew existed, and lament the fact you needed to be there in the 2000s for some of his most prolific releases. Good news everyone! Rizzoli is publishing a sequel to this later this year. Mark your calendars for October 2020.
Michael Dupouy is the king of chronicling street culture. Since 2006, his All Gone series is a comprehensive compendium of the year gone by in sneakers, streetwear, and anything under the dynamic umbrella of ‘street culture’. There’s a heavy focus on limited editions, which is the very nature of the publications themselves. As the years have gone on, ,All Gone’s self-reflection of limited edition culture has resulted in supplementary collaborations and extra covers to celebrate the venerable tome. Good luck sourcing back issues, but there are still copies of All Gone 2019 available directly from the website.
The Ultimate Sneaker Book
If there’s a horn to be blown, it’s ours. As the name suggests, The Ultimate Sneaker Book is the essential guide to sneaker culture, condensing 15 years of Sneaker Freaker’s authoritative documentation into a 700-page reference. The who’s who of the game are interviewed and interrogated, and an enviable archive of vintage advertising material is among the clearest highlights in the book – many sections of which will only ever be committed to print. Every significant sneaker, personality, ad, and footwear-related paraphernalia is contained inside. If your copy is still deadstock, crack it open! Like how sneakers are supposed to be worn, The Ultimate Sneaker Book is supposed to be read. Cover to cover.