I’ve probably had 200 different pairs of sneakers pass through my rotation, so you’d think this revolving door approach to sneaker collecting would mean I don’t harbour much sentiment towards individual pairs. Turns out it’s the contrary – I’m filled with regret and a sense of mottainai every time a cherished pair moves on. Here are five that I still feel sad about.
adidas ZX 9000 ‘Hydra’ (2008 Retro)
It’s funny, my collection has housed the ZX 7000, ZX 8000 and ZX 9000 – but never at the same time. The ‘Aqua’ ZX 8000 is like the adidas equivalent of the Nike ‘Infrared’ Air Max 90, but the ‘Hydra’ ZX 9000 is also a hot sneaker. The 2008 retro was the second bringback of the 1989 flagship runner, and the first since 1999. The microfibre colour was rich and vibrant, and the Soft Cell tech in the heel worked in tandem with the Torsion bar for stable cushioning. I stupidly sold them for chips to fund a night of misendeavours during my late adolescence. At least adidas did another retro of the ZX line in 2019, so I can make up for lost time.
Hanon x Clarks Traxter Ventile
Some readers may remember a surprising influx of Hanon’s collaboration with Clarks hitting an online discount marketplace a few years ago. At less than $50 a pop, it would’ve been rude not to! The uppers were made from Ventile, a very densely woven and inherently waterproof canvas-like textile… Dare I say it worked better than GORE-TEX? The co-branded details and super soft insoles were also great. In easy-to-wear flat grey and a silhouette akin to the classic Desert Trek, this should have been a staple sneaker for my rotation. Again, I sold these for next to nothing for a few hours of ill-advised hedonism, and I doubt I’ll ever find them again for $50.
Diamond Supply Co. x Nike SB Dunk Low Pro ‘Tiffany’
The ‘Tiffany’ was my teenage Grail. I missed the original 2005 release – this was at the height of the Pink Box hype – so I waited and saved up until there was a dip in market prices. That said, they still cost me 600 big ones! I was too scared to wear them more than a handful of times, so I eventually sent them off via sea mail to a private collector somewhere in Russia. Sure, I made a healthy profit from that sale in 2013, but I’d be much closer to retirement if I still had them now – especially if Kylie Jenner wears them. They’re still such a beautiful sneaker, regardless of the flake-prone faux chrome Swoosh.
Vintage ASICS GEL-111
I won these in an eBay auction when an old lady was selling off deadstock sneakers from the running shoe store she used to own. It was at a time when Ronnie Fieg GEL-Lyte III colabs were starting to really gather steam, so vintage GELs stood out from Ronnie’s hyper-coloured creations. These GEL-111s from approximately 1991 were super comfortable, and well made too – they were still wearable when I owned them. An ASICS collector from Switzerland messaged me via the Sneaker Freaker Forum and made an offer I couldn’t refuse. I do miss them though, because ASICS have never retroed them. The GEL X-TRA pack doesn’t count.
Hanon x New Balance M577WIC ‘Northern Sole Wigan’
This 2006 release was an early effort from Hanon’s long-standing collaborative relationship with New Balance’s UK factory in Flimby. In the early 2010s, UK-made New Balance retros and collaborations from the 2000s like the 1500, 577 and 670 were fetching big bucks – much like Nike Air Maxes from the same era. So, I cashed in as soon as I discovered hairline separation along the multi-density ENCAP midsole. You can’t even find a pair for sale anywhere today. And for good reason too: of the 120 or so pairs produced, they’re either all crumbled, or in good homes. I wish I still had them though, because they were special.
Sure, some of the sneakers on this list can still be found today if I throw enough money in the right direction, but some have pretty much disappeared into the ether. While these sneaker-shaped holes in my heart can always be filled with other shoes from my current collection, the stinging regret often comes back to haunt me when I least expect it. Ouch…