Curated By Rhys: The Sneaker Round Up - April
It’s April 2018, moreover early May when you’re reading this. April has been littered with Sneaker Releases. I am Rhys, (Curated by Rhys) you may know me and maybe have read some of my work. I am here to present a Sneaker Round Up for April. The releases I was feeling, I wasn’t and most importantly what I picked up and spent money on, let's begin.
Curated By Rhys: The Sneaker Round Up - April
I enter April with one sneaker in mind, a classic, one I have waited for a re-release carefully, hopefully allowing myself the opportunity to pick them up at retail. I am of course talking about the Air Jordan 1 Shadow, my favourite AJ1 OG colour-way. The black and grey hues work seamlessly well together and allow this to be one of the most wearable Jordan 1’s in circulation.
Fortunately for myself, the Jordan 1 Shadow’s were reasonably available in my city at least both End Clothing and Footlocker received an allocation. I woke up at 10am on the 14th of April made a few phone calls and managed to pick up my desired size via a local Footlocker. Now I am reasonably well versed with Jordan 1’s, I have had some more than noteworthy pairs through my hands. I am talking Shattered Backboards, Bred’s, Royal’s and the recent OFF-WHITE collaboration to name a few. And without a doubt this is one of most well made Jordan 1’s in a long time.
The leather throughout the sneaker is plush, its soft and beautifully finished, irrespective of this being the black panelling which features a full grain leather, or the grey areas which are lightly tumbled. This being coupled for the modest retail price of £129, you’d be a fool not to pick them up as they currently only sit a little above retail value at around £145-170 on the resale market.
2018 appears to be a return to form for Nike and Jordan Brand the outputs have been strong and consistent, whether this is through the guise of a collaboration or an inline release. We have been treated with some fantastic pairs and I only hope this continues. The Shadow’s I have worn regularly following my purchase, they are versatile and can be easily paired with a majority of different outfits, a sneaker that wearable should be a mainstay in anyone's wardrobe if anything just to make life and decision making a little easier. The leather has held up well, light creasing is to be expected, but this is simply character building. With that being said the comfort is fairly consistent as well, by no means rivalling Adidas Boost but they fit the foot well and offer a bed of cushioning and support throughout.
Although April offered a lot. The only sneaker I got round to picking up were indeed the Jordan 1 Shadows. I’ll now progress into pairs that were noteworthy throughout April, to myself at least. I’ll give you the lowdown and moreover my opinion on the release and the sneaker as a whole.
New Balance M990NB4
One of the stars of April was in the form of a commemorative New Balance M990NB4. The M990NB4 was released on April 12th with a total of 1500 units being in circulation globally. The UK saw 100 Pairs available via an online raffle at End Clothing. The release paid homage to the original New Balance 990 which saw a retail price of $100. So not only were New Balance offering a limited sneaker and a pretty cool one at that they were slashing the £175 retail price and offering consumers the chance to pick them up for £72. The sneaker which many would regard as the original dad shoe or a norm-core staple featured the typical grey concrete hues which have made the 990 Famous.
The largely grey upper was contrasted well with Navy detailing and hits throughout, this is prominent on the mesh underlays at the sneakers toe-box, the outline of the New Balance branding and the Stitched heel detailing which showcased the 990’s inception EST 1982.The upper was present on top of a New Balance ENCAP sole unit which provides a balance between comfort and stability and is perfect for those who wish to run or use the sneaker for everyday casual use. In short, this was a fantastic release, from the sneaker itself to the associated activation which saw eventss in major cities paying homage to New Balance and the 990 series of silhouettes. This is a sneaker I would have loved to have picked up in April, it's been a while since I’ve worn a New Balance and I’d like to get reacquainted. The aftermarket is somewhat modest if we take the current retail price of this sneaker into account of £175, on eBay at the moment you can pick up a pair for between £200-250 dependent on desired size and availability. This being something I am heavily considering, as I believe I could pick up a limited edition pair which has a little extra flair and are likely to hold value, in comparison to a mainline New Balance 990 at least.
Yeezy 500 Desert Rat Blush
Arguably one of April’s most anticipated and hyped sneakers was in the form of Kanye West’s continuing collaboration with Adidas, this time presented in the Yeezy 500 Desert Rat, blush colour-way. This is a sneaker I was quite vocal about approaching release, seeing images online did little to showcase the level of detail and quality of materials on this sneaker. Which I was somewhat taken aback by when I had the opportunity to see them in the flesh. The sneaker fits the current trend of chunky and dad appropriate footwear. It is present with an obtuse sole which bulges and accents in different directions throughout the sneaker, this paired with a premium long-haired suede and mesh upper creates an interesting and on-trend look. If you were to imagine an ATV Bike in sneaker form I’m pretty sure the Yeezy 500 would be the result. Initially, I was dismissive of the sneaker not particularly feeling the press shots and the stills Adidas had released online to market the release. In hand, it's a different story, the sneaker is premium, offers a unique look at an accessible price point both at retail and on the aftermarket. The Yeezy narrative has developed consistently as Kanye stated in an earlier interview, this, of course, regards the availability of his sneakers and how in the future, the future being here and now everyone would have the opportunity to own a Yeezy.
I believe this is now the case, as release on release the quantities and units have typically increased. This being felt more so with this release than others as they were reasonably accessible if you put a modicum of effort into picking them up at retail and even failing that you can pick up a deadstock Yeezy for sub £200. Imagine saying that in 2015 people would react in the same way as they react to Kanye’s recent tweets now. The Yeezy 500 Desert Rat is certainly not a bad sneaker or one I particularly dislike, I am indifferent about it but happy it allows people who may not have had the means or opportunity to get a 350 or a 350v2 a relatively cool sneaker for a reasonable price in today's market.
Puma Thunder Spectra
Puma has certainly garnered some of the spotlights in 2018 whether this is for outrageous and insensitive campaigns and activations or on trend sneakers. April has been a particularly strong month for Puma which saw the reissue of Puma’s RS Technology in three differing silhouettes, this was a mere sideline to the main event which was the Puma Thunder Spectra which saw release on the 28th April. I don’t think I have ever witnessed such influencer push and marketing for a sneaker in a long time. Social Media platforms were flooded with people supporting this sneaker and almost goading it into victory and trying as hard as possible to make it a success. The sneaker features a stacked sole which is very reminiscent of Balenciaga’s famed Triple S runner.
Atop of the sole unit is a mixed materials upper which features a prominently black full grain leather and black mesh throughout. This is accented with lime, red and teal hits throughout the sneaker which sits mix with the nubuck and suede accents on the sneakers midfoot. The Thunder Spectra features minimal branding with the Puma logo running through the mid-foot and details being present on the tongue and heel pull tabs. At first glance I thought the silhouette was a combination of a Prada Americas Cup and a Balenciaga Triple S. Being honest I haven’t made my mind up on the silhouette, I don’t love it but I can’t quite say I hate it either. My main issue with the sneaker is more over the activation and the support it's receiving. I by no means have a playground mentality when it comes to sneakers. If I like the silhouette or the colour-way I’m going to wear it irrespective of the brand, I am well versed with Diadora and Saucony but I just can’t get behind this release. I’m just not a fan of faked enthusiasm for personal gain, especially when you have an influence. The sneaker isn’t massively wearable with the combination of colours and the silhouette isn’t exactly pretty in comparison to other offerings in the bulky or dad shoe trend. I feel as if many were over-invested in the sneaker and wanted to do anything for it to succeed and sell out - as in 2018 that’s what regards a sneaker being a success: it has to sell out minutes after release. Which to Puma’s credit it did and people seem to want them. I was shocked when I even logged on to Stock X and seen that it was reselling on average for $250. Maybe this trend isn’t for me and that’s why I can’t understand or grasp this sneakers appeal, but FairPlay for Puma for this output, it has evidently been a success and I can’t recall the last time a Puma Sneaker sold out which wasn’t a collaboration. If we were to remove the Puma branding throughout this would improve the sneaker tenfold for me. Even though the branding is minimal it does little to improve the sneaker and when the sneaker is already quite loud in design and colour the branding only further detracts from the appeal.
Without the branding, this sneaker could be mistaken for the output of a luxury fashion house as the inspiration was drawn from the late Alexander McQueen and his outputs via Puma. Its inoffensive but it certainly hasn’t reinvented the wheel as many have pertained it to do so.
Nike MK2 Tekno
I’ll end this months sneaker
The MK2 Tenno released in two colour-ways they are as follows. A predominantly white upper with an orange accent at the lower heel and a contrasting black upper with a lime green accent on the lower heel. Both are presented with a number of Nike swooshes throughout the sneaker with two being present on the mid foot, one accenting on the mesh tongue with associated Nike Text and even one adorning the toe box and the front reaches of the sneakers outsole. I quite like this sneaker, I didn’t when the first images surfaced but I have seen a number of pairs on feet and they’re cool. For the modest retail price of £90 and the level of construction I’d be happy to pick up a pair when they release in mens sizes. It’s sometimes easy to be cynical and dismissive immediately especially when you’re looking and thinking about sneakers every waking moment but these are refreshing.
I feel as if the thought has went into the design and the output and that they haven’t just rehashed a classic for a quick release to corner and provide an offering against other brands. After all, you could say this is the sneaker that brought Kanye West back to twitter with YE making a comparison between the MK2 Tekno and his own Yeezy 700 Wave Runner offering. As for the aftermarket pricing of the MK2 Tekno if you’re indeed chasing a pair it may be advisable to wait for another colour-way as resale at present is around the $250 mark which is quite steep considering the modest $100 retail price.
As always I would love to hear your thoughts and opinions on the above sneakers and moreover what you picked up throughout April. I’ll see you at the end of May which is already shaping up to be quite a month for releases with a few already catching my eye.