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.
Not many people know or remember that from the mid-80’s to the early 90’s, Reebok was a force to be reckoned with and a steady rival to Nike. After the workout craze of the early 80’s and the rise of the brand worldwide, Reebok began their push into the U.S. and professional sports in particular. It went from a U.K.-based regional company to a global superstar.
My first recollections of Reebok would have t0 be the classic Freestyle and then the Workout or Workout Plus. The incredible white leather and the very unique logo with the Union Jack stood in contrast to the prominent swoosh of Nike and star and chevron of Converse. The first pair I really wanted has to be the ACT 600. The soft white leather with the red and blue curved stripes along the side and that cool British flag logo really set them off. It didn’t hurt that some of the cool older kids at school were starting to wear them too.
While I never got a pair of the ACT 600 until this year, I do remember that my first pair of Reeboks was the Dee Brown Pump D-Time. It was a mostly black shoe and stood out from most of the Nike/Jordan pairs my friends and teammates were wearing at the time. Pretty sure it was an off-season shoe I wore for pick-up games but I liked them quite a bit. Unfortunately by that point we were forced to buy whatever pair the coach dictated and it was always Nike. A few years later I got my next pair of Reeboks and that was the Pump Vertical, worn by Shawn Kemp among others. The Shamu looking shoe was cool to look at but if I recall was pretty uncomfortable.
A lot of time passed before I purchased my next pair of Reeboks – almost 20 years actually. In 2013 the brand began releasing pairs to commemorate the 30th anniversary of one of its most iconic silhouettes: the Classic Leather. I had only recently gotten back into buying sneakers and in particular runners. Something about the first pair I got – the Burn Rubber release – really spoke to me. Not sure if it was the high grade leather, the unique bluish-green hue, the bag full of laces, or the “GOD” and “FAMILY” stamped on each shoe, but I was hooked.
I really think it was the classic style of the shoe that caught me, although I had honestly never paid attention to it in the previous 30 years. Before I knew it I was gobbling up each and every release from shops around the world and reading up on the next release and the story behind the design. I’ve always been a collector. Whether it was baseball cards or Star Wars figures, I had to have the full set. That set completion bug kicked in big time and before I knew it I had what I consider to be the entire series.
Since then I’ve continued to purchase Reebok collabs and other releases, but I have to say the thrill of the hunt isn’t there. By my last count about a third of my collection consists of Reebok runners and court shoes – including Classic Leather, Ventilators, Club C, Phase 1, Workout Plus, and few variations of those models. I’ve mentioned in previous posts, but I particularly enjoy what Garbstore has been doing with many of these models with their higher end twist on materials and colorblocking.
As October came to a close it got me thinking about how boring it would be for me to wear only one brand all the time. Variety is the spice of life they say and I have to agree. At the same time, my affinity for Reebok has never been stronger and if I had to choose today it would be the one brand I would give my vote. If I could go back to that Sneak Peek and answer the question about what brand and what shop I would like to do a collab with, I would have to say Reebok and either Burn Rubber or Hanon.
It is unfortunate that we in the U.S. do not get as many of the quality retro releases from Reebok, other than the Iverson pairs, which I’m not particularly a fan of buying or wearing. The current trend in sneakers also seems to be a move to signing “artists” rather than athletes to produce signature shoes, and Kendrick, Cam’ron and Future are in the Reebok stable. In the end I can be content with the collection I have now – in particular that Classic Leather Anniversary pack – but I’m sure there is always something around the corner that I will have to have. Just like that ACT 600 pair I waited 30 years to get.