Posted by Iain Russell on

Let's chat about shoes. Footwear enables so much of our lives we completely overthink it. I find so much inspiration from footwear. The hours I’ve spent thinking about getting a shoe to refreshing a webpage at a certain time to get a shoe. I have always loved the stories that our clothing hold. I wanted to take a step back and look at the shoes I have. Some could be considered part of collection others get worn daily but they all have been worn and loved.
Nike React 87 Nike React 87 

We can start things off with two pairs of the same style. The Nike React was launched in 2018 and the term react is a reference to a new type of foam sole being used for running shoes. The 87 models so far seem to refer to a translucence fabric being used for construction and the variant of the react sole being used is also being shared by the react 85 models and the react chukka boots. I love the translucent construction and they really do take on different tones depending on what colour you socks you are wearing. I have always appreciated Nike’s innovation and the react 87’s are just continuing to tell that story.

Engineered Garments Adidas Ultraboost 

One of my favourite brands meets a shoe I’ve never actually worn. I have always chosen flyknits over prime knits mostly due to the lower price point when models are compared. Even this model was really expensive but it is a really special shoe that was extremely well executed. Generally when Engineered Garments approaches a collaboration they generally keep things simple. On this they look to provide simple contrast over each shoe. The flips go from subtle to in your face. The three stripes are shown in 4 different colours in each place they can be. If you look closely the knit pattern of the shoes are reverses on each shoe a slight detail that will rarely get picked up by any casual observer. The heal caps and other details are changed from right to left shoe. This also was the first time an ultra boost was completed with a gum sole. All in all a very well done collaboration. And I will say ultra boosts might just be the most comfortable all around shoe available.
Nike Flyknit Mariah

I was on a trip for work and only packed three pairs of shoes and really just wanted a pair of sneakers to wear. I was able to pick these up on an end of season clearance. For a few months I was wearing them laced up like a normal person. And then one day I realized that hey these laces don’t really do anything and the construction is one piece. I removed the laces and found myself with a shoe I liked wearing a lot more. I also love this somewhat classic colour way with the orange, blue, and purple, over an off white knit.
Raf Simmons Adidas Slides 

Ahhh shout out to my man Eric Chu on these. I had never owned a pair of slides. And long story short a pair of CDG chuck taylors destroyed my feet on a work trip. Eric was like ohh I got ya brother and grabbed me a pair of Adidas slides to wear. I knew I needed to pick up a pair and you only live once right… I was so stoked to grab a pair of the Adidas X Raf Simmons slides. They feature a jet/ aircraft like writing on each slide one says “this side up” the other says “Hold Firmly" with an arrow. My love of process design makes these touches just that much more special to me. And with me working from home these are one of my main work shoes for the warmer months of the year.
Vans Vault Classic 

I fucking love Vans vault slip ons. Once you find out that Vans makes a version of the slip on that not only has a better insole but also a back heal that won't completely rip your ankles to complete shreds. Where a standard slip on retails for around $60 the vault models will generally be 90$ but they are worth ever penny. 2018 saw a completion of a classic og checkerboard. Theses are my daily wearing shoe throughout fall and winter. I have also been painting in them as I don’t mind if they get a little fucked up.
Vans Vault Inside Out

Did I say I fucking love Vans vault slip ons. Well ya… I saw the pre release photos of these and was like well fuck going to need these. As has been shown already I love a shoe that messes up a standard model. I loved the idea of the slip on flipped. The size tags are shown where they would be and the inside is completed in the checkerboard pattern. Due to the colour I’ve been a little afraid to wear these as I just really love them. But a super fun shoe to have in the collection.
Viberg Boots 

Ahhhhhh yes. My first pair of Vibergs which I got back in 2012 or maybe 2013 time is hard… I have been so lucky to know the wonderful folks over at Viberg boots and their products are second to none. Being able acquire something built so close to home and built so well is special. These boots have gotten me through so much. They have seen some intense real world wear in east coast winters. They’ve seen the rains and sands of the west coast. This model was a sample completed for use in a Nigel Cabourn look book to pair with one of the Everest parkas although this version wasn’t chosen for the shoot that did mean they ended up in my hands. They do need to be resoled as I have worn down the soles in a big way but they are an amazing boot.
Birkenstock Boston 

Ahh yeah mess with some briks ya knowww. I really need to just get another pair of these as I truly fucked these ones up. But if you have never own a pair of birkenstock’s and have any foot issues you are crazy for not just wearing these and calling it a day. Im a huge fan of some wool socks and Boston's. There might not be much better. And in a fashion sense kind of makes an interesting platform to work from.

Nike Flyknit Chukka 

One of the most comfortable soles out there. For some reason at this time Nike was really trying to push the Free sole vs. the lunar sole. The flyknit chukka was seeing releases in both soles that said only one of these soles was comfortable and one was just straight up painful. I had one pair of Lunar chukkas and two pairs of free chukkas. Lets just say I only still have one pair around as the other two just hurt.
Viberg Boots 

My second pair of Vibergs were another sample pair that had been sitting around 4 Horsemen for a few years and one day I was like you know what ill take em. They weigh a few pounds as they have a double sole and are completed in a black rough out leather. They are built. They make me stand over 6’2” and have some serious presents. But what a beautiful black boot that will last through my life and perhaps a few others after mine.
Nike Lab 

Some Nike Lab jammers. I love these shoes when can you look at a Nike product and not see the logo in your face… Ya… Rarely… The one thing I love the most about these shoes is they are amazing in the rain. They have an almost full plastic coating which keeps your feet dry and warm as the elements are handing it out. This was an interesting shoe that must have had some requirements from Nike as they were on a super sale and “only available for sale in Canada” so it was a little easier to get my hands on than something that see no limits.
Nike Flyknit 

I believe these are called sock races but don’t quote me on that one. I do know these are a Tinker Hatfield designed Nikes as they were released with a strange video of him surfing. They did have some completely unnecessary straps criss crossing over the top which also broke up the large nike logo. Nothing a pair of scissors couldn't fix. Making these even that bit more low pro and a pretty fun shoe to wear.
Opening Ceremony Officer Boot 

What's better than a nice pair of dress boots. I love these boots as they have a very subtle construction where the toe cap is only completed on one side so when standing at attention the toe cap is completed between both shoes. A very low profile graceful suiting boot.

Nike AirMoc 

What even are these. A wild pair of Nike Air Moc’s that was part of the first re releases of Nikes AGC line. I love some crazy slip ons and these are just so weird they are great. They are also a lovely winter shoe but not so great for support for long distances..

Flyknit Court Shoe 

A pretty cool pair of Nikes. A tennis court shoe completed in flyknit material. They even featured a cork sole a nice touch when you are sliding them on. I did have the original laces snap on me and turns out nike makes like 1000 different laces and its impossible to find the colour and size you need. These laces are actually the ones from my flyknit Mariah’s. I wish these were more comfortable to be honest but how long is a tennis game anyways?

Engineered Garments X Vans Vault 

Ohhhhhhh such magic. A wonderful collaboration between Vans and Engineered Garments as mentioned above Engineered Garments loves to do simple material switches to build contract for shoe collaborations. This is such a great way to get a shoe that is unlike anything else produced during that season. I also see a process and design lineage between something like this and then years later Vans doing their own inside out version of the slip on.

Converse X Nike Flyknit Chuck Taylor 

Here is an interesting Collaboration. As Converse is owned by Nike. But these are a chuck taylor completed in flyknit construction and produced with a lunar sole. I wish I could say that this actually made a comfortable chuck taylor but it really didn’t. ya there a little better than a canvas chuck but still will murder your feet after a few hours.

Converse X Missoni 

Ahh shit… These are a bit of a holy grail. Super simple yet wildly complex. A Missoni and Converse collaboration from a few years ago I think 2012.. But just a really special shoe that gets the attention it deserves. I always enjoy pulling these out but at the age they are at now they see mostly only ceremonial duties.
Nike Racer 

These are a super fun shoe from many years ago. At the time it was fairly hard to get the really cool technical Nike runners in Canada. These I actually picked up from the running room. Very much made with middle distance running in mind they are light and the foam has completely stopped providing any support at all. But a beautiful shoe with some cool details. I love the back strikes and the clock reading 88:88:888.

Nike Flyknit Trainer 

Ahh one of my favourite sneakers I’ve ever owned. Such a comfortable workhorse of a shoe. I feel like these have just been beat on and continued to keep giving. This is the flyknit trainer model but it used the similar sole to the racer models rather than the lunar or free soles that perhaps saw more releases.

Adidas Safety Stans 

Ahh the final entry. This is a pretty crazy shoe that was an Adidas throw back to a factory worker shoe. It features an oil slip resistant sole, as well as a steal toe cap. I love the rubber polkadot exterior. Although super fun shoe not really comfortable by any means. But like all these shoes they bring a smile to my face and a little bit of fun to life.