The late 90’s was a great period of time to be a sneakerhead. Prices were fair; plenty of selection was available at less than retail pricing, and forward thinking futuristic designs were beginning to emerge.
I remember rocking the black and red Air Pippen 1 in 1997. Its massive red air unit was quite a technological feat. I was also sporting a pair of white UNC inspired Jordan 11s courtesy of my brother Ralph. I also bit the bullet on a pair of silver Air Max 97s (peep that intentional pun in case you missed it), which in my mind defined the futuristic space genre of the athletic runner.
My friends in the retail industry kept the friends and family pricing on tap and sent more good deals my way than any sneaker ‘plug’ appliance could ever provide compared to current times. It terms of sneakers (and life in general), it has always been Friendship>Money. See how many sneaker plugs still want to be your friend after you tell them that.
With an already decent on-foot sneaker rotation in 1997, and a studentesque sneaker budget more tapped out than a MMA submission hold, I did not pull a Liam Neeson in Taken and pursue the 1997 release of the Penny Foamposite. Eric Avar’s Penny Foamposite creation was polarizing in 97, and twenty years later, still remains a polarizing masterpiece.
Check out my Penny sneaks in the snap below. These Pennies have more futuristic ooze than a canister of Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtle mutagen.
Whatcha talking about? Practice? We talking about Pennies.
The epiphany of this article isn’t that I bought a pair of sneakers that I once desired twenty years ago. Instead, it is a realization that as an OG sneakerhead, I still reminisce about the experience of ownership, rather than fall into the hype machine 2000. I mean, how many sneakerheads stardate-twenty years from now, are going to be reminiscing about the time they ‘copped’ a pair of Adidas Ultra Boost from their ‘plug’ at above retail price?
This is the Penny Foamposite on foot; twenty years after its original release date.
And as they say in the sneakerbiz, all good things must come to an end. Whether it’s reliving the glory days about finding all my favourite OG re-releases on sale, or stunting in a pair of Penny Foamposites that I’m too old to rock, the sneaker clock is ticking.
Bone Thugs-n-Harmony most eloquently described what lies ahead at the end of the tunnel with their smash hit Tha Crossroads. Although the song is about the loss of family and friends, it makes reference to a time of reunification at a metaphorical crossroads. For OG sneakerheads, the metaphorical crossroads is arguably more the physical crossroads of father-time. There will come a time for every sneakerhead when they wake up and realize that they simply cannot pull off crazy sneaks, like a pair of blue Penny Foamposites. While my sneaker clock is fast approaching its curfew, I’m not ready to see you at the Sneaker Crossroads just yet.
Cue fading music and enter Bone Thugs-n-harmony’s Tha Crossroads.
Now tell me, whatcha gonna do
When there ain’t nowhere to run
When judgment comes for you, when judgment comes for you
And whatcha gonna do
When there ain’t no where to hide
When judgment comes for you because it’s gonna come for you
See you at the crossroads, crossroads, crossroads
So you won’t be lonely.
See you at the Sneaker Crossroads, Crossroads, Crossroads.