Last weekend we had our first discussion thread in which we chose the ‘Big 3’ out of Nike’s basketball history (so far) asking you, which boasts the best overall performance? While going over the comments, I had one that stuck out and has carried itself over to be the topic of this weekend’s thread… Why worry about performance at all, if it doesn’t look good casually then who cares?

I hate to say it… but this is very true, especially today. While growing up in the 80’s & 90’s, rocking a pair of Air Jordan’s meant that you were somebody… usually you were just a nobody wearing J’s, but hey, it made you feel ‘Like Mike’ right? However, at the original time of each shoe’s release they each had a specific purpose yet it’s safe to assume that most performance shoes sold aren’t exactly used for their original intent.

These are sneakers, not just any sneakers; these are in fact performance sneakers. You buy runners to run, trainers to train and hoop shoes to hoop in… right? I mean, we don’t ever see anyone rocking cleats with a pair of jeans do we? And no, the kids dragged to Starbucks with their Mom’s before practice doesn’t count.

Someone like me purchases numerous amounts of sneakers per year with two intentions, casual & performance. But we sometimes forget what the brands themselves never have; most people buying these shoes are not athletes. Are we to blame for the lack in quality and increase in price? Take the Bin 23 series for example; we are now forced to pay a premium for a sneaker with ‘Grade A’ quality and materials when that used to be the norm. Let’s face it, most people don’t want to spend $160+ on a pair of kicks their going to trash on court & most of us when growing up were given only one pair of shoes by our parents per year so making them last as long as possible was a must.

With that said, what are your thoughts on the subject… performance versus casual? Is spending $160+ on a pair of shoes because they are a great performance driven sneaker worth it or are the masses only buying the shoes for ‘Swag’ so they better look good or it’s an automatic fail?


  1. In my opinion it’s all a rip off because if it was only about the performance only the athletes would be able to buy them. I remember when nike first started retroing jordans they were 100 bucks they got popular and the slowly jumped to 110, 115 now we have retro selling for $175 with the poorest quality. The shoes we purchase are not the same shoes we see the professionals play in they get top quality because they have top quality money. This game started as a social status if you were rocking j’s you were somebody well in the hood at least. Now anyone can wear jordans thanks to fakes and the arabs in the gas station selling them for 50 bucks so we are forced to pay the high prices for the same reason we bought jordans back in the day social statues, you can say you got real authentic jordans and you paid up the woohoo for them. Nike knows what it’s doing they did not become a multi-billion dollar a year industry by being stupid they know who makes the fakes they know where they sale them. I am a collector of j’s but sometimes I wonder why I do it. I got to camp out sometimes spend 100 dollars over retail if I don’t want to camp out. Try to hunt down limited releases that some STATES don’t get which means I have to travel. Performance has nothing to do with why me buy the j’s it never did. The minute nike saw his shoes sale out in minutes they instantly took the word performance out of the equation and filled it in with dollar signs.

  2. sneakergeek gets it. I remember the first time i bought retro 3s–indeed they were 110. The problem is–and most of us won’t admit it–but we are addicted to the swoosh, and his jumpman buddy too. I don’t know what there is to be done. I’m 32 and still drool over a sick pair just as much as i did back in the day.

  3. We are all the blame , we fell in love & and now we”re getting cheated on , me personally i just search as much as i can to get the 1st set of retro”s with better quailty that way i dont live with the guilt , of paying the hyped price & piss poor quailty

  4. We wear them on rare occasions and more than often brag about owning them than actually wearing them. We spend 150+ on status quo’s.. and the worst part about it is we can all bitch and complain, but we will all be in line for the next retros spending money we dont have.

  5. kicks are will forever be an expression of individuality. there is nothing like breaking out a ill pair of kicks that no one has so you can separate from the pack! when i was growing up the joints that were hot at the time my mom couldn’t afford, now that i’m a man and can purchase them, makes me feel like i accomplished something. it is that feeling of the first day of school when i say ” these n___gas ain’t ready for this ” that fuels me!!

  6. As far as buying Jordan’s goes, whether you play pick-up ball or play for a team, performance AND style is important. Those two elements are what the brand is based on! Even if you don’t play & just wear Jordan’s casually for style, you still want the performance because performance involves comfort!

  7. first of all. why buy a nice shoe and play ball in them. they’ll be dead in a matter of days. if you wanna play ball. buy a pair of hyperdunks and play. and wear the nice expensive stuff to go out with your girl to the movies or something.

  8. and for all you so called shoe lovers. what did you think. ofcourse the shoes that superstars were on the courts are better. they are custom taylored for each superstar player. for example,take a player like ray allen. all his jordan shoes are custom made to his needs. just like any other super star player like him self. a real ray allen jordan goes for $1500 and only in his size 14. joe johnson 23 jordans are over $3000. the shoes may look the same. but technicaly they are not.

  9. For me I think God for letting me see the truth. I was so sold out to jordan that he became my God. Everything I wanted or had was jordan. I was consumed with this guy and nobody could tell me different. But as I begin to read the bible I saw the truth about me. Think about this, why you think so many retros are coming out now??? what happen to the fusions??? You see how awful they did with them??? They are just trying to keep you brain washed by letting you get certain shoes then try some new shoe on you. Now since certain stuff shoes that they tried didnt work, then how the economy is, now they are trying to give you shoes that you’ve been waiting for for so long. Do you still not see it??? Watch, when the wave of all these retros have slacked down, watch and see what they do next. They need ya’ll more now then they ever did before. Be aware. As for me though im str8. God has given me the strength to walk away and I love my life now more than ever with all the money im saving.

  10. There have been a lot of good points made. Personally, I feel that an individual should just do what makes them feel the best with regards to sneakers. If you want to buy jays and hoop in them, cool. If you want to collect jays and rock them casually, cool. Do what works for you. I hooped in a pair of retro fire red 3’s and they made my feet hurt. I played well, but at the end of the night, they were really scuffed and my feet were throbbing. Never again!

  11. Hey people, hi ya doin out there in cyberland? I would like to think this discussion had been brought up because of my comments I had about the Jordan Fly Wades (Playoff Shoe). Though the great folks at SNEAKER FILES didn’t say whose comments they were exactly, I guess I have to chime in again with my opinion on “performance” and “casual”. First off ask your self this… The NBA BANNED the first AIR JORDAN because of what? The Style (Casual) or “Performance”? Fact… it was the Black and Red that made Michael stand out from all the rest. That is the Genius Nike crafted when creating its first baby. I say first because Nike was the nobody in the basketball game compared to Converse and Addidas. Nike took a chance on Style and they’ve been KING since ’85. Think about the “Performance” of the AJ1… Inch thick slab of rubber Mike had to lug around on the court, not very performacle but he still dropped over 60 points on Bird and the Mighty Celtics. I do believe performance of the shoe does play a part.. but its a very small part. Sorry. In conclusion I believe the overall best performance/casual shoe would have to be the AJ 7 AKA “1992’s”. During Michaels epic run through the 1992 Finals, he kept dropping treys to the point were he shrugged his shoulders and led everyone including himself to guess “Its Gotta Be The Shoes”.

  12. I have to agree with Killa somewhat, IMO the J8’s are the best ever made and used, in my mind those will ever be the ultimate goal, when I was a teen back in early and mid 90’s I could never own a pair of those, they were almost twice as expensive as the rest of the basketball shoes on the market, the only one shoe that was as expensive was Shaq Attack 1.
    The J7’s are also one of my favorite, and probably because of the number 9 during the Olympics.
    For me it is not only about the Original Jordan’s, its about all those sneaker models from 1989 till 1998, that I was watching through the glass window of the stores every day and never got to ware. At my last year in High school I had to work all summer to be able to buy a pair of Reebok’s (everything with pump will always be in my hart).
    Now as a grown up man I can afford to buy all those models (Jordan’s, Barkley’s, P. Hardway’s and many other) that I missed back than and that were something I thought I will never have. Unfortunately many of the Epic shoes will never get out again – Kemp Kamikaze’s (personal favorite) all the Shaq models, Pump Fury 1…

  13. Wow, my feelings almost completely mirror that of Trent. Sounds like we around the same age. Kamikaze’s were one of my favorites as a youth. I also loved the Fila GH1 (Grant Hill) and (to which no one will probably agree with) the Ewings. Not the Rogues which actually look like AJ8’s but the version with bball key chain attached. Ah…those were the days. Im not even commenting on Jordans because like the above, I could never afford Jordans as a kid and my parents were not buying that shiz. So i see all those shoes now that i couldnt have as a kid and have no issue buying them up, and will continue to do so. It brings back memories…


  15. …Yes people were killed over sneakers, that is a fact, and a lot of people got their shoes of their feet by force, but now people are killed for a lot less, unfortunately…
    Back to the subject, K2 I remember the Grant Hill shoes they were nice too, in fact one of my best friends had them back in a day, simply because they were a bit cheaper than the rest.
    I only wish and dream now that Reebok will snap out of it and start re-introducing all those 90’s models (Vertical 1/2/3/4, Kamikaze 1/2, all the Blacktop ones, Aztrek, Boston Road, Pyro, Insta Pump Fury 1, HardCoart and many other) unfortunately I don’t think Shaq’s will ever get re-released, due to the fact that he owns the logo they used and the branding (by the way I called the worst decision for him to go on his own and step away from Reebok, for what – to make Walmart shoes, he could be same as Mike and still have his shoes made and sold pretty good…

  16. Sneakergeek well spoken homeboy.I have a huge collection of kicks because of the love and respect I have for the sneaker culture.The quality of sneakers now compared to the 80s and 90s are awful.Its nothing like the HUNT for a rare or non usa released pair of kicks.Once you get them the feelings that come with it is awesome man.Nike imo doesnt care about the consumer all they are concerned with is PROFIT.It is what it is. Do I like it NO.Am I going to stop buying nike NO.I dont complain I dont see any point in it.I understand things from a business stand point and I understand why sneaker companies cut back on the quality of the materials they are using on the sneakers now and days. I will be a sneakerhead until the day I leave this earth.Ive learned in life you have to take the good with the bad.

  17. Karnell thanks for that very positive message.I love sneakers and the culture that comes along with it.I understand the message you were trying to send us and god bless you for it.I am so addicted to sneakers its crazy.Sneakers is like a drug to me its like I have the same mind set as a drug addict.A drug addict will spend their last on what ever their drug of choice is and I will spend my last on a pair of kicks.Not just me I know there are alot of sneaker heads who have went to great lengths to get that limited addition shoe.There are sneaker heads that have camped out for days just to get that rare pair of kicks.Companies like nike know what they are doing is it their fault NO.Nike didnt put a gun to my head and say buy my shoes.Sometimes I think of all the money I have spent on my collection and I SMH.I dont regret it because I know that the money spent is not in vain.I could always sell part of my collection if I choose to and make a nice profit.I feel the message karnell was sending us was to NOT let sneakers or sneaker companies control our lives,minds and way of thinking and living.Im in my mid 30s and I remember my parents not being able to buy me js because they couldnt afford them.I remember getting summer jobs to save up to cop kicks for school.The world is so screwed up and things havent changed from when I was growing up to now.Kids are being made fun of if they are not wearing whats instyle.You have people going broke trying to keep up with the jones.If you look at other races and cultures they are only concerned with education and saving their money.I will not stop collecting sneakers but I will not let it consume me as I have done in the past.I buy name brands for my kids as well but I teach them to appretiate everything you get because their are millions of kids all over the world who would love to just have a pair of shoes on their feet let alone name brand ones.I also teach them that its cool to make money but its not cool for the money to make you.I remember hearing stories of people getting robbed for js and I tell some of those stories to my kids.I tell them that you should value money to a cetain point and to not let it consume you.When we do leave this world we cant take no money or our collections with us.

  18. Trent living my past for realz! Blacktops?! WOW, SOOOO SICK! Enough of J’s they need to bring back some of those for real!

  19. Wise words are spoken here by many members, it makes me feel really optimistic that there still people out there that remember the old days and that are trying to teach their children that nothing comes free in this world and all have to be deserved and appreciate it.
    Sean, K2 you guys seem to be around my age and we all grew up at the same time 80’s and 90’s were amazing years to live through, we so the beginning of many new and exciting things that made us what we are today. I am sure you would agree that today’s kids are much different from what we were, now they get pretty much everything and so easy without effort, without appreciation, and I know the parents are the one to blame, too busy to pay attention, too guilty that they are not that close to their kids, ready to buy them everything just to gain their respect and love, without even realizing what huge mistake they are making…
    I know it is getting to philosophical, and I hope you would forgive me, but I had to say it before I come back to talking about sneakers.
    K2 I still remember the old Blacktop commercials, they were so great…why is Reebok not doing the same Nike is doing, just start releasing the old OG shoes with the original colorways (not that crazy and hideous colors they are now doing) and I can guarantee them they will make more profit than what they making at the moment. I don’t understand what is the company thinking about, just to re-release the Kamikaze 1 and 2 will bring them unthinkable profit.
    Just thought about another one that we forgot to mention, do you remember Mutombo Adidas, it was a nice looking shoe and speaking of Adidas, who remembers the old StreetBall’s from 92-94, epic kicks.

  20. Amen Trent and Sean. I can not agree more with your comments: Parents of today will do anything to gain that love from their children. Its a generational issue I suspect. Current parents are what 2,3, or 4th Gen??? Its a completely different culture now, most of us grew up with not having much, thus the one thing we promised ourselves was to give our children what we didnt have. Im in my late 20s with no kids, but my friends that have kids spoil them. Just the other day my boy bought his 10 year old son a pair of AJ9s. Kid didnt even really care, was like whatever. I just SMH…. I dont want to get to philosophical either, but we are on the same page, when i have kids, I want them to cherish the luxury items they will have, preserve them.
    With that said i do remember the Mutombo Addidas! It was almost Tribal looking! I also liked the Fila ball shoes (I think the BB???). They were mid cut, and one solid color (black, Red, or brown) and all suede with just the symbol on the side and the tongue. Very clean. Pumps were the latest craze, I preferred the white and neon green, but even more so blacktops and I rocked reebok reverse jams in Gym class. Air max i never had: AM90 infrared, and the next year: Air Max Persian in purple, which morphed into the Barkelys of course (another my parents never bought me). Too many to name, but Reebok killed it back then, when kamikaze’s came out…. It was game over…


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