It took me a long time to come around to the Nike Free line. I’ve always admired the sleek running silhouette, but I thought wearing runners casually, especially with jeans was a fashion statement best left in the 1990s. But late last year I had a foot injury and ended up taking a punt on the free line, and ended up loving it.
The sole is what gets me. Although its minimal compared to the classic running shoe, the Free 5.0 sole still provides enough cushioning, even on the harsh pavements. Coupled with Nike’s latest flyknit technology, it makes for a seriously cool pair of kicks.
#4 – Nike Free Flyknit + – Game Royal/White-Blue Glow/Atomic Green
Where – Pro Direct Select
When – November 2013
Did You Know? – Nike Free was a line introduced in 2004 at the cusp of the barefoot running trend. Flyknit debuted in 2012 in essence to provide a formative knit sock like fit shoes.
The Good – Comfort, comfort, comfort. These puppies are like socks with soles. The waffle free sole is non-slip even on wet lino. The upper hugs the foot giving it adequate support even when moving laterally. It’s light and it flies!
The Bad – The material can pinch at first, and of course it offers no real protection against the elements, but as long as you stay away from construction sites and things to stub your toes on, you’ll be sweet.
Photographic Mood – Urban Ninja
I didn’t grow up with many pairs of hip canvas soles, preferring the craziness of 90s chunky sneakers instead. Perhaps it was my mum’s influence; she would always refer to plimsolls as peasant shoes because they reminded her of the shoes that her entire generation in China wore as kids because they were the cheapest shoes available. Now much older, I have fallen in love with the dress down look of plimsolls (and let’s not forget the hip surfie/skate iconography) but sadly my feet really don’t agree. I could never comfortably wear Chuck Taylors because of how narrow they are and most plimsoll soles are too flat and provide less than adequate cushioning. In fact after a brief hipster period late last year, I threw away all my plimsolls after a solid month of recovering from metatarsal inflammation (ouch right?). But I guess I couldn’t stay away for long, and soon found myself in possession of a pair of Vans, my first in fact.
#3 Vans Chukka Slim – Marl Grey
Where – Ebay
When – November 2013
The Good – The upper is beautiful knitted grey marl which makes it surprisingly cosy. It also cuts a slimmer silhouette than most vans which is awesome for us chicks because most Vans cut such a masculine profile. The mid-cut goes well with skinny jeans or even shorts/dresses/skirts. They’re hip without being overly trashy and the grey goes with everything.
The Bad – Plimsoll soles. Man the zero heel cushioning means if you’re a heavy heel striker like me, prolonged bouts of walking will hurt.
Photographic Mood – Late 70s Beach Deck
Welcome to another edition of Sole Exploration, today we delve into my extensive tennis shoe collection. I
like <3 tennis… I play a lot of tennis, and I’ve purchased a lot of tennis shoes. Probably more than I’ll ever need, but I guess it’s handy to be able to chart my tennis development through my sneakers? (Okay who am I kidding, they’re really my way of esoterically charting Roger Federer’s career)
#2 – Nike Vapor 8 Tour – White/Yellow
Where – Tennis Warehouse Europe
When – January 2011
Did You Know? – These are the kicks that Roger Federer sported during the spring season of 2011 in particular at the 2011 Australian Open. They are also the only Nike Vapors I own which sport the RF monogram. It was unusual for a pair of Vapors to be mass sold with an RF logo, usually they’re kept for special Nike Stores at say the US Open.
The Good – Slightly more stable with a wider heel base than the Vapor 7s and more flexible than the plasticky Vapor 6s. Plus the yellow is totally FETCH.
The Bad – Unfortunately I didn’t really get a chance to wear these puppies very much. I almost broke my ankle going for a routine inside out forehand one Saturday and I became wary of these shoes ever since. And once the uber comfy Vapor 9s came out, these were ditched to be backyard shoes, which made me super sad because I had the most awesome yellow, anthracite & white kit to go with it.
Photographic Mood – London Drizzle
One time he said you never really know a man until you stand in his shoes and walk around in them.
Welcome to my new short term photography/style series … Sole Exploration, where I take a more stylistic approach in exploring my collection of esoteric sneakers, boots and other incredibly utilitarian but seemingly still special footwear.
I’ve developed quite a sneaker collection over the years. I still blame it on the fact that I didn’t get my first pair of Nikes till I was about 12. Yes there were special and I wore the crap out of them. But growing up with my fair share of 2nd hand shoes, getting a new pair of sweet kicks (usually with the ubiquitous tick) signified my ascension into middle class affluence. Mark Twain once said that “Clothes make the man, Naked people have little or no influence on society.” Would it be wrong to say that shoes maketh the woman? After all it’s become a running joke that handbags and shoes are what keep the female-centric fashion industry financially viable.
Where other women collect bags, jewellery and clothes from overseas department stores, I always seem to come back with more sneakers and more recently boots which creates a bit of a space problem. As I welcome in new recruits, I often have to say goodbye to old friends, and thus to old stories and experiences. So this series is essentially a mediation on mood and memories.
#1 – Clarks Originals Desert Boot in Brown Leather
Where – Urban Outfitters
When – February 2014
Why – I’ve always wanted a pair of classic Clarks desert boots. Utilitarian yet still chic, they’re perfect for dressing down, or even slightly up. The crepe sole makes for a forgiving stride and the tough leather upper feels like it will weather hundreds of damp and dewy mornings.
Did You Know? – Clarks is a brand synonymous with school shoes in Australia. Every new school year you’d trudge off to your local school shoe reseller, and get measured for a pair of fugtastic black school shoes. Why? I don’t bloody know, maybe it’s a way to make the yoof toe the line (ha) and stop running about or something. So it was to my absolute surprise when I discovered the Clarks Originals range, their history and the cool stuff they were producing. I like my stuff functional yet very urban street in style. So Clarks is definitely up my alley these days, great way to suppress the horrid memories of the school uniforms of yore.
The Bad – Slightly narrow in the forefoot. I got a 0.5 size smaller than my usual because they were the only ones in stock, which has meant a very painful pressure point on the 1st metatasal as the leather bends into the foot during each step. Much disappoint as I will have to wear this pair gingerly until the leather gets broken in.
Photographic Mood – Marlboro man circa 1979.