Latest Pickup: UNDFTD x Converse One Star OX

It has been a minute since I posted to the site or written about one of my latest pickups. We’ve spent more time on the YouTube channel lately because my daughters love opening up the pairs we get in and I enjoy sharing that time and experience with them. Have had a piece for this site on “culture” that I’ve started and stopped writing multiple times now so hopefully I can push through and get that one wrapped up and posted. For now, let’s take a look at one our latest pickups: the UNDFTD x Converse One Star OX in olive. Continue reading

What are those worth?

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I see and hear this question a lot in the context of sneakers. “What are those worth?” or “What’s the value?” It is an interesting query that I’ve been thinking about a lot lately. While at first it may seem like a simple request for the monetary value of a pair, to me it can be much deeper than that. Continue reading

Five Questions: George Kiel III

George Kiel III is a man of many talents, and he is very passionate about many things. I’ve had the pleasure of knowing George since 2014 and got to know him even better after he came to my house to film a Sneak Peek for Nice Kicks in early 2015. Since then, George and I have kept in touch and I consider him a good friend and someone I admire for many reasons.

He burst on the scene during his time with Nice Kicks, writing for the site and creating their highest rated original video content including Sneak Peek and Kicks on Court. Through that process, George engaged with the best known athletes, celebrities and artists in the world, and eventually rose to become editor-in-chief. In January of 2015, he formed the Kiel Colon Cancer Foundation to raise awareness and honor his mother who passed from the disease the previous year. The KCCF 3-on-3 basketball tournaments and open gyms have gone national, and the blue knots initiative has grown to include college and professional athletes. Upon leaving Nice Kicks in 2016, Kiel formed coiski.com – an educational digital media platform.

I say it a lot about the people I have interviewed (which may explain why I choose to interview them in the first place) but George is truly one of the nicest and down-to-earth people I know. Despite his continued success across many platforms, he remains grounded and humble. The passion he displays for the KCCF is unrivaled and I’m always happy when I am able to participate or contribute to the their efforts in some way. Thank you, George, for taking the time to answer my Five Questions. Continue reading

Five Questions: Woody from Sneaker Freaker

It seems like every industry or hobby has its go-to source for the latest news and information. For those of us who love sneakers, that publication has to be Sneaker Freaker. Enthusiasts clamor for the latest issue and can’t seem to wait to share pics of upcoming releases first seen in the small-sized, full-color matte pages of the magazine. In a culture crowded with blogs and other online sources for “information and news”, the reality is that most become SkyMall for sneakers with lots of pretty pictures of shoes with little original content or opinion (and no, top 10 lists and “You might be a sneaker head if…” articles don’t qualify). Even in this digital age, the print version of Sneaker Freaker continues to scoop new and upcoming releases regularly. Beyond that, the writing and expanded articles are detailed, thoughtful, informative and entertaining. The man behind the success is none other than Woody, founder and editor since he created SF in 2002. Thankfully I was able to catch up with the man himself to pose my “Five Questions” and naturally his answers were not regular old stock feedback. See for yourself below. Continue reading

“But I thought you didn’t like Jordans…”

Almost without fail, when I post of pic of myself  wearing a pair of Jordans, I am reminded of a comment in my Sneak Peek about my getting away from Air Jordans because the quality has been trash. Some of my most heated replies have been with people who question the fact that I would even consider wearing a pair of His Airness’ sneakers. With All-Star weekend upon us, I’m reminded of my experiences with Jordan releases and the memories that go with them. Continue reading

Latest Pickup: Hanon x Reebok Club C “Claymore”

It has been a while since my last pickup post. I’ve been working on building up the YouTube channel and in the process have neglected the website somewhat. My goal is to get on a better cadence and post an unopening video and follow some of those up with pickup posts here to provide some good detailed shots along with some more thorough opinions on the shoes themselves. It is always hard to give an immediate opinion on the shoe on camera when first opening the box, although I suppose that could be a great indication of a natural reaction. Anyway, time to move on to this shoe… Continue reading

Five Questions: Jake Danklefs

Anyone who has ever looked at a sneaker blog is sure to have seen the work of my latest Five Questions guest, Jake Danklefs. Through his company, Dank & Co., Jake produces 1-of-1 custom shoes for select clients that include professional athletes and celebrities. Often taking a theme from another shoe or from sports and cultural references, Jake works with his clients to establish the overall look of the piece before starting his work on the blank canvas of an existing sneaker. His work is so meticulous and in demand that wait times can be as long as nine months – a timeframe customers are more than happy to wait for his art. I’ve met Jake on several occasions and always enjoy catching up and talking sneakers and life in general. While is talent is indisputable, it is his friendly and approachable personality that I have always appreciated. We thank Jake for his time and hope you enjoy his insights into sneaker culture.
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Five Questions: Jeff Staple

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If you don’t know who Jeff Staple is by now, I hope you will do some research. Jeff’s pigeon theme, which is an ode to New York City, has adorned some of the most well regarded sneaker releases (Pigeon Dunks anyone?) and continues to be the common thread in his clothing and accessories line. As the Founder and Creative Director of Staple Design, Jeff applies his creative skills to corporate clients’ branding needs. His Staple Pigeon brand continues to produce well curated creations and collaborations. The Puma Suede he produced last year was near the top of my favorite pickups for 2016. I was lucky to connect with Jeff for these five questions and I’m thankful for his time and careful and well considered responses.

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Favorite Pickups for 2016

Now that our expert panel has had time to review and debate our favorite releases of 2016 on our YouTube channel, the final decisions have been made. There always seems to be a pair or two that get overlooked or that just missed the cut, but overall this list represents a solid selection of pairs from a variety of brands and different styles that aren’t only runners. Time to roll out the winners.
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YouTube: The Takeover

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After watching so many YouTube sneaker videos, I decided to start my own channel.

I lied – I never watched any of the YouTube sneaker videos but I did start my own channel. New and fresh content coming soon, including a revolutionary new concept for 2017: the sneaker unboxing and review videos. NO ONE has ever done this before so I hope that I am a pioneer in this corner of the YouTube world. Stay tuned for new updates and be sure and subscribe to my channel. Happy New Year to all!

Latest Pickup: Feature x Saucony Courageous “Bacon and Eggs”

Just got these in and I have to say I’m very impressed. I had some concerns about how the shoe would look in person vs. how they looked in promo pics, but Feature did a great job with this release. Also had never worn the Courageous model before and after trying them on for a little while, no complaints here as I found the fit to be true to size and pretty comfortable. Continue reading

Interview: Mr. Sabotage

Introducing a new category to the site with interviews today and I’m going to try and focus on people deep in the culture in one way or another. I thought I’d kick it off as strong as possible so I sat down (via WhatsApp) with Mr. Sabotage aka SBTG. During my last trip to Singapore I was able to visit his studio and talk in person. So many things he said really stuck with me then so I wanted to capture them for a wider audience. Not only is he an extremely talented and successful artist and designer, but he’s also a very humble and kind person. Hoping everyone enjoys this as much as I enjoyed our exchange. Be sure and visit his online shop and pick up your own piece of art.
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Da Da Da (It Got Me Thinking…)

Watching the Chicago Cubs finally win the World Series this year reminded me of the days as a kid watching the Cubbies play day games on WGN with Harry Caray singing “Take Me Out to the Ball Game” during the 7th inning stretch. It also got me thinking more about how differently we consume sports today versus back then, and by extension how we relate to – and sometimes interact with – sports figures. Continue reading

Latest Pickup: Saucony Grid SD Pumpkin Spice

I have to start this post by saying this: I’ve been down on Saucony as a retro brand for some time now. Going back probably two years, the quality had become so bad that even at the $100-120 price point I couldn’t stand it any more. Completely stopped buying pairs from them. Huge glue stains, scratched and inconsistent suede with gashes in the material was happening way too often. Continue reading

On Reebok

As October came to a close, so did the Instagram hashtag #boktober and a whole lot of posts by people all around the world showing their love for the brand with the vector logo. Personally I was not able to complete all 31 days due to a death in the family and a big corporate event we were supporting for work. I think I missed about five days total. Overall it was a fun experience and it got me thinking about Reebok as a brand and my affinity for it. Continue reading

Retrobok: Collector Feature #8

Back in June I was lucky enough to be asked to converse with Retrobok about all things Reebok. Chris does an incredible job with the site and has provided an incredible resource for a look at the brand many of us love – past, present and future. Below is a small excerpt, but click the link to read the full interview and bookmark Retrobok. As usual I talk and write way too much… Continue reading

Move Along (Part II)

Tokyo Mike is back! He’s taken my previous subject of older sneakerheads complaining and added about 5 cups of coffee to it. Love the music analogy – perfect!  Give him a follow on Instagram (@_tokyomike_) if you haven’t already. – SG

I can’t help but put my own personal spin on the subject of “seasoned sneakerheads who simply won’t shut the f*ck up and realize it’s not 1993 anymore.” It’s impossible. Hang on tight because I’m probably gonna let loose this time around.

I’m far from young. I don’t like naps, I NEED them. I’m in the age category where if I felt like taking a dump on the younger generation of sneaker heads for all the usual reasons, I could do it and I’d get a pass from all my brothers and sisters in the game who are in the same age category as me, aka all the old farts who need to hurry up and die. Continue reading

Latest Pickup: Garbstore x Reebok Classic Leather

I’ve written before about how much I enjoy the designs Garbstore come up with for Reebok. When I saw recently they had worked on some Classic Leather pairs, I couldn’t wait. Luckily I received a gift in the mail yesterday and sure enough it was what I think is the best of the bunch.

There have been so many recent releases from other brands drenched in full suede where I could see every imperfection and inconsistency, so at first I was a concerned that these might disappoint. Check the pictures I took (unfiltered iPhone shots) to see how they turned out. Continue reading

Move Along

Generally I try and be a positive person and look at the bright side but sometimes things just really get to me. Especially with sneakers I like to maintain perspective and recognize that sneakers are NOT life. Unfortunately I’m not sure that can be said for everyone these days. There are two particular groups out there in the sneaker community that come to mind. I’ll apologize in advance for my language but sometimes I get fired up. Continue reading

Moving On

Next up for a guest post is someone who probably needs little introduction. Tokyo Mike as he is known, is a peer of mine as far as age but he has many more years than me in the sneaker world. Mike does a good job of providing his background so I’ll skip the formalities. For all the old school whiny collectors complaining about the state of sneakers today, it is refreshing to see Mike appreciate what he got to be a part of at the peak. I’ll have more to say to those sneakerheads soon enough. Give him a follow on Instagram (@_tokyomike_) if you haven’t already. – SG

After 23 long years, I finally packed up my things and left Japan for good. I’d split my time between Japan and Hawaii since 1993 due to a weapons instructor job that bounced me back and forth between the two places. My kids were born in Japan but fell in love with Hawaii at a young age and as much as we loved Japan, we all wanted to get to Hawaii sooner than later.

After that long in one place, thinking about leaving is somewhat of an out of body experience. You daydream about it a lot. Everyone tries their best to picture what things will be like once you’ve moved, but for the most part nothing really makes much sense. Not until you’re somewhat settled in to your new place and have the time to sit back and think about the fact that yes, you’re “gone” now and no, you’re not going back. Continue reading

The Year So Far…

Now that September is almost over and we are 3/4 of the way through the year, I started thinking about what pickups I was most excited about in 2016. The short answer to the question is: not much. But that would make a boring blog post so I’ll go ahead and talk about the pairs that have been standouts for me so far. Of course there are the usual suspects but maybe a few surprises, too. Let’s see what we have here. Continue reading

Why Sneakers?

This is the first of what I hope to be many guest posts by fellow collectors and enthusiasts. Jayme Barkdoll is a thirty-something high school teacher from Alabama. His collection is 75-85 pairs strong, consisting of mostly low profile basketball shoes and retro runners. He has written for online music magazines and academic journals. Give him a follow on Instagram (@jkbarkdoll) and enjoy the read because it is a good one. – SG

I’m not sure if it was turning thirty last year or if it was the cascading stack of shoe boxes in my walk-in closet or if it was my ear-to-ear excitement as I sat in my truck opening that white box from Dover Street Market containing the Vachetta Tan AF1 Mids. Whatever it was, my wife, a woman of unbelievable patience and understanding, asked me the question that I’m sure so many of us have been asked countless times: “Why sneakers?” Continue reading

What happened to the sneaker boutique?

I’ll be the first to admit I’ve only been back buying sneakers for a few years now. Not quite recently enough to be late to the party chasing the hype stuff, but long enough to remember walking into my local shop and being able cop a recent collab released weeks or months before.

There was something special about wandering in on a weekend and seeing those pairs sitting on the shelf, being able to inspect the materials and maybe even try them on. Continue reading

Release Alert: Saucony Originals Grid SD ‘Summer Nights’ Limited Edition

170708_Grid SD - Summer Nights--4It has been a minute since my last post but I wanted to get this one online before the release. There are countless launches each and every weekend from practically every brand out there – retro, new technology, hybrids, collabs – you name it. Every now and then we may feel some connection to a new sneaker because it is from our local shop, or our friend works there or maybe they are simply a sentimental favorite. My excitement for this release comes from a personal connection.

I’ve gotten to know a lot of cool people through sneakers and social media. Well, as much as you can “know” someone through social media. One of those people is Eric Smolin. He and I have had better conversations about the state of sneakers – and the direction of Saucony Originals – via Instagram direct messages than I’ve had with most people in person. Eric works for Saucony Originals and it just so happens this is the first release he worked on from start to finish. Buy it here!

Sometimes I get the impression these shoe companies have armies of people working on designs, PR, and marketing. After talking to Eric, I found that is not that case with Saucony at all. A small group of people is working hard to promote a brand many of us appreciate. So much focus is put on the Nikes and Adidas of the world while at the same time, Brooks recently put their retro program on indefinite hold. It isn’t easy for the smaller companies and especially for their retro divisions trying to keep legacies alive.

I guess what I’m trying to say that I appreciate the effort put in by the “little guy”. Not only am I excited to see my friend have the opportunity to share his creation with the sneaker community, it seemed important to me to do my part to help get the word out. It doesn’t hurt that the shoe is really cool.

Saucony’s description of the shoe: “The Saucony Originals Grid SD “Summer Nights” features Wolverine Silkee Suede on the heel counter, leather accents on the mid foot, Pink 3M toebox and heel counter accent hit, Gold speckled icy outsole & TPU piece, laced with flat Navy waxed laces.”

170708_Grid SD - Summer Nights--2Taking inspiration from the hues of blue, purple, pink, orange & yellow, we’ve created a perfect representation of a Summer sundown. When creating this shoe we heavily relied on nostalgia playing a role in the consumer’s connection to the concept.”

I did not get a pair of these from Saucony so I’ll be trying with the rest of you. I was given a link to share so I’m posting it here. No one asked me to write this article – sometimes an appreciation for hard work and supporting your friend’s accomplishments is reason enough.

Get the shoes here, starting at 9am EST on Friday, July 14, 2017. Limited availability online, sizes US 5M – 12M, 13M & 14M for $120, exclusively from Saucony.com.