Sneaker Spotlight #10: Asics Gel Lyte III “Burger”

IMG_0520

My Asics Gel Lyte III  “Burger” Custom is far from original. It’s not hard to tell where I got the idea from if you know a little bit about sneakers. The End Clothing x Saucony Shadow 5000 is probably the most prominent Saucony collaboration, and there were a lot of them recently. I really liked the concept and the execution of the whole project but I wasn’t a huge fan of the silhouette and decided to pass.

I thought about doing a custom to pay homage to the design but I wasn’t sure which shoe to use. When I saw the Asics Gel Lyte III “Honey Mustard” from the “Outdoor Pack” I knew I had my base. I decided to wait until the shoes went into clearance so I wouldn’t have to worry as much about messing up the shoe.

IMG_0526

Lucky for me I got a pair for free when I attended an Asics Event in London in February. The event celebrated the launch of Asics Tiger as well as the Gel Lyte III’s 25th anniversary. I also had the opportunity to interview the designer of the GLIII, Shigeyuki Mitsui (which you can read here though only in German).

I still had some Angelus leather paint over from my last custom and decided to use that on suede rather than getting suede dye. It ended up looking better than on my “Heritage” customs (you can read about them here) because I didn’t have to use as many layers of paint but the suede does lose its soft touch if you don’t dilute the paint.

IMG_0555

I used dark red on the mid-panel for the meat, green on the heel for lettuce and pink on the Asics strings and laces for bacon. The rest of the already wheat upper acted as the burger bun.

As I mentioned before this idea wasn’t original. I used an already existing design and put it on a different shoe but it gave me a chance to work on my customising skills and try out a few things that I can use in future projects.

Sneaker Spotlight #9: Nike LeBron XI “What the LeBron”

IMG_0479

The LeBron XI is my favourite new silhouette to release since I started taking an interest in sneakers. I love its futuristic shape and the way the upper is cut like a diamond but my love for this shoe goes much further than aesthetics.

The technology that Nike incorporated into the shoe was the best of everything the Innovation Kitchen had at their disposal at the time – Flywire, Armorposite, Hyperfuse. The sole even features both Lunarlon and a full-length Zoom Air unit.

IMG_0481

It makes the LeBron XI one of the most comfortable shoes I own – well, most of the time anyway. Sometimes, if I hadn’t worn them in a while they would be really uncomfortable at first and I would have to break them back in.

The colourway made these a must-cop for me. I am a huge fan of loud and mismatched pairs and this one was screaming at me with its 28 colourways from past LeBron releases all mashed into one.

IMG_0489

I had committed to the “King’s Pride” when the shoe first dropped and passed on many other great colourways because I don’t like owning multiple pairs of one silhouette. I only make that exception for packs and Nike SB Dunks. But I really wanted the What the LeBron XIs – especially since I struck out on the What the Kobe VIIIs – so I sold them to finance my purchase, which was also necessary considering the krass £180 price tag. Now I can enjoy all the great colourways I missed out on like the “Miami Nights”, “South Beach” and the “Fruity Pebbles”.

IMG_0492

You might be able to tell that there’s quite a bit of scuffing on the left heel. I actually skated to work in these the day I got them. I don’t know why but it seemed like a good idea at the time. To be fair my “King’s Prides” had been my beaters and bad weather shoes up to that point and the LeBron XI is fairly easy to clean any way. But unfortunately I was never able to get the scuff marks out that my deck had left.

So if anyone has any tips on how to get scuff marks off sneakers let me know in the comments below!

Sneaker Spotlight #8: Nike SB Dunk High “Skunk”

IMG_5485

The Nike SB Dunk High “Skunk” demonstrates why I have so much love for what Nike SB used to do with the Dunk. While Nike SB occasionally delivers the odd original concept, they rarely compete with what we used to see on the regular back in the day.

Graphic artist Todd Bratrud designed this weed-inspired colourway, using different shades of green and purple to portray the intensely aromatic cannabis strain. What makes this shoe so dope is the stash pocket in the tongue. I’m not a stoner and I certainly would never carry my own weed on me (word to Biggie). Imagine getting busted by the one sneakerhead cop, who knows about it. But I always appreciate the fact that it’s there, mainly because it makes sense.

IMG_5497

The stoned skunk on the insole is another dope detail. As is the hairy texture of the suede, that makes these joints look extra frosty – another example of how this was fantastically executed.

Considering that these are very hard to get a hold of, let alone for a fair price, I came across a pretty sweet deal on ebay. It was a bit of a gamble, since they were a size US 10. Usually I wear a US 10.5 and Dunks tend to run a little tight, but I was fiending for these. I didn’t mind that they had been worn and came without the box and purple laces, I just wanted them in my life.

IMG_5489

The seller had cleaned the shoes with Jason Markk, which I generally approve of, but he had used a little too much water. This meant that the suede ended up looking a little faded.

Nevertheless, I don’t regret my purchase as the shoes fit just fine and I plan on wearing them anyway. I did buy myself a pair of purple replacement laces though. They look a lot better to me than the green pair.

Sneaker Spotlight #7: Sneakerness x Puma XT2 “Parisian Lights”

IMG_5704

The Sneakerness x Puma XT2 “Parisian Lights” is (with exception of my one-of-one customs) the rarest sneaker I own. Only 150 pairs were sold at Centquatre 10 to mark the inaugural edition of Sneakerness Paris in 2014, though I believe there are a few more friends & family pairs.

Some of you may think that you’ve seen this shoe at your local sneaker store before. In fact this shoe is a special make-up of the all black XT2 from Puma’s “Snow Splatter Pack”. The only difference is the embossed “Sneakerness Paris” across the heels and the drapeau tricolore on the insole.

IMG_5707

Other than that the SMU features the same buttery, black leather upper with an American schoolbook 3M-Print on the majority of it to act as the “Parisian Lights”.

So why didn’t I just get the general release, which is now on sale everywhere? I can assure you that it wasn’t the hype or the fact that there were only 150 pairs, I don’t care about that with any of my shoes.

IMG_5711

It was more the opportunity to buy a shoe that would remind of this awesome weekend I had at my first Sneakerness in Paris and my time with Sneaker Freaker. Just like my Yeezys these shoes will forever be connected to the memory of how I came about getting them.

Sneaker Spotlight #6: Nike SB x Jordan I “Lance Mountain Black”

DSC_0608a

Today I am proud to present to you my favourite shoe of 2014: The Nike SB x Jordan I “Lance Mountain” Black.

I haven’t had the best experiences with Jordan Brand in the past (Spiz’ike “Bordeaux”, Son of Mars “Olympic”), the quality in particular. The Jordan I and XI are the only models that I find aesthetically appealing. I find the rest to be too bulky.

Nike SB had already done a Jordan I crossover that year. While I really like the Jordan I silhouette (very similar to the Dunk) I didn’t like the way the shoe turned out. But when Nike showed us the “Lance Mountain” Pack I knew I had to get my hands on them.

The pack consisted of two mismatched Jordan I Black/Red and Black/Royal with the signature SB padding covered in a white or black layer of paint. You could either wear a mismatched pair with both black or white top layers and one Bred and one Royal underneath or a pair of Breds or Royals, one white and one black.

I didn’t like the white pairs much. They looked weird once the paint wore off and the black base became visible. It would have been better if they had had a white base, like the Chicagos but there is no other pair that you could mismatch them with as well as Breds and Royals.

IMG_0141

I planned to go only for the black joints. I asked City Surf whether they would get them but they wouldn’t know until a week before they released. I don’t even know if they got them because I was in Cologne when they dropped but I was surprised that my local skate shop there didn’t get them. After all they did get the Tiffany’s and I believe the first Nike SB x Jordan crossover too. So my best chance was getting them online at NikeStore.

My expectations weren’t particularly high since my other attempts at online releases like the Tiffanys, the Grand Anses and the Autobahn Nights failed. But these turned out to be an easy cop. There was no Twitter link so I used the search box to get to them, added them to my cart and checked out. IMG_0147

The shoes arrived in the mail three days later. I had been let down by the quality of the Tiffanys and most Jordan releases I had seen in store so I was pleasantly surprised by the shoes’ premium leather upper. I was even more surprised by the comfort of the shoe, another category that recent Jordans that I had tried don’t excel in. The padding felt much more comfortable than any of my Dunks.

While most sneakerheads reached for the Acetone the second they got their pairs I wanted to wear the colour off in the way it was intended. To make the most of the shoes and the idea behind them I decided to buy a skateboard with my first pay check.

No Comply 180 (almost) This what I kept trying to do in Leeuwarden @brianyankah @kngjns

A post shared by Maximilian Fritsche (@max_the_black) on

I wear these shoes a lot because they are meant to be beat up. I wear them, skate them and expose them to Cardiff’s atrocious weather. All of this gives them a unique look.

Sneaker Spotlight #5: Nike SB Dunk Mid “4711” a.k.a. “Peacock”

cologne dunk

To celebrate the move of Sneaker Freaker from the 4711-Haus in Ehrenfeld I am going to focus today’s Sneaker Spotlight on the oldest pair in my rotation: The Nike SB Dunk Pro Mid “Peacock” aka “4711”.

These released back in 2007 (not that old really…) as part of the “Gentleman’s Pack” consisting of an “Old Spice” Dunk Low, a “Brut” Dunk High and the aforementioned “4711”. They are all inspired by the fragrances of the same name. 

My dad brought these to my attention shortly after I started getting into sneakers. Hailing from Cologne, where the famous Kölnisch Wasser originated from, these were a must-cop for me.

While the 4711 Kölnisch Wasser was not the first Eau de Cologne it is arguably the most famous. The original factory at Glockengasse Nº 4711, which gave the fragrance its name, is a popular tourist attraction.

I find it odd that the shoe is more commonly known as the “Peacock Dunk” rather than the “4711 Dunk” because all the other shoes in the pack are named after the fragrances that inspired their design. But it is easy to see why: the black peacock motif from the 4711 bottle is prominent on the shoe’s upper.

I stumbled across these on ebay in 2013. They were in US 10 and wasn’t sure if they would fit because I had heard that SB Dunks run a little small because of the extra padding. Nevertheless I pulled the trigger on them for $150 because there was only one other pair on ebay at the time and they were listed for $329.99.

I’m not the biggest fan of the Dunk Mid, mostly because of the strap, but the colourway and inspiration won me over. So I am very happy I managed to get my hands on these.

Sneaker Spotlight #4: Nike Air Yeezy 2 “Wolf Grey/Pure Platinum”

IMG_5244

In my last blog post I told you what I had to do in order to get my hands on these (read about it here). Now I am going to tell you what these shoes mean to me.

Even though I said that the Nike SB Zoom Janoski is my favourite silhouette, my Yeezys are without a doubt my favourite shoes in my rotation. It’s less about the actual shoe itself but rather what it means to me.

IMG_5238

As I mentioned in my last blog post these shoes will forever be connected to many memories. These obviously include the camp out, which was a lot of fun and a unique experience, but also my graduation. I wore my Yeezys to all of my final exams, the graduation ceremony and my prom. The same applies for my driver’s licence as I wore them to both the theoretical and practical part of my driving test.

Another factor in why I love this shoe is that Kanye West designed the shoe. Alongside Kendrick Lamar he is my favourite artist. And I’d be lying if I said the limited availability didn’t make the shoe more desirable to me. However, I am certain that if they had been available in larger quantities and designed by Kanye West I would still have bought them.

IMG_5334

But the shoe itself is really nice. It is one of the most comfortable shoes that I own and the materials are pretty on point. I also like the way Kanye incorporated his inspiration by Egyptian mythology into the shoe with Horus on the tongue, the hieroglyphs on the strap and the Obelisk aglets, which make it extremely difficult to tie the laces (as I will detail in my next blog post). And let’s not forget the glow-in-the-dark outsole, that is even harder to capture with an iPhone camera than tying the laces in a way that doesn’t come undone.

I am firm believer in “rock ’em, don’t stock ’em”. I wear all of my shoes which is why I refer to them as my rotation rather than calling it a collection. When I first got my Yeezys I wore them at least once a week.

IMG_5318

Two and a half years later it really shows with the creases on the toe box, the cracking paint on the midsole and the foggy air unit. I don’t care how much the shoes are worth because I paid retail for them and at the end of the day they are just shoes.

And a wise man once said:

“It’s good to be caring, but shoes are for wearing!”

Do you agree with this? Do you own Yeezys and if so do you “rock ’em” or “stock ’em”?

Let me know in the comments below.

IMG_5298