by July 21, 2010

Originally published in KICKS 2, 1999…

Sneaker Pimps: Hello. My name is Russ, and I’m addicted to sneakers.

Seventy-something pairs spill out of my apartment, but still I need more. And whether it’s outbidding for a pair of 20-year-old Converse Weapons on eBay, or racing to Dr. Jay’s to get the latest color Air Max Uptempo SC, I don’t resist. I just feed the addiction. And make it stronger.

Back in high school, I shared a class with a kid who worked at Athlete’s Foot. Part of his job involved taking the garbage out to the dumpster, and every time he did, he’d stash a pair of shoes out back to retrieve later. Naturally, he had the hottest shoes in school-Air Jordan II’s, New Balance Worthys, Converse ERX-300s, Reebok 6500s. All the bangin’ 80s stuff.

Now, that story doesn’t really connect to anything, except that it came back while researching the photos that appear in First Step (pages 11-14). Hours of squinting at grainy slides, trying to figure out what exactly ‘Nique was doing in Brooks and why James Worthy’s feet weren’t in focus in any of his photos, made me remember shoes I never had, as well as ones I did. Hopefully you’ll experience some of the same memories.

And just in case the old stuff brings back bad memories (or you’re a lot younger than I am) the new stuff is hot, too. I still get hyped when I see a new shoe in Foot Locker or on the street, and the On Court (page 68) and Off Court (page 80) sections in here oughta get you amped for the Holiday ’99 and Spring 2000 lines. As a matter of fact, the Air Jordan XV (page 79) might do that all by itself.

Bottom line: if sneakers are cool, a whole magazine dedicated to them must be off the meter. We think it is. And if you come across a pair of purple-yellow-and-white Worthy’s in a 9.5, don’t hesitate to give me a call.

Russ Bengtson