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
Even though I tried to take it a bit easier these summer holidays, I still managed to pack in 3 crazy interstate trips, the first of which was a road trip with my high school bestie and her other half to the 12 apostles along the Great Ocean Road in Victoria. It was the first time I’ve ever hired a car and the first time I’ve ever undertaken that amount of driving. The trip was epic and really made me appreciate the rugged desolation of Australia’s untamed coastline. It was also the first time that I really tried my hand at some landscape photography. Although I was severely disappointed as the sun ducked behind heavy clouds in the last hour or so of golden light at the 12 apostles, I still managed a couple of good shots, still a lot to learn though.
My 2nd trip saw me head to Brisbane for some tennis and to my absolute suprise, I also discovered that Brisbane has one of the coolest art museum complexes in Australia. I was mighty impressed with QAGOMA and in particular the Falling Back to Earth exhibit by Cai Guo Qiang. My partner in crime and I also discovered yummy delights in the QAGOMA cafe in between our bouts of tennis fueled glee courtside at the Brisbane International. It was my first time shooting tennis with my new 5D MKiii and Canon 70-200mm F4L IS combo, and along with eliciting camera envy from those around me (and possible annoyance as well), it was awesome getting the results in lowlight and with ISOs of 3200. It makes it insanely hard to go back to crop sensors now however my wallet is still screaming distress.
And of course my last trip was to be my yearly pilgrimage to the Australian Open in Melbourne once again. Of course the main reason was to stalk Roger Federer and watch him play/practise (after all how many more years is he going to play right?) but I was more relaxed about my photography this time round. I didn’t shoot every match I saw, I tried to be a little different, perhaps a little more artistic this year. I wanted to get closer and capture more emotion…some black and whites even crept into the final mix. Overall I was balled over once again by the new camera/lens combo and I hope one day I can get accreditation to just get even a bit closer and personal to really capture those intimate shots.