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1999 Nike Cortez Restoration

The Nike Cortez originally released in 1972. Designed by Bill Bowerman for the 1972 Olympic Games, the Cortez was hailed as the first ‘modern’ running shoe. The Cortez is without a doubt one of Nike’s most iconic and important models, with a rich history which dates back even before it was officially known as the Cortez. The shoe has been worn by athletes, celebrities, East-coast gangsters and sports enthusiasts alike, and is still one of the most popular models in existence.

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(Above) Tom Hanks holding a fresh pair of Cortez’s in their OG colourway, in the 1994 film ‘Forest Gump’.

In my personal collection, I only have one pair of the Nike Cortez. My pair is a leather Cortez from 1999 featuring a predominantly white upper with a bold yellow swoosh and grey trimming. On the heel of the shoe, you will find the OG Nike lettering as well as a swoosh on each heel. This is an awesome pair! I acquired these about two years ago after finding them in a thrift shop in London. £20 is the price I paid, which is a steal in my eyes, especially given the condition I found them in!

A pair of shoes of this age is however not without its faults. After a few wears, the outsole began to separate from the midsole, due to the age of the glue holding them together. As well as this issue, they could certainly do with a bit of cleaning! Luckily, the Cortez is not a complicated model, so the separation problem should be an easy fix! Other models, such as any Nike Air Max silhouette, of this age would require much more work to get them back to looking their best. The photo below shows the issue with the sole separation, a problem which is apparent on both the left and right shoes.

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There are a few things you will need if you’re planning on carrying out a similar restoration:

  • Sole cement: I used the SneakersER Sole Bonder 125ml (£14.95)
  • Paintbrush: preferably a flat one
  • Clamps/something heavy

There aren’t actually too many steps to this reglue due to the simplicity of the model. The first thing I did was to remove the laces and the insoles from each shoe. Then I inspected the surface which I would be regluing. If there is any excess factory glue left on the surface, you will need to remove it using a thin layer of Acetone (nail polish remover). On my pair of Cortez’s, there was no factory glue left so I skipped this step. I then gently opened the gap between the outsole and midsole and applied a layer of the SneakersER sole bonder to both surfaces. You want to then leave the glue to dry for 15 minutes. In order to get a firmer bond, a second layer of sole bonder can be applied after the 15 minutes is up.

After 15 minutes, you want to press the surfaces together, making sure they line up perfectly. In order to get the best possible results, you want to clamp the part of the shoe you are regluing, which ensures the sole will not separate again the first time you break them out! Unfortunately, I did not have any clamps to hand so I improvised by placing a brick inside each shoe and propping up the toe. As I was only regluing the heel area of my Cortez’s, I needed to concentrate the weight of the brick towards the heel.

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You need to leave the shoes in this position for a good 24 hours for the best results!

Once you have left the glue to set, remove the bricks (in my case) or clamps. Check that the bond is firm by applying a light pull on the area which you have glued together. If the bond feels firm and the area is not separating, you’ve done it! After I completed the sole binding process, I gave the shoes a quick clean using a sneaker cleaning solution. You can use any solution but I used Crep Protect Cure, in particular, the Crep Protect travel kit, which comes in a small pouch with the cleaning solution, a brush and a microfibre towel (£14.95).

So there we go! The 1999 Nike Cortez’s are good for another 20 years (hopefully). After restoring my pair, I wore them for a whole week straight to test the durability and its fair to say they held up nicely. I’m very glad to re-add these to my rotation!

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Let me know if you have any questions regarding any sneaker restoration! Or get in touch on Instagram by following @crepcultureblog

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Dubai’s Up and Coming Streetwear Scene

Streetwear and sneakers have been around for decades but in certain parts of the world, these things are only just starting to become recognised. Dubai is no exception. While the city is often known for its extravagance, including the fashion industry, home to pretty much every superbrand in existence, it’s streetwear scene is only just getting started. I have lived in Dubai for most of my life so I thought it would be appropriate to put something together regarding the improvements I’ve noticed over the past few years!

Dubai has no problem attracting big fashion houses such as Gucci, Louis Vuitton or Balenciaga to come and open up shop in the city, but for many people perhaps on a lower budget or more streetwear orientated, the options have been limited. Two years ago, however, we were blessed to have Boston based sneaker boutique, Concepts, open its second overseas branch in Dubai. This was HUGE for Dubai, as not only does the store stock a nicely curated selection of trainers, it also sells a lot of quality streetwear brands. Some of these include; Stussy, Patta, Stone Island and Yeezy. These types of brands were very hard to come by in Dubai until the opening of Concepts. Furthermore, the store provides us with a far better selection of footwear than what was previously available and gives residents of the United Arab Emirates a chance to get their hands on converted sneaker releases, previously only available in Europe or the United States. In December of 2018, Nike did a collaboration with Concepts on the Nike SB Dunk … not the first time the two have joined forces on the model. The Dubai branch of Concepts received and sold both the “Purple Lobster” and “Green Lobster” colourways of the shoe, which my brother and I camped out for. We were lucky enough to snag a pair in each colourway. Away from the Concepts collaborations, the boutique also carries numerous brands and limited releases which were impossible to get in the UAE prior to its opening.

Crep conventions and events are no new thing to sneaker culture and they take place in every major city around the world. Sole DXB is Dubai’s answer to Sneaker Con or London’s CrepeCity. It is essentially a sneaker and streetwear event which happens every year in Dubai’s Design District. In 2018, the 8th annual event took place and it was bigger than ever! The event attracted some of the biggest influencers, icons, brands and musicians to the melting pot of Dubai to celebrate the growing scene in the Middle East. Brand involvement included the likes of Adidas, Highsnobiety, Medicom, Dior, Reebok and Puma just to name a few. The venue for Sole DXB is all outdoors and features a range of pop-up shops and activities including an outdoor basketball court. Last year the team from Sole DXB managed to attract the likes of Giggs, Nas, Joey Basda$$ and many more to perform during the closing party on the newly assembled stage setup. A$AP Rocky even made an appearance at one point! The main attraction for me was the inclusion of some icons of sneaker culture from both past and present. DJ Clark Kent and Futura were both present and were greatly involved in the organisation and execution of the event itself. Furthermore, the ever popular YouTube show ‘Full-Size Run’ shot a live episode whilst they were attending Sole DXB. Unfortunately, I was unable to attend the last event and in truth, I was gutted I missed out! This year I am determined to get back to Dubai in time to be there and hopefully get the chance to meet some people and take part in full!

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The boom in popularity of the sneaker and streetwear scene in recent years has brought about an expansion in these outlets throughout Dubai, making it even more accessible to get hold of the latest trends. There are a number of new stores and boutiques which are certainly worth visiting if you find yourself in Dubai. The first which spring to mind would be; Amongst Few, WORTHY and the new Nike Store in Dubai Mall. The Nike Store opened in the summer of  2018 and covers a 3,290 square meter space, the largest in the Middle East. If you ask me, it is on the same level as Nike Town in London or the brand’s new Flagship store in New York. The Dubai branch of Nike has been branded as ‘Nike DXB’, giving an identity to the growing sportswear and sneaker movement in the city. Furthermore, they stock a range of limited edition clothing and footwear, exclusive to Dubai. Personally, I own a few different Nike DXB bits and pieces, the stand out being a pair of Air Force 1’s which you were able to customise in-store with Dubai inspired designs and graphics. The photograph below shows my pair. The Arabic on the heel of the shoe means ‘Dubai’ and the details on the toe box depict the city skyline, with various other Arabian illustrations. These are a pair I had to own, given I grew up over in Dubai!

 

To summarize, the growth in popularity of sneakers and streetwear has had a huge impact on what’s available in the Middle East. Air Jordan’s have always had a big following in Dubai, mainly due to the Americanisation of the city. Now, Dubai finds itself with its very own Jordan store located in the Dubai Mall. BAPE recently opened an ‘AAPE’ store and have plans for a new ‘Bathing Ape’ store. Even a few years ago, there was nothing in the way of streetwear in Dubai and meant that people had to outsource to the U.K or America to get hold of certain things. Just like the city itself, the sneaker and streetwear scene has expanded rapidly over the past two to three years, and I am excited to see how it will continue to do so.

Let me know what you have to say about Dubai’s up and coming streetwear scene or whether you plan on visiting any time soon! Follow @CrepCultureblog on Instagram for daily updates!

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The Best Sneakers of 2018

2018 has been a monumental year in terms of footwear. We’ve seen a whole load of new technology and models introduced, along with extremely coveted collaborations and huge growth of an already booming sneaker industry. In this article, I want to break down my ten favourite releases of the year, along with some honourable mentions. Bearing in mind I am a Nike guy so the list may be a little biased!

Also, huge shoutout to Dan Freebairn (@kickposters) for letting me use his illustration for the featured image of this article. Follow the link below to view his website and check out some of his other work!

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10. Nike Air Skylon II

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An unlikely contender for most people’s top ten but a certain for mine! The Skylon II originally came out in 1990 and was the first Nike model to feature heel and forefoot air in its foam midsole. This year was the first time the model has been retroed since its original debut and the timing couldn’t have been better (especially with the ‘retro runner’ trend at the moment). The vibrant colours used on the Skylon definitely make it a stand out! The two colourways featured above were my favourite from the year.

9. Adidas Yeezy 700 Wave Runner

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I had to include one Adidas shoe on the list and it’s got to be this one. Probably the strongest model (IMO) in the Adidas Yeezy locker, the 700 wave runner. Despite technically dropping last year, in very limited numbers and exclusive to the US, the model saw a global release this year and made waves in the sneaker community. Kanye’s first 700 colourway has sold out instantly on every drop. I would love to get my hands on a pair but unfortunately, the retail price on this pair was pretty high – £250 I believe.

8. Air Jordan 4 ‘Cactus Jack

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Travis Scott has had a huge impact on sneaker culture over the past two years or so. This is his third collaborative effort with the Swoosh, this time with Jordan Brand on the Jordan 4. The inspiration behind the colourway came from the jersey colours of Travis’ hometown basketball team, the Houston Oilers. These 4’s released just around the time Travis dropped his latest album ‘Astroworld’ and contributed to the hype of the album further. I was lucky enough to be gifted a pair for my birthday!

7. Nike Air Max Plus OG

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The Air Max Plus (or TN’s) saw another retro in its OG colourways towards the end of the year. Even though this model has been re-released in its OG form a handful of times, this release was certainly an anticipated one amongst air max enthusiasts. Nike got this release spot on and the packaging was next level! The box design featured the pattern of the TN’s toe box all over it, and the shoes even came with autonomic arch supports! This addition is something we haven’t seen in Nike packaging since the early 2000s, mainly because they’re a bit outdated but it definitely helped regain that vintage feel. My favourite of the three colourways was the OG ‘Tiger’ pair.

6. Nike Air Max 98 ‘Gundam’

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In 2017 we saw a variety of Air Max 97’s released in a range of OG and new colourways for the 20th Anniversary of the model. This got sneakerheads excited for this year as we hoped for the same on the Air Max 98. Nike did not disappoint. The first two colourways we saw this year were the ‘Tour Yellow’ and ‘Gundam’ 98’s, the best of the lot if you ask me. The ‘Gundam’ colourway takes the number six spot on the list. The OG colourway is the perfect combination of blue, red, white and black and is bound to turn some heads. I always love the OG’s and this one is on right at the top of my hit list.

5. Nike Air Max 1 ‘By Day’

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I’ve already written about my love for this shoe in a previous article so I’ll keep this one brief! The Air Max 1 ‘By Day’ or the Pompidou Air Max 1’s released in September and was a relatively slept on drop in the grand scheme of things. The sneaker features coloured piping all around the white upper, reminiscent of that of the Centre Pompidou in Paris. I love that Nike has gone back to the routes of the Air Max and delivered a colourway in celebration of them. Click the image above to read my full article on Nike’s history with the Pompidou Centre.

4. Nike React Element 87 ‘Sail’

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Nike made some serious headway in 2018 with retros, collaborations and entirely new models. This falls under the category of the latter. Nike React was a technology introduced to us through their running shoe the ‘Epic React’ and was seen as a counter to Adidas’ beloved ‘Boost’ technology. This is the first time the springy sole was utilised on a lifestyle shoe and was, and remains to be, extremely popular. The new model also features a semi-translucent upper. The ‘Sail’ colourway was the first of many to be debuted to the world, and in my opinion, the best of the bunch. The model’s popularity is reflected in its resale price, currently selling for roughly £330 (Stock X).

3. CDG x Nike Air Max 180

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The Air Max 180 was seen a whole lot throughout 2018 in a variety of colours and makeups. One of the leading colourways was this 180 by Comme Des Garçons and Nike, a partnership spanning almost a decade. The sneaker was pushed into the eyes of the world at Paris Fashion Week for SS18 and made an immediate mark. Three colourways of the model were released, all with a bold pink foundation, but the black and pink version was my personal favourite.

2. Parra x Nike Air Max 1

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Piet Parra and Nike join forces once again on the Air Max 1. This is the third time the pairing has worked on an Air Max 1 together (not including the Albert Heijn Air Max 1’s which were not released to the public), the first time in 2005, the second in 2009. A slightly different approach was taken on the 2018 collaboration; the shoe featuring colours and patterns in the style of Parra’s artwork. A Nike Air Zoom Spiridon was also released beside the Air Max 1, as well as a full tracksuit. The model flew off shelves and was very difficult to get hold of. This shoe (and the surrounding release) was executed perfectly to continue Piet Parra’s legacy with Nike.

1. Sean Wotherspoon Air Max 1/97

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I really did not want to put this in first spot due to the number of these I have seen this year… and the fact I wasn’t able to grab a pair… but how could I not. The whole story behind these is enough to sell the shoe alone. The fact that Sean Wotherspoon, a vintage collector, curator and co-owner of Round Two was able to take part and win the Nike ‘Vote Forward’ Campaign is something you dream about. The drive behind his Air Max 1/97 hybrid got everyone talking and as a result was probably the most hyped release of the year. This has taken the number one spot on my list because of Sean’s backstory and the process of building the shoe surrounding the Air Max day campaign. The material and colour combination is entirely unique to a Nike model and the hybrid wave is back in full effect as a result. I have written a full-length article on this sneaker and its importance in today’s crep culture. To read it, click on the photo above.

So yeah Sean’s 1/97’s rank supreme in my eyes.

Honourable Mentions

It was incredibly hard to narrow the list down to just ten pairs so it wouldn’t be right to do ‘the Best Sneakers of 2018’ without a few other mentions, worthy of the top few spots. So in no particular order:

Nike Tailwind 87:

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Originally released in time for the Honolulu Marathon in 1986, the Tailwind changed the course of Nike footwear forever. The shoe was the first ever to feature the brands famous ‘Air’ cushioning in its sole. The model officially hit retailers the following year in 1979 and sold out straight away! In 2018 we saw a retro of the iconic model, in a colourway as close as possible to that released to the public in 1979. The shoes also came with a pair of white and blue Nike socks incorporating the vintage logo, a nice touch!

Skepta x Nike Air Max Deluxe

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Finally, this year we saw retros of the Air Max Deluxe, a model not seen since 1999. The silhouette had a big year releasing in a variety of OG colourways as well as this collaboration with U.K. rap artist, Skepta. This was Skepta’s third collaboration with Nike and went hand in hand with his tour, ‘No Sleep on Tour’.

Supreme x Nike Zoom Streak Spectrum Plus

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Supreme and Nike had probably one of their weakest years in terms of collaborative footwear. Out of a bad bunch, however, came these gems. The Streak Spectrum Plus’ debuted in 2003 and were designed for Japanese runners by Steven Smith. The most eye-catching feature is, of course, the flames, which run from the toe backwards. This design was inspired by the hot rod culture in the U.S. Before this collaboration, the model was pretty much forgotten, so it’s always good to see a banger like this make a comeback.

Diamond x Nike SB Dunk

Nicky Diamond and Nike SB have an incredibly important history in the formation of the crep culture we see today. In 2005, the original Diamond Supply Dunk shook the world. It was like no skate shoe anyone had seen before, featuring the famous ‘Tiffany’ (Diamond) colour and black crocodile leather on the upper. Towards the end of 2018, we began seeing leaks of another Diamond Dunk low and we got three of them! The photos above depict my favourite of the colourways, the third being an all over yellow dunk, releasing in quantities of around 250 pairs. The dunks feature the platinum silver swoosh used on the original pair, this time removable, revealing tiffany hints. Just like the original, these are extremely sought after. Dunks are back!

Air Jordan 11 ‘Concord’

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Around Christmas time every year, Jordan brand releases a Jordan 11 which used to cause havoc, with just about everyone trying to get their hands on whichever 11 was being brought out. In recent years the hype surrounding this seasonal release has not been what it once was. If there was a Jordan 11 which was going to change this, it’s this one. The Concord has been a classic since 1995 and certainly deserves a place on this list.

Air Jordan 1 x Union Los Angeles

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The Jordan 1 had a huge year in 2018, with numerous colourways dropping and mass public appeal. These two pairs of Union Jordan 1’s were the best of the bunch in my opinion. Nowadays everyone is trying to get their hands on the original 1985 Jordan 1’s and this collaboration brought the OG’s to life in the present day. They are made to look old, with slight a discolouring to the midsole, laces and tongue. The yellow detailing around the panels certainly makes them a stand out amongst other Jordan 1’s and the mismatched upper is something we haven’t seen before on the model. I couldn’t make up my mind about which pair I preferred so they are both included!

Dragon Ball Z x Adidas Yung-1 ‘Frieza’

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The Adidas Yung-1 has been one of Adidas’ most popular models this year and one of my personal favourites. This collaboration with Dragon Ball Z featured two models; the Yung-1 and the ZX-500, the first being the stronger of the two. The bold purple and pink detailing certainly make this sneaker stand out from the crowd. As well as this, the packaging was executed superbly, which always makes a big difference!

Daniel Arsham x Adidas 4D Futurecraft

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Adidas’ 4D Future craft has got to be the most revolutionary innovations in footwear we have seen for quite some time. The technology is essentially, a 3D printed midsole on a running shoe. When we first heard of this project, people had a lot of questions. Will it even hold up? Is it comfortable? The answers are yes and yes. I have never tried on or even held a pair of these (due to their rarity and very high retail price), but have only heard good things. The reason these are included in this list is mainly due to the sheer technological advancements that have been made by Adidas and the possibilities this may lead towards in the future.

What do you think of my Top 10?

Let me know in the comments which you would or wouldn’t include! Thanks for reading and stay tuned for more articles coming soon.

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Are Nike bringing the Classics back too often?

On March 26th 2016 Nike asked us to vote in the ‘vote back’ campaign, for which Air Max model we wanted to see brought back in 2017. This was in celebration of the third annual Air Max day, with the most popular shoe seeing a retro the following year. The winner of the vote was the Air Max 1 x Atmos “Elephant”, a sneaker which originally debuted in 2007. Despite not managing to get my hands on a pair, I was happy to see Nike bringing back a ‘grail’ for most Air Max enthusiasts. However, since the re-release of the Atmos elephant’s we have seen a plethora of very rare, exclusive Nike colourway’s brought back into circulation, and I do not necessarily agree with it.

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Quick disclaimer – I only disagree with the brand bring back rare, hard to find models and colourways. I have no problem with Nike retro-ing classic OG colourways and general releases. For example, Nike has recently retro-ed two of my favourite models, the Air Max 97 ‘Silver Bullet’ and the Air Jordan 3 ‘Black Cement’, and I couldn’t be more chuffed.

My reason for writing this article was due to the Air Max day 2018 releases that we are set to see in March. I’ve got to hand it to Nike, it is an incredible line-up, featuring hybrid models and coveted collaborations alike. However, included in the drop list are the Atmos x Nike Air Max 95 and Air Max 1 from the Supreme Animal Pack (dubbed the 2.0’s). To the average consumer or recent sneakerhead, these releases will probably peak their interest – hyped, hard to get popular Nike shoes. However, for the OG sneakerhead holding onto their original 2006 pair of 1’s, they may not be as pleased. The Animal Air Max 1’s are currently listed on Flight Club for $2,375 – crazy money. I feel that by Nike rereleasing some of these models it takes away from what that shoe meant back in the day and even now! It deteriorates their value.

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If you’re into sneakers and pay attention to sneaker blogs and Instagram accounts, you may have noticed that more reissues, like the ones mentioned above, are coming. After 17 years, Nike is bringing back the Air Force 1 B ‘Hong Kong’, as well as the Air Force 1 Low ‘Taiwan’.

In my opinion, these shoes represent a period of time and should be left there. The brand should be looking forward, not backwards, in terms of new technologies and materials. To be fair to them, Nike has shown a lot of promise in terms of looking forward – for example, the release of the Vapormax tooling, now being used on a variety of hybrid models like the Vapormax plus and the Vapormax 97’s.

But hey, who can blame Nike for taking advantage of  a booming sneaker industry, the Swoosh raking in $32.2 billion in 2017. Especially in the Air Force 1 department, with Nike pushing the resurgence of the model (despite it never going out of fashion) at the end of 2017. Furthermore, the creps of the past may have aged. Midsole crumbling and flat air bubbles are common ageing processes for a lot of Nike models, and the reissues offer an opportunity for collectors to swipe up a pair of their favourite trainers that are actually wearable!

Let me know what you think!