What’s up, my sneaker brethren? Welcome to this week’s episode of The Official Unofficial Top 5 Kicks of the Week, brought to you by me, Chris L, and the good folks at Sneaker Files! Last week was a bit of a snoozer, but this week brings us several nice drops, making this Top 5 a tough one to come up with. I had trouble deciding which pairs would make the cut and which ones would be left off, but after hours (ok, just one hour) of wrestling with my decision, I finally came up with the list, which I bring to you now, dear reader! Without further ado, I bring you the Top 5 Kicks of the Week!
5. Nike Air Foamposite One “Sport Royal”
In the DMV, Foams are king. However, I grew up right before the Nike Air Foamposite One really took off, and by the time it did come out, I had moved across the country to sunny Santa Monica, CA, removing me from the sneaker culture in my beloved Northern VA. Even though I was a huge Penny Hardaway fan growing up (him and his kicks), the Nike Foamposite was a shoe I never found appealing, and that hasn’t changed much since. However, the Nike Air Foamposite One “Sport Royal” is actually a clean pair of kicks, featuring a bright royal upper which reminds one of both the University of Memphis (or Memphis State University, when Penny played for them) and the Orlando Magic, both teams that Hardaway played for during his basketball career. The grey accents help to cool things down, with the clear icy sole finishing things off. Definitely a clean pair of kicks, I’d actually consider rocking these, which, if you know me, is saying a lot.
4. Nike KD VI “DC Preheat”
Speaking of the DMV… At the Number 4 spot, we have the signature sneaker of a DMV son, featuring a DMV-related name; how much more “DMV” can you get?
When I first saw pics of the Nike KD VI (the “Sonic Yellow” version), I was sure there was no way I would ever like the shoes I came to affectionately call the “Banana Slippers”, colorway-be-damned. Well, I have to admit that I was wrong, as the KD VI “DC Preheat”, the first KD VI to release, is a shoe that is growing on me more and more with every look. Would I rock them? Not going that far (yet), chief. But do I like them? Yes, I have to admit that I do. Something about the crazy, winding, grey/white-striped pattern (which features a blown-up map of Kevin Durant’s home state, Maryland, behind the striped design) and the way the fluorescent green, blue, and red lights things up, made me a fan of the shoe, which for some reason reminds me of the Twilight Zone. If you were lucky enough to grab a pair this weekend, consider yourself lucky, as they sold out in about 15 seconds on Nikestore this weekend. If you were one of the few people who copped a pair, let me know in the comments below; you have my permission to gloat (but only for a little bit)…
3. Nike SB Dunk Low “Red Firecracker”
When the first images of the Nike SB Dunk Low “Firecracker” emerged, the reaction was mixed; after several dope Nike SB Dunk releases in the last few months (the FTC x Nike SB Dunk Low “Finally” and the Concepts x Nike SB Dunk High “When Pigs Fly” come to mind), the shoe seemed a bit lackluster to some, more of a cheap Chinese firecracker (like the ones that were the inspiration for the print on the shoe’s heel) than an explosion. That sentiment was blown up, however, when the second shoe in the 2-pair pack was revealed, the Nike SB Dunk Low “Red Firecracker”. Featuring an all-red suede upper with black accents and the aforementioned firecracker print on the heel/collar paneling, the red shoe definitely packs a punch, more so than its all-black brother. Releasing right in time for the 4th of July, the “Firecracker” pack marks another dope Nike SB drop for 2013.
2. Air Jordan VIII (8) Retro “Playoffs”
If there’s one thing I love, it’s the “Home” and “Away” versions of early-model Air Jordans. Being that I’m an 80’s baby, I’m old enough to have experienced watching Michael Jordan do wonders on the basketball court, wearing his signature sneakers all the while, and to have lived during the original release of said sneakers. While I didn’t have the Air Jordan VIII “Playoffs” as a child, my older brother did, and I would sneak them on every chance I could get and go shoot hoops in the driveway, pretending I was MJ posting up Clyde Drexler at the top of the key. Fun times.
When news dropped of these shoes retroing this year, I knew I had to have a pair (I missed the last retro release a few years ago), bots and rabid teens be damned. Thankfully, I was able to scoop a pair, which I will cherish until they’re beat and I have to cop them again at the next release. With 2013 being the 20th Anniversary of the Air Jordan VIII’s original release, one has to wonder if Jordan Brand has anything else in store this year for the Jordan VIII; for sneakerheads hoping to see the Aqua VIII return this year, let’s hope so…
1. UBIQ x New Balance 1600 “The Benjamin”
The Number 1 shoe this week, champion of The Official Unofficial Top 5 Kicks of The Week, proves that I am not a hater, because if I was, it wouldn’t have even made the list; the shoe I speak of is the UBIQ x New Balance 1600 “The Benjamin”, a tribute to Philadelphia native and American icon Benjamin Franklin, created by New Balance, in collaboration with Philly sneaker spot UBIQ. Before the shoes release day this past Saturday, I knew it was going to be a tough cop. As such, I prepared for it as best I could; I created an account with UBIQ.com, to help expedite the check-out process; I made sure to stay awake for the 7am MST online release, after having woken up early for the 6am Jordan VIII Retro “Playoffs” drop; I even made sure to put UBIQ’s phone number in my cell phone’s phone book, just in case I needed to call the store if their site froze up (it did). After all that preparation, I still failed to score a pair, made even more frustrating after having spent roughly 2 hours trying to cop a pair, from trying repeatedly to check out online (and having “Saint Alfred x Asics Gel Lyte III online release” deja-vu in the process) to calling the store over 100 times and getting different answers on whether or not I’d eventually be able to order a pair of shoes over the phone. All in all, it was a harrowing experience, one I hope to never repeat again (but know that I undoubtedly will, all in the pursuit of a fly pair of kicks).
That being said, the shoes had to be dope for me to spend that much time on trying to cop. Premium materials and a patriotic, American-themed colorway take the shoe to “dope” status, in my book. Over the last month or two, I’ve gone into a bit of a “runners” phase, eschewing the Retro J’s and SB Dunks – my usual favorites – in favor of Ronnie Fieg Gel Lyte III’s (the “Selvedge” joints being a recent cop), classic Air Max’s, and dope New Balance runners. While the 1600 isn’t one of my favorite New Balance models (not by a long shot), and one rarely used for collaborations, UBIQ definitely knocked it out of the park with this one, creating a shoe that rings bells, word to the Liberty. While the list was a bit difficult to finish, picking the top shoe this week was not… Props to UBIQ and New Balance for taking the Number 1 spot (Cue “victory” marching band theme, streamers, fireworks, and applause)!
Thanks for joining me this week for your favorite countdown’s favorite countdown. Let me know what you thought of this week’s list; agree, disagree, like, dislike, I’m down to hear it all! Share your opinions and your own Top 5 in the comments below, and make sure to tune in next week to see what shoe makes it to the Number 1 spot. Follow me on Twitter at @thatuncutraw (ask me for a shout-out in next week’s edition, and you might get lucky…), and thanks again for hanging out with ya boy. Have a great week, and as always, be safe and be smart with your purchases! Peace.