Growing up (as a sneakerhead) and why I’m moving on from retros … mostly

It was a few weeks ago when the Fab Five documentary aired on ESPN that I felt the motivation to break out my Air Force Max kicks. I’d bought them when they were re-released a few years ago (I want to say 2009, but it might’ve even been ’08 or ’07).  Anyway, I had the day off and was just walking around the Concord Mills Mall, making the rounds at all the sneaker outlet stores like any self-respecting sneakerhead. After about an hour of walking, my feet were killing me. Yes, the Air Force Max is still an a great looking shoe, but to hoop in now? I can’t even imagine it.

In that same run through all of these stores, I grabbed a pair of Zoom Kobe V Del Sols off of the hash wall at the Nike outlet, and there they were for $54.97. I slipped them on, and compared to those Air Force Maxs, they felt like heaven.

It was at that point I had something of a revelation: It’s probably time to grow up (at least as a sneakerhead) and move on from retros. This isn’t to say I’m swearing them off all together. I’ve still got some bucket list shoes (read: the upcoming True Blue IIIs, and basically any of the classic XIs I don’t already own), but for the most part, what’s the point?

If you can put aside nostalgia for a second, and I know that’s a tough thing to do because so much of our adoration is often tied to things we saw growing up with certain sneakers, think about what you’re buying. In many cases, it’s outdated tech and often at a premium price because of others lining up to buy old feelings for their feet.

Some retros carry it well. To this day, Air Max 95s feel good on my feet. Certain Jordans do, but even some of those don’t translate well. Much as I love the Jordan IV because it was my first Jordan, I can honestly say I’m done buying them because the Countdown Pack pair I purchased felt cheap and stiff.

We grow out of all of our other apparel. None of us are still wearing those puffy Apex Jackets with Zubaz pants. (I don’t think I actually ever owned Zubaz, but I definitely had an Apex or Starter jacket, just can’t remember if it was only one or both.) The point is this: don’t be so fixated on the past when this is actually a great time for sneakers. The tech is better than ever, and while the design might not always hit a style you used to like, there’s enough out there that makes it worth giving a try.

And while I’ve got your attention, sorry for the disappearing act of late. No FNL kind of killed my TV writing for the moment. I’ve been kind of static on the sneaker front, but I think there are a few things bubbling up that I’ll get to write in the weeks/months to come, so hang tight. More on the way soon, hopefully.


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