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CrepCulture – A Year in Sneakers

2019 has had a lot to offer in terms of the sneaker releases, retros and collaborations which we have been treated to by many of the big brands. In this article, I will be sharing my year in regard to which creps I copped to rock, sold and restored, including a few stories along the way. This article is not to be confused with the ‘Best Sneakers of 2019’, which is currently in the works!

I began the year with a bit of a heater, a shoe which actually released towards the end of 2018 but I didn’t get my hands on until February. Originally deemed a Shanghai exclusive the Concepts x Nike ‘Green Lobster’ Dunk SB thew SB fans into a frenzy trying to get secure a pair. The collaboration first released in Shanghai as a surprise drop on the morning of the 22nd of December and then received a slightly wider, but very limited, release on the 28th. I managed to get a pair of the converted Lobsters through an early morning campout and a bit of good fortune! I was actually camping out for a pair of the Concepts ‘Purple Lobster’ Dunk SBs with my brother, Max, at Concept’s Dubai location. We arrived just before 4am with the aim of bringing home two pairs of the Purple Lobsters! After about six hours in line, we were informed that there were hardly any big sizes available, much to the despair of sneakerheads towards the back of the line. Luckily for Max, he got his hands on a pair in his size but took the only UK10. Due to the uproar in the line, the management agreed to give those who missed out on their size first dibs on the stash of ‘Green Lobsters’ which were set to be released. So I put my name down and left empty-handed. About a month later the release date for the green pair was announced but unfortunately, I was back in the U.K. getting on with my studies. Knowing I should have a pair on hold, I sent my dad who was more than willing to wait a little while and bring home the Lobos. He found it hilarious that people in line were photographing each other’s sneakers – a very normal thing in today’s culture. After a bit of negotiation, he got my pair! Unfortunately, the only pair left was half a size big so I actually ended up selling them after failing to swap them for my true size. Out of the rainbow of Concepts Lobster SBs, I have to say the greens are certainly my favourite. Followed closely by the blue and purple colourways.

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The next sneaker I picked up this year was a low key model which also released in 2018. If you read my ‘Best Sneakers of 2018’ article I wrote last year, you will know how much I love the Nike Skylon II. Last year I rocked the purple/pink/white Skylon II’s to death and was keen to get another pair. Coming in at the retail price of £84.95, the model is a no brainer if you want a casual run-around shoe or something to wear for the summer months. In March I bought my second pair in the orange/yellow/white colourway, one which I had had my eye on for some time. I managed to scoop them up off eBay for about £30, an absolute steal for a shoe which received a lot of wear in the following months.

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In May, we witnessed one of the most hyped sneaker releases of the decade. Especially amongst the modern sneaker enthusiast, and in the current climate, people would put this shoe in their top ten list in recent years. We all know about Travis Scott’s relationship with Nike/Jordan Brand by now and his second Air Jordan instalment had people going nuts! The shoe responsible was Travis’ Jordan 1 which featured a colour palette never before seen on the model as well as an outlandish reserved swoosh. At first, sneakerheads were divided but those not in favour must have been swayed by the hype, as you hear nothing but praise for the collaboration today. This was one of those releases that was always going to be near impossible to cop, but somehow I managed it. This will probably irritate some of you reading but I didn’t really try! Dover Street Market came through with the W, and was the only raffle I entered just on that off chance. It’s funny because I never get wins when it comes to modern-day releases but the only two I have both came from DSM. The other pair was the original Off-White Nike Air Max 90’s from ‘The Ten’. Whilst those stayed in the collection, the Travis Air Jordan 1’s did not. The asking price at the time was pretty high so I sold them for cash plus one of the commemorative T-shirts from the drop. Looking back I wish I had held onto them for longer, as they currently go for double what I sold them for! But I was not in the financial condition to do so… student life and all of that.

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Later that month, I picked up probably my most worn pair this year. If you follow me on Instagram you will have seen that I have rocked these non-stop since I grabbed a pair in the Footlocker sales. The pair is the Nike Air Max Plus ‘Grid Yellow’ a re-retro which first released alongside other Grid patterned TN’s in 1999. The pattern on the mesh upper alongside the clear cage make this shoe a showstopper in my opinion. I have also been tempted by the grey/red pair but am yet to pull the trigger. I recently travelled to Australia and my Yellow Grid TN’s were my crep of choice for the trip! The photo below was taken by Max whilst we were in Melbourne.

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2019 has given birth to a revival of many models which had been long forgotten. Nike finally retroed the Tailwind IV and the Air Max Plus III. One model which is not in the same category but has seen a resurgence in popularity is the Air Max 90. Now despite all of this I actually didn’t buy any of the new 2019 Air Max 90’s despite trying to cop a few. Instead, I managed to get a pair of Dave White x Nike Air Max 90’s which were part of the ‘Wet Paint’ Pack in 2005. This is a big grail to many 90 collectors, myself included, and I copped this pair for a major steal of £50 back in June! As is usually the case with any Air Max over the age of ten years, the pair is no longer wearable, due to midsole crumbling but fear not, a restoration is currently ongoing. I had an old pair of Air Max 90’s with a very similar coloured air unit which I have used as a donor. The midsoles have been repainted and the OG outsoles have been attached. The only step outstanding is the reglue of the Dave White upper onto the doner soles, which in truth I am petrified of doing! I will get there eventually. A comprehensive tutorial article will be posted towards the beginning of next year outlining each step of the process, as well as the equipment needed and the overall costs. I have never done a sole-swap before so the article will be aimed more towards beginners, like me, who want to give it a go!

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In August, I picked up my only non-Nike sneaker of the year, the Hypebeast (HBX) x Asics Gel Kayano 5’s. Honestly, Asics have killed it this year with collaborations from Ronnie Fieg, SneakerFreaker, Awake and numerous other high profile brands. Not to mention a variety of incredible GR colourways on some of their more desirable models. The Hypebeast Gel Kayano 5’s were certainly the standout pair for me and after eyeing them up for a while I finally got my hands on them during summer. The bulky 1990’s aesthetic of the model is perfect for today’s streetwear and high fashion inclination, and the materials used on this particular pair are second to none.

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Nike’s Air Max line is my personal favourite thing in creps and over the years I have been collecting each OG colourway of each given model. One of these which I had not yet added to the collection was the OG Air (Max) 180’s in the Ultramarine colourway which originally released in 1991. The Air 180 was the first Air Max to advance past the standard air unit with its air bubble being visible at 180 degrees around the shoe. In October I was blessed by my boy Omar (shoutout to Omarni) with the 2011 retros of the 180’s for my birthday. What a hero! They have got plenty of wear since then, despite the wet conditions at the moment and could certainly do with a cleanup. A few OG colourways still elude me, in particular, the Air Max 360’s… but hey we’ll probably get a retro shortly!

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One month later I copped my next pair and it was a bit of an impromptu one. This was the Gortex x Nike Air Force 1’s in the black colourway. I acquired these on a day out in London with my girlfriend where we spent far too much money and each returned home with a new pair of creps. While I copped the Gortex AF1’s, Lydia got a pair of the Nike Air Max 95 SP ‘Multicolours’ (rainbow slices) which released earlier in the year. I have hardly taken off the Air Forces since I got them! The Gortex and rugged leather upper make this shoe a very durable option for the weather to come in the next few months. I was drawn to this shoe mainly by the orange detailing which is present on the tongue and the heel, and the benefit of using them as a Timberland alternative!

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My final sneaker pick up of the year was probably my favourite of the year. I secured a pair of the new re-crafted Nike Air Max 90’s in the ‘Hyper Purple’ colourway whilst in Dubai for Christmas. When I wandered into Nike DXB I was shocked to see both the purple and the volt colourways of the new Air Max 90’s sitting on the shelves. The purple pair, in particular, has been on my radar since we saw the first images online a few months back so these were a must cop! Whilst I was also tempted by the Volts in the OG colour blocking I am planning on waiting it out for the green pair dubbed the ‘Chlorophylls’. It’s fair to say I left the best till last. The new recrafted 90’s are honestly so much better in hand than they look in photos. The updated shape is beautifully done and makes the shoe feel much sleeker compared to the bulkier 90’s we’re all used to. The box size has been narrowed to match its original 1990 size and the pair comes complete with a Nike hangtag and arch supports. The box, hangtag and arch supports are all purple to match the theme of the sneaker which I think is a great touch from Nike. I can only imagine that the Volt, Blue and Green pairs, as well as the OG Infrared, will all release with similar packaging in their designated colours. This is such a good release, and the fact I was able to secure a pair two weeks before they drop in the U.K was pretty cool!

So that is my year in sneakers!

What did you pick up this year? Let me know what your personal favourite pickups were of the year by commenting below, or through Instagram @crepcultureblog

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The Resurgence of the Nike Air Max 90

Prior to 2019, the Nike Air Max 90 was going through a rough patch. While the model has remained somewhat popular amongst enthusiasts, the Air Max 90 has been cast out of the limelight in recent years. The popularity of the shoe has been at a low, and other Air Max models such as the 97 and 98’s have soared in demand in comparison. This is mainly due to the fact that the 90 has almost been neglected by Nike. The general release colourways were poor, and there had not been any collaborations on the model for a very long time. This lack of buzz surrounding the model had knock-on effects in the secondary markets, and as a result, the market for Nike’s Air Max 90 was almost dead. I remember seeing people struggling to sell some proper grail status 90’s during this time for hundreds of pounds less than what they were worth. We’re talking about some of the best; Tounge & Cheeks, Kaws, Warhawks… it was crazy. While sellers struggled to move their pairs, people looking to buy the model could find amazing steals. I took advantage of this and was able to find my personal grail, the Nike Air Max 90 x DQM ‘Bacon’ (2004) in my size and in amazing condition. I bought this pair in 2017 and paid no more than £140… I still can’t believe it. You’ll have to excuse me because I feel like I bring up my pair of Bacon’s every time I mention an Air Max 90, but they are number one in my opinion. Anyway moving on!

I also want to add that even though I’ve said the last few years have not been exciting for the 90’s, there have been a few one-off standout releases. There have been a few decent GR’s and QS’s, for example, the Halloween Air Max 90’s which released in 2014 along with a few nice colourways of the ‘Ice’ quick strikes.

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Nike Air Max 90 ‘Halloween’ worn by @william_nikelondon, shot by @amieejerrard

Obviously, Nike’s Air Max 90 debuted in 1990, meaning next year, 2020, is the models 30th Anniversary. If you think back to 2017 when Nike celebrated the Air Max 1’s 30th Anniversary, it’s hard not to get excited about what is to come next year. Air Max month in 2017 had it all; retros of OG colourways, new Air Max models, the ‘Vote Forward’ campaign, the Atmos elephant retro! I honestly cannot wait to see what Nike will give us for the anniversary of one of their most iconic models. This year, Nike has already started pushing the Air Max 90 in preparation for 2020, and the buzz around the model has already begun.

The Air Max 90 madness began in March when Nike dropped the ‘Mars Landing’ Air Max 90’s. This was a follow-up release from the famous ‘Moon Landing’ 90’s which are one of the most eye-catching Air Max’s you will see, constructed of a fully reflective 3M upper. Given the popularity of the Moon Landing’s, sneakerheads went crazy for this release and we saw an AM90 sell out for the first time in years (with the exception of the Off-White collaborations, which I have discounted due to the hyped nature of all Off-White x Nike drops). The release of the Mars Landing 90’s proved just to be a taster of the hype we would witness surround the model to come.

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Nike Air Max 90 ‘Mars Landing’ by @sole_obsession

A retro of the ‘Python’ Air Max 90’s, which originally released in 2003, came next at the start of June. All features of the shoe were kept true to their OG form, and the pair flew off shelves! They were released alongside a green Python colourway which proved just as popular. Each colourway has since been restocked so if these take your fancy you can still get your hands on them.

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Nike Air Max 90 ‘Green Python’ by @pattajunky

Later in the same month, Nike celebrated Pride Month with a commemorative pack of shoes called the BETRUE pack. The pack consisted of an Air Max 720, Air Tailwind 79, Zoom Pegasus Turbo and an Air Max 90, which proved to be the more desirable of the bunch. The pair had a multilayered swoosh in different colours of the LGBTQ flag as well as a bold yellow heel wedge.

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Nike Air Max 90 ‘BETRUE’ by @juttenutte

In June we were treated to a very special release comprised of two pairs of Air Max 90’s, the ‘Mixtape Side A/Side B’ collection. This set of sneakers was inspired by the days before streaming services and CDs. One pair, dubbed ‘Side A’ features a clean white and grey upper with yellow accents. If you’re looking for a pair with crazy details, look no further! The attention to detail on this pair is amazing. On the tongue, you will see embroidered text reading ‘Side A’ as well as ’33 1/3′ RPM, which is the speed at which a record plays.

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Nike Air Max 90 ‘Mixtape Side A’ by @lowricrook

This is the same story as the ‘Side B’ pair, but instead with a contrasting colourway featuring an all-over covert black and grey makeup. On the outsole of both shoes, you will discover a ‘Tracklist’ (in keeping with the theme of the pack) which lists eight iconic Air Max 90 colourways. These are; ‘OG Infrared’, ‘King of the Mountain’, ‘Anniversary Cork’, ‘Moon Landing’, ‘Lemon Frost’, ‘Untold Truth’, ‘OG Ostrich’ and ‘BRS Powerwall’. In my opinion, these are the heavy hitters from this year’s surge of Air Max 90 releases, in particular, the ‘Side B’s’. I was gutted not to get a pair for retail when they released! That being said, the resale price has dipped a little bit in the last month or so. The only pair for me which competes with these will come a little further down the list!

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Nike Air Max 90 ‘Mixtape Side B’ by @emilyhol_x

‘Viotech’ is a term for a colourway which is used from time to time by Nike on various different models. In 2002 the Swoosh brought us the Viotech Nike Dunk low featuring an array of primary and secondary colours in a mismatched colour block scheme. In 2003, an Air Max 1 dubbed ‘Viotech’ was released in collaboration with Tokyo based sneaker boutique, Atmos. This different type of Viotech incorporated a variety of neutral tones and a bold purple swoosh. This year, Nike dropped two Air Max 90’s using the original 2002 Viotech Dunk colour scheme with an upper composed of vibrant suede. Enthusiasts went crazy for the distinctive pairs and both 90’s dropped in August, making them one of the better summer releases of the year. The second colourway (2.0) is still available at some stores so be sure to have a look if you like the look of these.

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Nike Air Max 90 ‘Viotech 2.0’ by @shoezen.one

Nike spiced up the return of the Air Max 90 further with the implementation of the model to their ‘Nike By You’ program, the modern-day Nike ID. Not only was the 90 available for customisation, but there was a limited run of Levis options allowing sneaker enthusiasts to use premium materials and colours on their own unique pairs. The response to this design opportunity was enormous, and the Levis/Nike by You options expired after about 5 minutes! People who were quick enough conjured up some pretty remarkable pairs, making those who failed to secure a pair that much saltier! In years gone by, the Air Max 90 probably would not have been the model of choice by Nike to use for a design collaboration this huge. This is one of the reasons perhaps that the popularity of the model has diminished. The drive by Nike this year to propel the Air Max 90 back into popular demand amongst old and new sneakerheads has been amazing. The releases and collaborations thus far have been some of the best of the year, and the boom in adoration for the model has come perfectly in time for its 30th Anniversary next year.

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Levis x Nike By You by @mikeknowsbest

The final set of Air Max 90’s which I want to touch on are hands down some of the best from the year. This pack is, of course, the Basement x Nike Air Max 90’s which consists of three colourways, each representing a different city in the United Kingdom. Nike and the Basement have linked up only once before back in 2017 on pair of Nike Dunk Lows. While the limited Dunk was exclusive to a pop-up put on by members of the Basement collective, the 90’s were widely available at various retailers around the country. The overall theme revolving around this pack of sneakers was ‘Real People Doing Real Things’ and the Basement portrayed this message incredibly well through the construction of each pair.

The first of the three to drop was the ‘Glasgow’ pair on the 5th of October. Arguably the best of the bunch, the shoe featured a fully water-resistant tonal grey upper, with a leather orange tongue and reflective swooshes. The materials on this particular pair were selectively chosen to embody a street-ready shoe for everyday wear. The Basement/Nike logo is embossed on the tongue, another small detail which makes this shoe a scorcher!

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The Basement x Nike Air Max 90 ‘Glasgow’ by @jay.zed_

Next came the ‘Manchester’ Air Max 90’s. This subtle sneaker was reasonably slept-on compared to its other city pack counterparts, but nevertheless, it packs a punch. The Manchester pair of 90’s feature an all-over black upper, made up of water-resistant Codura, which is offset by hits of neon green on the heel-tab and pull-tab. The detail which really sets this pair apart from the others is the use of the Jewel swoosh, rather than the traditional swoosh. This is the first and only time a Jewel swoosh has been used on an Air Max 90 but I doubt it will be the last.

The ‘London’ Nike Air Max 90 was the final instalment of The Basement’s City Pack trio. This pair came complete with a range of premium materials in different tones of grey. Each grey hue on the upper had its own set material, giving the model a different yet harmonious feel across the shoe. The stand out feature on the London pair was the use of interchangeable velcro swooshes, which give the owner a degree of personalisation. This is an element which Nike has deployed on a number of models over the past two years, most notably on the Nike Air Force 1 and the Air Jordan 3. The Basement 90’s arrived with four different swoosh options which only added to the desirability of the collaboration. I mentioned earlier that only one pair competed with the ‘Side Bs’ for my Air Max 90 of the year, and this is it. The London pair from the Basement trio is my favourite from the pack and is honestly close to perfection.

The year as a whole has been an extremely exciting period for fans of the Air Max 90. The buzz has been brought back to the model through various releases, events and collaboration surrounding the icon, that is the Air Max 90. It is fair to say that Nike’s neglect of the shoe is well and truly over! I have seen 2019 to be a bit of a ‘resurgence’ of the Air Max 90, hence the title of this article, as even one year ago no one really cared about it! I understand that popularity and hype surrounding a model doesn’t make it a good shoe but it is nice to see the 90 getting a bit of love once again. This year, despite the madness, has only been a taster of what is to come in 2020. Already, we have been treated to some information regarding the future of the model next year.

In 2017 Nike brought back a remastered Air Max 1 much to the enjoyment of fans of the model. Similarly, next year the Swoosh intend to revisit the Air Max 90 and bring it back in its true OG form with adjustments to the shape, construction and detailing of the shoe. The cut of the toe box and mudguard have been altered to sit more at the height at which they did 30 years ago. The most obvious change to current 90’s is the stitch which runs over the swoosh, which Nike has incorporated on the remastered pairs. Nike is also meant to be recreating the ‘skinny-box’ design which was so prominent throughout the 1990’s – completing that true OG Air Max 90 feel!

So far we know that the sneakers are releasing in their OG Infrared colourway, a must cop for many Air Max nerds like myself, along with Volt, Blue, Obsidian and Teal renditions. A special 30th Anniversary pair with a White/Sail upper will also be available featuring commemorative dubrae’s.

I for one cannot wait for what is to come in 2020 surrounding Nike’s Air Max 90 and I know many of you feel the same way! I also want to say a huge thank you to everyone who sent in photos of their pairs for me to use in this article. For this one, I really wanted to get as many people involved as possible, rather than using stock photos or photos from the big blogs. The response I got back from everyone was immense, so thank you all!

Go and follow:

  • william_nikelondon
  • amieejerrard
  • sole_obsession
  • pattajunky
  • juttenutte
  • lowricrook
  • emilyhol_x
  • shoezen.one
  • mikeknowsbest
  • jay.zed_
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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!