Yer Playin’ Yerself

It’s 2006 and muthafuckers still don’t know when they’re playin’ themselves, so let’s set the record straight. (Note: this is for true sneakerheads only – everyone else shouldn’t get they feelings hurt [that means if you have less than 20 pairs of kicks, don’t take it personal]) Read it, learn it, memorize it, meditate on it – but whatever you do, don’t be rocking any of the joints on the following list:


I don’t care if Phil Knight embossed his asshole on the lower right corner, the madness has got to stop. Specialty and limited edition Dunks are ruining what is truly a magical shoe. And Nike has the nerve to continually release colorways that defy the very reason why it was so cool in the first place: two-tone colorings. When you eliminate the two-tone element, it’s just another AF1 (and don’t worry, we’ll get to those joints). What makes a limited edition so damn hot-to-death anyway? You know what’s truly limited edition? Copping a joint, putting it on ice for a few years while everyone is killing it, then rocking ‘em once the hoopla has died down.

Air Force 1s
Despite whut some might say, the AF1 is dead to me. This goes triple-doubly so for white-on-white’s and black-on-black’s. I have never understood the allure of colorless shoes. Shit, even the Stan Smith had a smattering of green! I mean, what are you, a referee? Even a white-with-black-swoosh is borderline-acceptable…. As per limited editions/special releases, all that shit is played the fuck out. Who cares? The only “limit” in “limited editions” is in yer goddamn mind… The only AF1 that gets a pass is the High-top – stop playin’ yerself with Mid’s….

Any Air Jordan Retro released this year
As dope as the recent retro’s may be (and make no mistake – they dope!), sometimes you gotta show a li’l restraint. Of course you’ve got every Jordan since _____, but that doesn’t mean you have to tell everyone. And if you’ve got so many J’s, why not go into the back catalogue to show a li’l bit of class? Sometimes taste is in whut you choose NOT to rock, hard though this may be to believe….

And 1’s/Puma’s
The And 1’s should be self-explanatory, but if it ain’t, I’ll explain…
It’s called the “New York rule”: as in, if no one in New York City is wearing it, forgetaboutit. Cuz in NYC even the bums are rockin’ ’95 air max…. (seriously, I’m not making that up – ‘least for one bum I saw), and FYI, NObody rocks And 1’s in NYC…..

As for Puma’s, only girls and men who wear Seven-jeans rock Puma. I mean, they ruined the Puma State by making a slip-on version!?! If you’re a girl, you get a pass – everyone else, take them shits off!

adidas Shelltoes
good lord this shoe is played out. The shelltoe should strickly see indoor-use, if you wanna wear it…. Sure, it’s a classic/staple, but somehow it hasn’t marinated to Chuck-Taylor status quite just yet. Check back in fifty years, then we’ll give it a pass.

All Shox (except the R4, the BB4, the NZ, and VCs 1 thru 3)
let’s face it, with a few exceptions, Shox are ugly. The technology wuz cool, the commercials funny, but after the first wave, Shox started eating ass. That Total-Shox joint could only be big in NYC (note: the corollary to the “New York rule” is that NYC will cop ANY expensive Nike, no matter how ugly), and all the variations they’ve tried have failed since the OG R4 (save the NZ)…. But you can’t blame Nike for trying, only the cats that get suckered into buying….

Rick Kang

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  1. Quote: ‘(Note: this is for true sneakerheads only – everyone else shouldn’t get they feelings hurt [that means if you have less than 20 pairs of kicks, don’t take it personal])’

    Quote: ‘Sure, it’s a classic/staple, but somehow it hasn’t marinated to Chuck-Taylor status quite just yet. Check back in fifty years, then we’ll give it a pass.’


  2. I guess it depends where you’re from but some sneakers are simply classic regardless of the current fashion trends. I mean shelltoes..c’mon..

    Shelltoes are classic and reminiscent of the early B-Boy years and golden era of Hip Hop. It is a staple of street culture..unique and versatile yet affordable and unlike other styles, it fits comfortably with everything from skirts to sweatpants. If you’re from the northeast your statements would come off as ludacris. It is not played just haven’t figured out how to make it your own and create your own style. It’s not necessarily what you rock..but how you rock it…so if you can’t rock it don’t knock it.

    As for single colored kicks…there is a purpose for them. They bring together a busy look and compliment bright tones. Besides nothing glows more than some pearl whites under the cuff of your favorite jeans.

    Airforce 1’s..or uptowns..I feel look best all white or in basics. They are a clean cut shoe. Forces and a button down is a whole lot classier than with chucks. They are a necessary style and give an outfit the impression of being clean cut.

    Also..if all those sneakers are played out..then what are you expecting these 20+ pair fanatics to buy? Vans? Most sneakers excluded from the list seem to be spinoffs of the latter.

    I understand why some of the kicks got on the list but classics are classics to me.

  3. Reissues killed the Superstar. It was the rarity of fresh ogs that made them dope.

    What’s played is hype. You got that part right. Hype is playing good kicks right out the door. Streetwear is played the funk out like 8ball jackets.

    Puma? You ain’t on it son. Step out of the mall and take a look around the globe. The good Pumas aren’t generally released in the US.

    Played- Onitsuka Tiger retro’s, Court Force (hi and lo), Methamphibean, SBTG, et al. (big name customizers), Lasered Jordans/AF1s.

    AND/1s………hahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahhaaaaa….. but the kids love em!

  4. Rick your wrong on every classic shoe you mentioned.They can’t be played by definition, because they’re..well, they are CLASSIC ! Just like construction Timbs will never go..Jordan’s !? AF1’s ??…wearin’ those since I was knee hi (i’m 26).. dunks were one color before they were two toned..shelltoes, suede Pumas and your chucks – you know all of the aforementioned models are what the industry is based on..they all get a pass.
    The only thing I can say is that you won’t necessarily stand out in the freshest way rockin’ any of them, but you can’t go wrong with ‘em..the plain one’s that is – as for the special colorways, the everyday dude or chick will peep game and appreciate when seein’ sneakerheads in some fly colors walkin’ by.If you hang out wit’ sneaker heads and people who rock streetwear all day that’s one thing but the regular everyday person is who you will definitely stand out among..

  5. P.S. I meant to say they’ve been making them one-tone for a while now but that doesn’t take away from the fact that they’re a tight platform, they stand alone..a sleaker lighter shoe – noticeably different from the AF1.What do you think are some of the kicks that aren’t played ?

  6. Rick,

    This has to be one of the worst pieces on sneaker writing that I’ve ever read. Not only is it poorly-written, but its just drivel. Utter drivel. If you’re gonna be wrong, at least make it readable.

  7. Firstly, what the fuck is all that jive talk about. You are writing in text mate, not working the corner.
    You talk a lot of shit mate. Here in London and the parts of NY where REAL sneaker lovers are, (not hype chasing wankers) Puma is certainly not “played out” They are not all Mostros you cunt.
    Wear what you think is fresh, not what some twat on the internet tells you to.
    “but whatever you do, don’t be rocking any of the joints on the following list:” – You should shut the fuck up mate.

  8. You tool.
    You clearly know fu*k-all about the subject you’re trying to preach about.
    Fools like you should have to pass a literacy test before they’re allowed to use a keyboard.
    Yes Shox & And 1s are shit but they’ve always been shit – therefore they are not ‘played out’.
    Puma Clydes, Suedes, States and Baskets are total classics which will never get tired. The same can be said for SuperStars.
    Who are you to tell anyone what to wear anyway?

  9. I’m glad peeps got opinions, and they’re all right — and all wrong…

    Look, for you AF1 and Dunk-lovers — There’s no question them joints are CLASSIC STAPLES… BUT as Sneakerheads, don’t we have a responsibility to keep things fresher than most? If everyone’s wearing Dunks and 1s, no matter how intriguing the colorway/limited edition, how is that being more fly/fresh?

    My bent is ’90s-era joints, but for me, I’m rotating various Pippen IIs, Foamposites, and LBJ IIIs right now, with neon-green air max ’95s…
    But the choice of kicks — even strickly Nikes — is really limitless… (AF IIIs or IIs, Alpha Forces, Flight ’89s, Maestro’s, Zoom Flight ’95s)
    If you like semi-ol’ skool, why not Trainer Is thru III? How ’bout them Bo’s?
    As for Jordanaires, all I said wuz cats that rep Js should look to they back catalogue instead of instantly rocking the latest Retro’s (which I have copped all of, BTW)…. I’m finally thinking of pulling my XIIIs from the closet this summer, for example….
    SNEAKERHEADs have more shooz than most, and that’s why the burden of extra-flyness rests with us — Live up to the Responsibility…

  10. Guys, Doesn’t OBVIOUS equate to PLAYED OUT? I ain’t mad @ y’all questioning my literacy/sexuality/etc., but really now — if EVERYone is wearing something, is that not the definition of PLAYED?

  11. Aiight guys take a chill..yes I disagreed as well as you can see above but no profanity or semi-threats needed. If it wasn’t worth reading then we all wouldn’t have commented so stop trying to find flaws in the column just because of one particular entry..Sneaker culture varies by region and subcultures so don’t take it too seriously…and good job with the column Rick, you’re really getting people interested!

  12. P.S., I love Italians, Italy, and Italian food…. I worked in an Italian restaurant, and felt Italy wuz the dopest of Euro-countries when visiting (Firenze & Bologna, if you care….) Italians are cool, laid-back, and well-dressed (but Italian House music not so good)….

    That was a tongue-in-cheek dis, but apologies if offence wuz taken… And all the Italian dudes I know rock house-slippers, it’s true — and so do I! Yo, don’t sleep on slippers! That’s the NEXT next….
    Obviously, Italians aren’t all stylistically aligned — but many in Toronto (where I live) DO feel an affinity for Puma… I mean those wrestling-boot joints, not the States or Clydes — which Puma DID ruin by putting out a slip-on version of, BTW…. And if you rep States/Clydes, listen to Co Flow’s Krazy Kings for the state of the nation on those joints….

    Slip-ons verisons of regular kicks are weak, end of discussion…. Buy Vans if that’s whut you like….

  13. Well that is some of the Realest speak I ever did read.

    True that the man is calling out what many have anointed as bulletproof “classics”…. but you can’t argue the logic. It IS the duty of sneaker heads to drive progress in game.
    At some point Nike and Adidas will exhaust the every pantone of the Uptown and Dunk and Superstar in every retarded configuration…and the sneaker culture will be worse off for it.
    How can you argue that?

    These companies have lost sight of what of what progress really means to athletic footwear from both a performance and design standpoint.
    …And we’re feeding that by not creating a demand for HOT progressive joints. Instead, re-cycling the demand of New York culture in 1987. A culture that was driven by lack of supply, and the quest for originality…Not the excess we have today.

    Thank about the designs Nike cranked out from 88-96…or Adidas during the 70’s.

    I dare anyone to name me 10 shoes that will from the past 8 years that have hold any significance in the grand scheme of this culture.
    I can name you fourty from 96 to 85.

    Nuff Said.

  14. Ok, maybe my previous post seemed a little aggressive.
    I don’t really wear Dunks or AF1s (except when i’m doing some DIY) but I also don’t believe that one person should tell others what to wear. Wear what you want!
    There is no “responsibilty for sneakerheads” to wear any particular thing.
    If you appreciate the lesser-seen treats such as the 1990 Air Apparent i’m wearing at the moment then that’s great, if you think white on white AF1s are too common then don’t wear ‘em, simple as that.

  15. man this is funny to me. Why fools gotta be on some female shoe/fashion shit…i mean if you know whats up then u should keep it to your self. cuz in the end y help anybody else look as cool or feel as cool as u do. quit ya bitchin. shelltoes are dope no matter how old they are.and who gives a rats ass about what anyone rocks in new york>Im From l.a. homie. we got and a always had our own shit…..thas ma word!…I do aggree that this whole limited edition is gettin hella boring though——>WooooooW!

  16. giant haystacks! says:

    “Yo, don’t sleep on slippers! That’s the NEXT next….”

    wut? wut?

    your amazing!

    bring back itv wrestling!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

  17. i’m a sneakerhead and i’m sorry, i don’t owe anything to anyone. i wear what i like and that’s that.

  18. dudes, get a f-ing clue… is anybody breaking necks to look at the shoes that even your mama is wearing? try dazzling me with something that’s maybe, oh i don’t know, deadstock?

  19. This was definitely an interesting column to read. Though can you really decide what’s hot and what’s not for everyone? Dunks and 1’s are on point, and the limited editions are what makes them even hotter! If everyone’s walking around in white in whites then that’s fitting into the trend. I someone is walking around in the momma bear dunks, then that’s being unique! Adidas happen to be my all time fav’s. Shell toes will never see what is six feet under the sidewalk. I’m not going to knock this article, but I will say that you’ve done your job by getting the reader’s attention.

  20. Utter, utter gash.

    Behold the prophet of cool … NOT!

    There really should be a law against illiterate motherfuckers using the internet.

  21. first, you said: “It’s called the “New York rule”: as in, if no one in New York City is wearing it, forgetaboutit. Cuz in NYC even the bums are rockin’ ’95 air max…. (seriously, I’m not making that up – ‘least for one bum I saw), and FYI, NObody rocks And 1’s in NYC…..”

    but then you said: “…but many in Toronto (where I live)”
    -Rick Kang

    if you don’t LIVE in NYC, RIGHT NOW, do NOT go and front like you live there. I’m so sick of people who don’t live in new york either using it to make a point or fronting like they know whats up there. I don’t even care if it’s true, if you don’t live there you have nothing to do with whats up there. I don’t even care you go there once a month, you still dont have the authority to make those kinds of decisions. “the one bum I saw”…come on now son, don’t you know hype is regional? write this shit for toronto as you said “where U live”. by the way, have fun rockin old navy flip flops or whatever you’re on these days. goin with the post above me, I hear Bugle Boy might be comin back in 2008 so you might want to get up on that.

    (btw…for the record Bugle Boy is NOT comin back)

  22. Every Human using the Internet says:

    Huff, puff. Well here in [PasteAnyCityHere] we really– REALLY– know what time it is. Did I mention that we know what time it is? We have many clocks here, and watches, too. Son, you’re not even FROM here so [PasteHipsterInsultHere]. When I’m busting my [PasteObscureShoeNameDerivedFromInternetSearchToLookSmartHere] on the weekends, my dead stock [PasteCleverSneakerAbbreviationHere]’s are tucked safe in the box. Never mind they all come from the same factory in [PasteThirdWorldCountryNameHere] as *your* lame shits, because the point is that we can buy them, and you can’t. WE HAVE THEM AND YOU DON’T. It doesn’t matter that the relative value of our nation’s currency is crashing while we shop our brains out, cuz we gots the [PasteRapSlangAdjectivePLUSNounHere] and you don’t. And yes, we DO know what time it is, we can read the time quite proficiently. And our society is highly literate, also. God bless the [PasteCentralBankNameHere]! And get [PasteRudeDirectiveHere], you [PasteDerogatoryTermForNotFashionablePersonHere]!

  23. Re: New York Shit

    I wasn’t jockin’ New York in my New York rule, or PRETENDING I live there — I wuz giving it props as the Sneaker Capital of the world. I don’t pretend to know whut’s hot there in specific — I wuz speaking generally.

    Why so defensive, New York? You’ve a great city, but some of your inhabitants have a Guggenheim-sized chip in their [whatever’s hot in NYC, cuz I obviously don’t know]. Must be the shit-standard-of-living/ barely literate public skool system….

    And don’t get heated, L.A. — your shit is ob’ on point. You got killer stores like Undefeated, TWO Sportie L.A.s, and let’s not forget the Swap Meet Supreme, Slauson’s….

    Toronto is a better place to live str8t up and down, but in Sneaker terms the two above-mentioned cities kill it… and if you didn’t know that, you prob’ly don’t like sneakers….

  24. Doug B — you better be from New York — and I don’t mean you MOVED to New York — I’m talking born-in-one-of-the-five-boroughs….

    Otherwise, your New York defensiveness is weak…. Even if you were born in the Bronx during a Kool Herc set watching Bernard King dunk on the Pistons while eating a Nathan’s shopping at Fulton Mall, you still got it twisted.

    I suppose no one who’s ever visited anywhere has any right to think anything about that place, or pretend to have learning something about it….

    Everybody, don’t visit a city — Doug B decrees that knowing about another place other than that which you live is Region-cide….

  25. WOW…..i read this article copied and pasted on another i come here to see if it shows who wrote the article and lo and behold i was not the least bit surprised…..rick kang?! lmao…..dude looks like a f***in clown……no one should be taking this chump seriously hes a nobody

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