I had a lunch appointment at BJs Bar and Grill at Tanforan the other day. I had originally planned on going early to get a massage beforehand but they were busy so I had an extra 30 minutes to kill. I walked around the mall and dropped into the Foot Locker and saw a pair of Air Jordans that were very popular when I was a kid. I looked at the price tag and at $140 I decided not to buy.
But the thought remained in my mind that I really would like to have those shoes and I enjoy things from my childhood and they wouldn’t be on re-release forever. However, at that price I would probably catch a bit of grief from the wife, especially since we have to buy plane tickets to Japan and property taxes are coming up.
Well, after a business meeting the other day I decided to go buy those shoes. I went back to that same Foot Locker and asked if they had a size ten. The employee let me know that what I had in hand was the kids version and they didn’t have them in size 10. I asked about other locations and was able to find a pair at Serramonte so that’s where I went. They had one pair of size 10s left, one shoe being used for the display. I asked the employee to go get the other one and then received a shock when I looked at the price. The kids version was $140, the adults version was $190. I gulped and had thoughts of just leaving the store.
But the urge to finally have those shoes, which I had been waiting many years for a re-release was too strong. I’m 41 years old and am very frugal with money so I shouldn’t have to worry too much about “getting into trouble,” with one purchase of overly expensive shoes right? How silly is that? And I had prepared. For the first time ever I created a little ‘slush fund’ simply by taking out my Ohio bank account from the Mint.com overview which contains all our accounts and the wife has an eagle eye on. I’ve had my Ohio account ever since I was old enough to be able to open an account at age 18. It doesn’t have much money in it and will be nice to not have the wife see every little thing I buy. Again, I’m 41 for God’s sakes, I need some freedom!! 🙂
But to the point of this post, I’d like to talk about the shoes of the 90s. The early 90s where the first time that kids sport shoes got really expensive. Suddenly, instead of spending $20 on a pair of Converse, all the kids wanted shoes created for some NBA basketball player that cost over $100! The most popular of course being Michael Jordan’s Air Jordan shoes. One hundred dollars was simply an outrageous price for the time but the kids, including myself, wanted them so badly that eventually many parents gave in.
This is a picture of my elementary school’s 8th grade basketball team in 1991. The footwear is rather impressive with two pairs of , Air Jordan 5s, two pairs of Reebok pumps and then a smattering of other Nike shoes.
Now the rule in grade school was that you could not get the same shoes as another boy, especially when they were these fancy, expensive shoes. The shoes you had on your feet were a statement, and they made you ‘cool.’ So another kid in your class having the same shoes as you was an infringement on a guys identity!
Now, the Air Jordans were locked up with two of the boys having the Air Jordan 5s but of different colors. I have the Reebok Pump SXT shoes on. In order to find a clear picture of the shoes I had to take a good look at the shoes in the basketball picture and just today realize that they were not basketball shoes at all but cross-trainers. They even have a barbell on the pump!
I imagine I either had preferred cross trainers or I couldn’t buy the basketball Pump shoes because Matt (the kid kneeling in the front) already had them and I had to follow the rule of nobody having the same shoes.
One thing I’ll always remember is that your feet couldn’t breathe with those things pumped up and your feet would get very sweaty. I also remember how we would all take such good care of our shoes and even spray them with that “protectant” kids still try to sell you sometimes at the mall. I imagine the chemicals in those bottles weren’t and still aren’t very good for your health. I sprayed it all over my Reebok Pumps SXT.
Now that those kids in 1991 are midlife, marketers have realized that they should ‘re-release’ the shoes and many of us would buy for nostalgic reasons and spend a good bit on them too! It was in 2008 when I first saw a re-release of the Air Jordan 6 shoes at the Nike store on Union Square. I had to have them but to be honest, haven’t worn them very much since then as they seem just so big on my feet. I think they cost around $120 – $150 at the time.
I had the Air Jordan 6s sometime between ’92 and ’94 and they were also awesome. The third and final pair of shoes I had during my teenage years were the Nike Air Max Speed Turf shoes. That is quite a long name for shoes! I also purchased the re-release of these around 2010 but one side of them were very hard and hurt my feet. In retrospect I shouldn’t have bought them since there was a flaw somewhere, but through sheer will and determination I wore them until they softened up. Again, they just seem so big on my feet so I haven’t worn them in years.
In 2015 Reebok (now owned by Adidas!) re-released the Pump shoes under the ZPump brand. I bought these shoes (ZPump Fusion Running) as well and wore them quite a bit. Unfortunately the purchase didn’t excite me as much as my original Pumps and I didn’t even buy the spray! I did wear these shoes quite a bit though but sadly the pumps no longer pump. The shoes seemed rather flimsy compared to the originals and I think the actual pumps only lasted for a few months before it gave out.
I don’t even think they looked very good but it was the nostalgia that kept me wearing them.
And so, with last weeks purchase of the Air Jordan 5s I think my purchasing of shoes which bring me nostalgia is complete.
Actually, my favorite brand of shoes is Asics Gel Cumulus 16. I love these shoes so much I’ve bought three pairs in different colors. They’re also not cheap but $110 is a lot better than $190.
I keep them loosely tied so I can just slip them on and off. They are extremely comfortable. My favorite color is red since it goes with all my Ohio State University gear. They last forever and are relatively easy to clean.
We’ll see if I end up wearing the Air Jordan 5s much. To be honest, just like in grade school I’m a bit hesitant to wear them the first time and get them dirty! But unlike grade school I also now have a wife who, not having seen those shoes before, will ask questions! I think I’ll wait until after the Japan plane tickets are bought and property taxes are paid. For now, they lie safely behind the shoe box curtain with the backs of them blending in quite nicely with my other shoes.
It is nice to have a complete set of shoes from my youth, both that I actually had and had wanted but couldn’t buy due to the aforementioned rule. I am content!