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.

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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

 

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7 thoughts on “On Reebok

      • Yes you’re right, they are difficult to find three years after the release, I found out too late, I saw your video of nice kicks and I Find out immediately, it is very difficult now especially for the size and price but it took six pairs and go for four, is very exciting collecting these shoes with the quality of materials, although I started my collection with a new balance 996 now I am very intereseado to increase my reebok classic

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      • That’s awesome. For me that is so much more fun than going through all the BS to get the latest NMD or Ultra Boost or Jordan these days. The memory of the hunt will mean a lot more than the resale value for any of them.

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      • totally agree with you, there are now too expensive sneakers and really with not totally agree with you models, there are now too expensive sneakers and really with not very pretty models that say, you know I live in Peru and this is not a culture of NBA, Nike or jordan, my earliest memories of slippers “classic” were the gazelle adidas or suede puma and npc reebok, here in Peru did not reach many models for the 90s and not to mention the Jordan or Nike that were models of basketball, I’m not fan of those, I think we are a more “urban” culture but now it has become fashionable here shoes for skateboarders, but the classics will always be the best I think.

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  1. I have always looked to try to do something different with shoes that I buy and not follow the masses. I always wore reeboks as a kid mostly pumps or the blacktop basketball shoes but you really opened my eyes to the classic in your Nice Kicks feature. I used to wear the all white classics in high school partially because of the mentions of them in the New Orleans hip hop I was heavily into at the time. I found them to be ideal again at this point in my life due to the high quality materials, comfort and that they are stylish enough to wear for work at times. I really would love to continue building my collection of the Collabs are there any resale resources you can recommend?
    Thanks again for a great post!

    Liked by 1 person

    • That’s cool to hear. Love the connection to the hip hop mentions you brought up. I have a whole list of shops on the homepage and a lot of them carry Reeboks. In particular the overseas shops like Hanon, Foot Patrol, SNS, end, size? and a couple others carry a lot of the nicer CL releases. As far as resale that is tough to say. I have not found any good places other than Klekt where I can pick up older pairs for a decent price. For the most part they just aren’t out there because I think Reebok collectors tend to buy to keep and wear and not to sell. Glad you enjoyed the article and thanks for your comment.

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