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United States
TEN: The Enthusiast Network
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access_time3 min.
sneaker pimp

The case can be made that this whole sneaker “thing” we’re living in right now—the sleepouts, the money, the -Cons, the blogs, the Instagram accounts, the books and yes, this very magazine, are owed to one man: Michael Jordan.What a thrill, then, when our friends at Jordan Brand reached out with an offer to sit down with the man himself. We know a few people who were privy to the conversations, and apparently Mike chose us as the American outlet he wanted to give an interview to around the launch of the Air Jordan XX9. Man, did we Jump at that (I’ll be here all year, thank you very much). Obviously any right-minded media outlet would take advantage of that opportunity whenever it was presented, but the timing for us,…

access_time6 min.
most wanted

“KOBE! KOBE! KOBE!”The chant fanned out like fire-flames amidst the 17,000 NBA devotees packed inside the MasterCard Center in Beijing, China, where the Los Angeles Lakers were playing the Golden State Warriors in the first of their two pre-season exhibition games in the country last October. Fans had focked to the arena, presumably with allegiances to both teams. When it came down to it, though, attendees in every color jersey started chanting Kobe’s name.Thing is, Bryant wasn’t in the game at the time. Matter of fact, he wasn’t even dressed for the game. The future Hall of Famer was on the bench in a business suit, still nursing his healing Achilles tendon. The chants rained down nevertheless.Outside the arena, following the 100-95 Warriors win, Beijing briefly turned into a bizzaro…

access_time2 min.
old and new testaments

Bobbito Garcia is the Ossie Schectman of sneaker culture.Just like the man who scored the first-ever basket in the NBA, Garcia launched and landed the shot that would ignite and inspire a global paradigm shift. In 2003, his book, Where’d You Get Those? New York City’s Sneaker Culture: 1960-1987, became an urban anthropological game changer.Garcia’s book captured a celebratory era in sneaker history, which emphasized the enjoyment of looking down to see what was up, turning the author’s vast knowledge and ardor into a sociological thesis on sneakers. Garcia, who has written for SLAM almost since our inception, explains, “If things are cool or important to one person, there are spaces and platforms to share these passions.”Ten years, multiple printings and many thousands of copies later, WYGT? has been gently…

access_time2 min.
hot stove league

On paper, the job demands of chef and ball player are similar: Stamina to be on their feet for hours; public critiques on a nightly basis; and increasing thought given to what sneakers they wear with their uniforms.Traditionally, chefs wore clogs or Crocs, with the assumption that this footwear offered firm traction and protection. “No shoe is going to help when a thing of hot grease falls on you in a kitchen” says Colt Taylor, executive chef at New York’s oldest West Village restaurant, One If By Land, Two if by Sea. Taylor honed his craft in the old style of French kitchens where the dress code is all white— with clogs. When landing his top position, though, this chef switched to Chuck Taylors.While culinary culture does not necessarily shape…

access_time1 min.

NYC Lase, aka Erick Paul, was part of the M.O.T.U.G. “Monsters of the Underground” collective during the zenith of street bombing graffiti art in the ’80s. His renowned crew featured legends Futura, Tkid170, Doze Green, Ghost, Shepard Fairey, Ewok, Ces, Dizmology and Toofy, all of whose work is still selling and relevant. In 2005, hot of a successful downtown art exhibit, Lase was sought out by upstart sneaker company JB Classics. Twenty-four pairs of Motug JB Classics sneakers were produced individually and swiftly sold for $1,500 each. Lase followed up this sneaker equivalent of gold by briefy designing other gems, including the JB Zebras “Love is a Battlefield,” Osiris Bronx NYC Lase, and his personal favorite, NYC Lase-edition Pro-Keds.A hard-headed ’80s kid from the Bronx, Lase walked away from his…

access_time1 min.
digi max

Nike introduced the Elite sock before the ’08 Beijing Olympics, with iconic swoosh on the side and stripe down the back, then blew it out with dozens of colors. The rest is history. And once Nike started pad printing on the socks, it was on and popping. Suddenly a sneaker’s energy fowed to the sock, too. By All-Star Weekend 2012, socks like the Galaxy print made to match the Galaxy Foamposites were as sought-after as the kicks themselves. Next came the Hyper Elite sock in 2013, a more breathable, more cushioned and more compressed update to the Elite 1.0.Now, Nike has found a way to merge advanced technology with far-out designs. The new Nike Elite Digital Ink printing process promises no performance degradation—it won’t crush out the impact protection and…