Tell me about the one pair of shoes from your collection you could not live without
Neon 95s. I don't think there is a more comfortable, better constructed sneaker than the Air Max 95. The air in the heel and forefoot makes it super comfortable. The blend of mesh and suede gives you premium materials with durability. The neon and hit of 3M makes the shoe pop. All of the ingredients to make a great sneaker. My friend's older brother had a pair back in '03. I hadn't really paid attention to 95s until I saw his pair. It was a wrap after that.
How did you obtain them?
I purchased my first pair of neon 95s around '03 from Athlete's World in the Eaton Centre. I purchased my most recent pair from Capsule. Shoutout to the Capsule crew!
What were some influences that led you to collect sneakers?
When I was growing up, every superstar athlete had a signature sneaker: Michael Jordan, Patrick Ewing, Penny Hardaway, Chris Webber, Bo Jackson, Dion Sanders, Andre Agassi, etc. They're all classic shoes that still retro to this day. My older brother was into sneakers too and he'd always wear a fresh pair, so that inspired me to save some money so I could buy a new pair too. Music is another influence. Like music, sneakers bring you back to a certain time and place in your life. Anyone into sneakers can relate to that.
Walk us through your ideal collaboration
Why not stick with the Air Max 95? Collaborating with Nike to create my own 95 would be a dream come true. I'd go with a white midsole, black sole, premium burgundy suede base with dark grey to light grey suede fade, white mesh upper, burgundy and white accents, burgundy swoosh and lace loops, 3M hit on the back, white laces with an extra grey and burgundy pair because we enjoy extra laces. For now I guess Nike ID will do.
Are there any sneakers that stick out in your mind from your childhood?
Lots. Nike zoom flights, Nike Shox (word to VC), Nike Air Uptempos, Air Force 1s, Air Max 90s, Retro 3s, Adidas Superstars, Converse Weapons, Saucony Shadows. Those are some pairs I had growing up.
Was there a pair of sneakers you remember growing up that you were not able to afford?
Jordan retro 11s in '96. My Mom bought me this reversible Nike jacket with an actual air bubble swoosh on the back of it. I wanted the 11s so bad I begged her to buy them for me, but she wasn't having it. She was all about the Champion's Choice and New Balance sneakers from Biway. Got that Nike jacket though!
What's your most recent pickup?
N9000 Purple Tapes. I'm a huge fan of hip hop. The Purple Tape is one of my favorite albums of all time. Diadora, Packer and Raekwon really did an amazing job with this sneaker. They incorporated so many great ideas such as the different shades of purple, side 1 and side 2 and a track list insole. This one is a must have.
What’s one grail that continues to elude you?
Stash AM 95s. I had an opportunity to grab a pair locally a few years back, but I slept. Recently, I was able to pick up another grail that I originally missed out on - the Jordan 1 Low End Theory. A Tribe Called Quest is my favorite hip hop group, and Jordan 1s are one of my favorite silhouettes, so I needed those.
The Neon 95 was recently retroed again. Did you grab a pair and what are some differences you've noticed?
Yeah, I grabbed a pair. Some of the differences from the 2012 pair, from what I can see, are that they went back to the cotton material for the sock liner. They chose a neon insole instead of white, the accent colors on the tongue are reversed, they added the PSI details to the sole and they brought back the OG air max box. I have no complaints about the 2015 release.
Lastly, how do you feel about this shoe retroing multiple times?
I actually like that they add/change small details when they retro a sneaker. As long as the changes aren't significant enough that they change the look or feel. With this being the 20th anniversary of the air max 95, it was only right that Nike released the neon in its original form. Nike can put these to bed for a few years though. If they retro in 2020, I should've went through one or two of the four pairs I have on ice, so it'll be time for a re-up.