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

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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.

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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.

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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.

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Dear Diary #3: Footpatrol x New Balance 1500 “Encyclopaedia”

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I hadn’t been this psyched about a shoe like the Footpatrol x New Balance 1500 “Encyclopaedia” in a long time. The last release to get me this excited was probably the TGWO x New Balance 577 “Autobahn Pack” in October 2013.

I really liked the whole “Encyclopaedia” and “Knowledge is Key” theme – it had an air of sophistication. The inspiration taken from the latest edition of the Encyclopaedia Britannica was executed excellently with the black grain leather and suede and gold stitching.

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The ivory midsole and gum outsole were a great addition for a classy and elegant look. What really sold me on the shoes though were the printed insoles with the anatomy of the foot on them. I know that you can’t see the insoles when you’re wearing the shoes but I really appreciate it when collaborators use them as a canvas to communicate their idea. In this case the diagram played well with the shoes’ motto that “Knowledge is Key” – as pointed out on the inside of the tongue.

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I decide to mix and match the black and gold laces because I couldn’t pick between the two. The black laces look great because they look much more elegant than the glittery gold. However, the gold laces are stiffer and wider and don’t look as sloppy as the formless black ones. Maybe I should look into throwing a set of black waxed laces on them.

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Many people have been complaining about the shape of the New Balance 1500, especially the toe-box. The OG 1500 had more of a wedge-shaped toe while the more recent 1500s to come out of Flimby are a bit rounder towards the front. I don’t mind because the silhouette still looks great and Footpatrol did an awesome job with the collaboration. I’m really happy I was able to get my hands on these!

What are your thoughts on this collaboration? Which laces do you think I should go for? What do you think about the shape of the 1500?

Let me know in the comments below!

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

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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.

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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.

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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.

Flashback Friday #7: Sneakerness Paris 2014

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When I rejoined Sneaker Freaker in July of 2014 I was involved in the operations of Sneakerness, Europe’s largest sneaker convention. While I didn’t play a part in the planning of Sneakerness Paris I was put in charge of organising the website as well as planning Sneaker Freaker’s appearance at the show.

Ironically, I had never been to a Sneakerness convention before even though the arguably most successful Sneakerness takes place in my hometown of Cologne every year since I got into the sneaker game. But somehow I always managed not to be home when it took place.

The plan was to promote and sell the original Sneaker Freaker Magazine in Paris. The idea of creating a special French edition just for the show was also discussed, for which my French skills would have been in demand. Unfortunately the Australians did not approve of the idea and the project was scrapped.

Nevertheless I picked out all of the English magazines we had at the office in preparation for our trip to Paris, as well as stickers, promo pens and other stuff we had lying around the office for our booth.

We left on Thursday 4 September and took the company van to drive to Paris. It took us a little longer than we had liked, having run into traffic, so we were all exhausted when we finally got to the hotel. We had a bit of trouble parking the van, since Paris is not suited for big vehicles, but we eventually found a car park that could accommodate our Fiat Ducato.

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While the hotel was not the best (the bathroom door that couldn’t open without hitting the fixed baggage rack being the mandatory Ibis Hotel imperfection) the neighbourhood was picturesque – it was located by a promenade alongside le Canal de Saint-Denis. The adjacent streets were narrow and filthy, the café on the corner was frequented by French hipsters and the man seated by the canal with a fishing rod next to a sign that said “pêche interdit” (fishing not permitted) was the icing on the cake – beautiful!

The next morning we headed to the Centquatre cultural centre were Sneakerness Paris was going to take place. I was in charge of setting up our booth. The location in the venue was perfect, right where people would make a U-Turn and devote all their attention to our stand.

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On Saturday 6 September the event finally kicked off. Long lines had formed way before the doors were actually opened. Part of the reason was the release of the Sneakerness x Puma XT2 “Parisian Lights” of which 150 pairs would be sold exclusively at Sneakerness Paris. As part of the team I managed to get my hands on a pair. I’ll tell you more about them in my next Sneaker Spotlight.

Our Sneaker Freaker booth turned out to be a great success. Part of our setup was a photo wall where people could take pictures for freebies. An instant photo print machine that would print out polaroids of Instagram posts tagged with #donnedesailes and #sneakernessparis was also close by making our booth a popular destination at Sneakerness Paris.

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Another highlight was the one-of-one SF Flux, a promo sample of the miadidas ZX Flux with a Sneaker Freaker sticker collage photo print upper. Given the Trademark regulations of the miZXFlux App the shoe could not be replicated.

Sneakerness Paris was a wonderful experience. The event itself was massive with the amount of shoes and “hype shit” put on display and offered for sale – mostly for exorbitant price tags that I could/would never pay. I did manage to get some great deals though, like my SPoT x Nike SB Dunk High “Cigars” for Retail and the aforementioned “Parisian Lights”.

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It was great returning to my forbidden city that was the scene for many unpleasant childhood memories – which include missing out on the Star Wars x Adidas Top Ten Low “Droids” – and I look forward to the next one.

Make sure to check back on Sunday for my Sneaker Spotlight on the Sneakerness x Puma XT2 “Parisian Lights”.

Dear Diary #2: Nike SB x Premier Dunk High “Northern Lights”

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My Nike SB x Premier Dunk High “Northern Lights” are my latest pick-up. Obviously the first time I saw the Yeezy 2 “Black/Solar Red” came to mind – the colourway I initially wanted but couldn’t get.

You probably wouldn’t believe me if I told you I was a fan of black, pink and green colourways long before I even knew about Yeezys. But back in the days of the original Need For Speed: Most Wanted I pimped all of my rides like that.

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Seeing that colour combo on a Dunk High meant I had to get my hands on them. I wasn’t sure how I felt about going for a Yeezy-esque colourway. Nike had already played the whole thing out serving up similar looking AF1s and Foams to feed the hypebeasts’ hunger.

Premier did provide a concept for the colourway. They drew their inspiration from Aurora Borealis, also referred to as Northern Lights. The black and grey base served as the night sky, the bright pink on the lining and glowing green outsole as the lights and the 3M speckles as stars.

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But Premier knew what they were doing. While the design was executed very well, I was really thrown off by the gold lace tips. To me they compromised the legitimacy of the entire concept.

Nevertheless, I’m glad I picked these up. The glow in the dark outsole is super dope, almost as good as the real thing.

What’s On My Mind Wednesday #7: Five Releases I Hope to See in 2015

For this week’s WOMMW I am going to share with you five releases I am looking forward to in 2015. Obviously 2015 is going to be here for a while and there are some releases I don’t even know I want until I see them, but here are the five releases I am definitely going to try to get my hands on, should they drop this year.

5. Nike SB Lunar Janoski “Black/Crystal Mint”

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My Nike SB Zoom Janoski “Crystal/Mint” is one of my all time favourites but although I love the look of the straight Zoom sole more, the Lunar Janoski is one of the most comfortable shoes I own. I don’t skate enough to be in a position to evaluate which of the two is actually better to skate in.

Nevertheless I would love to have a Lunar Janoski in the “Black/Crystal Mint” colourway. It is one of the cleanest colour combos there is, which is why I am such a huge fan of the “Tiffany” Dunks.

Disclaimer: The picture above is a concept created in Photoshop.

4. Air Jordan IV “Oreo”

The Air Jordan IV is one of the few models I actually like, despite its bulkiness. While I have been disappointed in the quality of previous Jordan releases the Nike SB x Jordan 1 “Lance Mountain” Pack really raised my estimation of what Jordan Brand is capable of.

The recent release of the Columbia IVs was the first in Jordan Brand’s remastered programme and the leather, while not as buttery as my “Lance Mountains”, was certainly an improvement from past releases. I expect the “Oreos” to be just as good.

There isn’t much you can say about the basic colourway – black upper, white speckled midsole and light grey accents – but together, especially with that black tumbled leather, the shoes look awesome and I am very much looking forward to picking this up when they drop some time in February.

3. Nike Dunk High CMFT “Red October”

Mostly, I will be getting these as a consolation for having missed out on the real deal last year but also because I am a huge fan of the Dunk. And not only that but they actually look like they were executed really well – the 3D-print on the collar and the mesh on the toe-box and mid-panel looks on point. Let’s hope the outsole glows in the dark.

I’m not sure what to think of the gold aglets though, as I do have issues with them on my “Wolf Grey” Yeezy 2s (as outlined here). But maybe I won’t run into the same issues if I just get these in my size.

These are scheduled to release in the fall so I hope the hype will have died down by then and they turn out to be an easy pick-up.

2. Adidas x Kanye West

I am not ashamed to admit I am big fan of Kanye West and I really appreciate his work, even though I don’t always agree with everything he does.

I don’t know what to expect of his upcoming releases for Adidas and I know for sure that I am not going to pick up everything he releases with the three stripes just because he put his name on them. But I am very much looking forward to seeing what he has been working on for the past year and a half.

1. Nike Mag

A no-brainer for number one – sneakerheads have been waiting for an official release of the Nike Mag since 1989 when Marty McFly power-laced these up in “Back to the Future II”. Only a select few were able to get their hands on the ebay auctions for the Michael J. Fox Foundation in 2011.

Tinker Hatfield designed this shoe for Universal Studios back in the day and he recently announced that his team was working on bringing us the Nike Mag with power laces this year. We’ll have to wait and see if he can deliver, but even if they don’t manage to bring us Power Laces this year I would still appreciate any kind of release.

And if they do I will try everything to get a pair on release. I don’t care if I have to camp for a week – for these shoes I would go the extra mile. And I will be keeping a “Nike Mag Fund” ready for when that day comes around.

What releases are you looking forward to in 2015? Let me know in the comments below!

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

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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.

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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.