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Constructing the Classics with London Sneaker School

The end of June marked the very first Bespoke Air Max 1 Course offered by the guys at London Sneaker School (LSS). The five-day intensive course began on Monday the 22nd of June and wrapped up on Friday when the three shoemaking students unveiled their final products to a crowd of onlookers. I was lucky enough to be invited down to the workshop over the course of the week to meet the guys, snap some photographs and get a feel for how LSS conduct their sneaker construction lessons. The experience as a whole was so much fun and I learnt a lot just from watching and listening, despite not participating myself.

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Prior to the start of the course, London Sneaker School provides you with a template of an Air Max 1, as well as a list of materials which are on offer to use. This gives you an opportunity to become familiar with some of the leathers and other materials which you will use during your time at LSS. It also means you can come up with some design ideas before stepping into the workshop.

Upon arrival, I was shown through the schedule for the week to follow as well as the impressive underground workshop located in Hackney, London. The three students; Morgan, Danny and Damon each had their own ideas about the direction they were heading in with their own AM1 designs. While for some it was solely an idea in their head, others had exact mockups of what they wanted their shoes to look like.

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Every component of the Air Max 1’s you create during your course at LSS is fully customisable meaning you have complete creative control over your finished sneaker. Even the colour of the outsole, midsole and air bubble can be selected to fit your preferences, achieved by using Nike ID (or By You) soles as donors for your handmade pair.

Some materials available, for example, more stretchy leathers, can be harder to work with, which can prove problematic if it’s your first time using them. However, as part of the course, you first assemble a practice upper of an Air Max 1. You do this in the same fashion as you would if you were making your final piece, serving as a tester to experiment with materials and processes which you will rely on further in the week.

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‘Piet Mondrain’ Nike Air Max 1’s by Damon (@Damonma1)

During the five day course, students are taught everything there is to know about how a sneaker is assembled by hand. This is perhaps the feature of the course which piqued my initial interest, as not only do you end up with your own bespoke’s, but you learn about the fundamentals of shoemaking. The guys were directed through everything from material selection, cutting and sewing, stitching and clicking panels, lasting and sole bonding by Thomas and Jase.

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‘Horween Beast’ Nike Air Max 1’s by Morgan (@Morprime)

While previous experience may play a factor in the outcome of your shoe, it is not necessarily important. The three shoemaking students each had a varying experience when it came to shoemaking, yet each of them left the course with a sublime pair of Air Max 1’s assembled from scratch. While there may be some glue marks or imperfections, this is to be expected. Any handmade product is more than likely to have a few flaws here and there, especially if you haven’t done anything like it before. But these ‘imperfections’ only add to the character of one’s shoe and, in my opinion, serve as a reminder of the experience as a whole.

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‘Kickin’ Off’ Nike Air Max 1’s by Danny (@Dannychillman)

Both Thomas and Jase are excellent teachers and their knowledge of shoemaking is clear from the moment you meet them. After witnessing the course first hand and seeing the final products come off the last I am even more keen to jump onto the course myself. If you share the same excitement as I do and would like to learn how to construct classic sneakers yourself, head over to the London Sneaker School website. At the time of writing this there are three upcoming sessions in the near future which are as follows:

5-Day Shoemaking Course Upcoming Dates:

  • Monday 10th August 2020
  • Monday 14th September 2020
  • Monday 19th October 2020

London Sneaker School Course Dates

Furthermore, the guys at LSS are currently running a giveaway in collaboration with @Morprime giving you the chance to win a spot on their Air Max 1 course for free! Follow the link below to London Sneaker School’s Instagram to enter:

London Sneaker School on Instagram

London Sneaker School Online

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Thanks again to Thomas and Jase for having me down to check out their very first Air Max 1 course! It was great meeting you all and I’m excited to see what the future has in store for LSS.

By Toby Eldredge @CrepCultureBlog 

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Affordable Sneakers for Summer

Who’s not looking for a fresh pair of trainers to break out for the summer? With the warmer months just around the corner, I wanted to put together a list of the best affordable kicks which you can pick up right now. Any of the shoes on this list will guarantee your steezy status at BBQs all summer long.

Nike Air Force 1 Low

The first summer sneaker needs no introduction. Nike’s Air Force 1 has been an everyday staple for millions of people since its inception in 1982. Originally designed to be a performance basketball shoe, the Air Force 1 has been adopted by just about everyone as their number one lifestyle shoe. The model is probably the most versatile on the planet, available in thousands of colour combinations with numerous collaborative cosigns. The durability of the model is another selling point for many people who are after a robust new sneaker for everyday use. The pair below is the recent Supreme collaboration Air Force 1, which is a take on the classic white-on-white Air Force’s. While these are somewhat hard to come by, the standard triple whites are readily available, a shoe which you just can’t go wrong with.

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Supreme x Nike Air Force 1 by @wxbstr

Nike Ghost Racer

Last year, Nike retroed the Ghost Racer, a 90’s running shoe built for long-distance. The lightweight construction of the model, accompanied by a Zoom Air unit in the heel, provides a level of comfort which is second to none. The Ghost Racer screams 90’s aesthetics with its bright neon colour schemes and retro look, a style which is growing in popularity in 2020. Since the retro last year, a variety of colourways are available at most online retailers, giving you a whole range of options. Furthermore, the Ghost Racer Retro’s are currently on sale, hence their inclusion on my list of affordable summer sneakers. If you are after a pair of these standout 90’s runners, you can pick them up right now for £55, a markdown of almost 50% from their retail price. Retailers such as END, Size? and Hanon still has them in stock so make sure you grab a pair before they all go.

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Nike Ghost Racer by @crlsslvdr

Nike Air Zoom Spiridon Cage 2

In my previous article, I touched on Nike’s newest retro, the Air Zoom Spiridon Cage 2. This model was reintroduced by Stüssy on their most recent collaboration and now Nike is pumping out numerous colourways of the model. The upper is constructed out of an enlarged mesh canvas adding an aspect of breathability to the shoe, and the Zoom Air unit in the heel makes for an extremely comfortable ride. The Spiridon Cage 2’s come in at the retail price of £119.95 however at present there are plenty of discount codes available which can be used to secure your pair. Nonetheless, £120 seems like a pretty reasonable price for the technically superior runners! I have recently copped a pair and I cannot recommend them enough!

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Nike Air Zoom Spiridon Cage 2 by @CrepCultureBlog

Air Jordan 1 Low

Everyone loves an Air Jordan 1. The historic Nike basketball sneaker is, of course, Micheal Jordan’s first signature shoe which originally released in 1985 during his rookie season at the Chicago Bulls. While many OG collectors would stay away from the low and mid-cut versions of the Jordan 1, there has recently been a surge in popularity for both. In this category, my recommendation for an affordable summer sneaker would be a low cut Jordan 1. Not only is the shoe an icon in its own right, but is also very reasonably priced. For a pair of Air Jordan 1 Lows, you would be looking to pay £85 making them a very affordable option for those on a budget. Once again, the model is readily available at numerous retailers, as Nike continues to release different colourways. The price of the AJ1 low is similar to that of a Nike Air Force 1 or an Adidas Stan Smith, putting them in the same cost-effective category. If these simplistic low tops take your fancy, you can get hold of a pair on the Nike website, Size? and Footlocker, just to name a few. As mentioned above, the Jordan 1 Lows have a newfound adoration amongst sneakerheads so certain colourways have a tendency to sell out. Make sure you scoop a pair before then or keep an eye on @CrepCultureBlog on Instagram for the latest releases of the model.

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Air Jordan 1 Lows by @nineteen.85

Nike Air Max 90

2020 marks the 30th anniversary of the Nike Air Max 90 and the sportswear titans have been going all out in an effort to give fans of the model what they want. As a result, we have been treated to a whole rainbow of colourways of the Air Max 90, many of them staying true to the OG colour blocking of the model. There is a colourway for every occasion, meaning the options are limitless. My personal favourites which have released thus far are the ‘Hyper Grape’ (purple) and the ‘Volt’ pairs, but I am waiting it out in anticipation for the OG ‘Infrared’ pair in its remastered form. The Air Max 90 is a more aggressive, more defined version of its predecessor which retails for £115 in the U.K. However, as Nike have been releasing colours of the shoe since the beginning of the year, you can find particular pairs on sale right now for £85. Most of the major retailers have sales on at the moment and the Air Max 90 is included in the majority of these summer discount sales. If you ask me, £85 is a bit of a steal for a shoe with such an important history and one which provides the utmost comfort for everyday wear. I own the ‘Hyper Grape’ pair and I absolutely love them.

Nike Air Max 90’s by @dregoppy 

Reebok Club C

Whenever I am asked for sneaker recommendations from my non-sneakerhead friends, I have two go to’s. The first, mentioned above, is the Nike Air Force 1. The second is the Reebok Club C. The Club C is one of Reebok’s most popular models and has made a come back over the last few years. The low cut shoe provides a sleek, casual look making the Club C a versatile model which can be dressed up or down, kept brand spanking new or beaten up. Much like the Air Force 1, the Club C is available in a whole range of different colourways and materials. My recommendation would be to go for the OG colourway of the model, an all-white variation which green accents, however at the time of writing this, Reebok has released a new pack of Club C’s. The pack features three versions of the model, each in a striking yet simplistic colourway. The green pair is very close to the OG, while the red and yellow pairs provide a fresh modification to this old school colour blocking. Priced at £69, you really cannot go wrong with a new pair of Reebok Club C’s for summer.

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Reekbok Club C by @end_clothing

So there you have it, my reccommendations for afforable summer sneakers. Out of the six pairs included on the list, the Nike Air Force 1, Air Jordan 1 and the Reebok Club C’s fall into a similar category. While perhaps not designed solely for comfort, each model is a reasonably priced, readily available sneaker. These shoes are some of the most versatile on the market and make a great addition to any rotation. In contrast, the other three sneakers on the list are more comfort orientated. The Nike Air Zoom Spiridon Cage 2, Nike Ghost Racer and Nike Air Max 90 all provide an exceptional level of comfort however are probably less versatile options. These pairs would work very well in a sneaker rotation which also consists of another pair on the list, perhaps the Air Force 1 or the Club C.

Let me know if you end up picking up any of the pairs on my summer sneakers list! Make sure tag me on Instagram @CrepCulture Blog for a chance to be featured.

Shoutouts:

@wxbstr

@crlsslvdr

@nineteen.85

@dregoppy

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London Sneaker School: A Sneaker Revolution

Sneaker popularity over the last ten years has expanded at an unprecedented rate and now, what started out as a subculture intertwined with music, sport and skateboarding has blown up into a leading economic industry. At the same time, we live in an age of growing creativity amongst young people, where individuals want to create and learn about processes which may result in their favourite pair of shoes. Luckily for us, learning these skills is no longer out of reach, as professionals of the art have moved in a more transparent direction when it comes to sharing their knowledge.

In a movement which began primarily in the US, sneakerheads now have the opportunity to have hands-on experience in the process of shoemaking by deconstructing and reconstructing iconic kicks. For the first time, this once in a lifetime experience is available in the UK as of last week. London Sneaker School (LSS) is the collaborative effort of a team with over 15 years of shoemaking experience, founded this year by Jase Cooper and Thomas Rowe (pictured below). Their aim is to develop LSS into a platform which teaches people about the ins and outs of sneaker assembly while bridging the gap between product and consumer. For the most part, the sneakers we wear on our feet are manufactured thousands of miles away on the other side of the world. This is something which the team at LSS are attempting to overcome, believing that “bringing production closer to home opens up new opportunities for creativity and expression by understanding our sneakers on a new level”.

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How it works.

London Sneaker School will be offering a range of five-day intensive shoemaking courses, the dates and details of which being posted on their Instagram (@londonsneakerschool). The first course has already been announced and has sold out, due to take place on the 22nd of June 2020. This first set of students will learn how to make a pair of Nike Air Max 1’s using a range of modern and traditional techniques under the guidance of experts at LSS. The classes are kept to a maximum of four students per shoemaker in an effort to maximise your time shared with the professionals. A range of leathers and materials are available to use in order to craft your ideal pair of Air Max 1’s, allowing a substantial level of customisation creativity. At the end of the five-day course, you will have learnt how to use tools and machinery, gained a knowledge of the processes as well as go home with your own 1 of 1 Air Max 1’s!

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Whether you’re an experienced sneaker customiser or a novice enthusiast, you will be catered for at LSS. The courses accommodate for everyone, so previous skill or experience is not required whatsoever! If you’re looking to deepen your footwear industry knowledge, start your own brand and want more insight or just want your own handcrafted sneakers, their courses are for you.

The sneaker making courses offered at LSS are available for the price of £1700, which can be paid upfront or in instalments over three months. When comparing the price to other similar programmes, this course is one of the more economical if you consider what you get out of the five days. One similar programme was introduced by popular sneaker customer and designer, The Shoe Surgeon, in 2018. His courses were based in Los Angeles and cost $3,000 (around £2,460), a substantially higher price than that at LSS. The Nike Bespoke programme is another sneaker customisation outlet costing £1,000 and allows you to design your own Air Max 1 or Air Force 1’s. The programme enables you to get up close and personal with materials, patterns and colour pallets. However, the Bespoke programme does not teach you how to craft your own sneakers, instead, you design them and Nike put them together for you! Furthermore, NikeLab is no longer offering Bespoke appointments in London, meaning it is only available in the US. Today, London Sneaker School have announced their next course dates. Their follow up session will take place on the 10th of August 2020 at their workshop in Hackney, London.

For more information on LSS, their next course dates and how to get involved, follow the link below to their website. I have also linked their Instagram account down below so you can stay up to date.

London Sneaker School online – www.londonsneaker.school

London Sneaker School Instagram – instagram.com/londonsneakerschool