Raising the Dead

Raising the dead is popular this time of year. And if you’re into sneakers, it’s a most-common phenomena – commonly referred to as the “re-issue” or “retro”. But there are some kicks that have yet to be resurrected, for no apparent good reason.

So grab the Book of the Dead, bury ‘em in the Pet Semetary or just start an e-mail petition – however you do it, here are four “dead” sneakers that deserve to live again.

1. Nike Air Zoom Flight ‘95

This joint wuz distinctive when it first came out and remains so today. The bugged-out pods of carbon-fiber at the rear of the shoe are a technology that has never been repeated since (note: Nike did a similar-looking joint back in the early millennium – but the pods weren’t carbon fiber). Many NBA players got nice in them: Timmy Hardaway, JKidd and Damon Stoudamire, to name a few. It even had a high-top version, which got a lot of play on the ’96 Georgetown team. I got a pair of OGs in white/blue, but the black/grey/white colorway remains the elusive pearl….

2. adidas Stan Smith EL

I may be insane, because this shoe apparently never existed. At least, I’ve never found it online. But I used to own ‘em. In ’92, I visited relatives in Seoul, Korea. As a major sneaker-manufacturing center, kicks – bootleg and legit – were plentiful and varied, in color and styles. In one of many booth/shops, I found the Stan Smith EL – part of the adidas originals line (which included the Superstar, and possibly the Cross Country, but I’m unsure of the rest).

The EL wuz a beauty: rich burgundy suede(!) with black metal eyelets, a black sole, and black heel tab, featuring the adidas tre-foil and the words “STAN SMITH EL.” The tongue’s black tab also read “adidas: STAN SMITH EL.” But the best part wuz this: each “stripe” was not one, but three perforated lines (the OG Stan has three “stripes”, each one a perforated line). Also, the EL featured a lower-than-normal starting point for the eyelets, as well a minor toe-piece, where the original has none. Anyone who has a pair to sell (size 12) or just to show some pix of, lemme know!

3. Reebok Rafter/Reebok Kamikaze

Though it pains me to do so, I must admit that even a company like RBK occasionally gets it right. Here are two cases, the first of which is the Reebok Rafter. This was probably one of the cleanest modern-era b-ball ‘boks of all time, and Reebok has had some doozies (Shaqnosis, anyone?). Simple design, with tastefully minimal logo at the ankle, plus a lace-toggle at the back – one of the few shoes to rock a toggle since the Jordan V and VI. Reebok also got right with Shawn Kemp’s first signature joint, the Kamikaze. A ’94 release, pre-round-laces, this joint is still sweet, with its triangular sections and rugged appearance. Though perhaps as busy as the Rafter was simple, the Kamikaze still rocks, especially the Sonics colorway.

If these joints bring back fond memories, or even entice your curiosity, let’s bring ‘em back! I dunno whut we gotta do – e-mail petitions, letters, protests – but these joints need to see the light of day again. The Stan Smith EL alone is worth it.

Rick Kang

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  1. sneakerhound says:

    I have those Reebok Red/Black Kamikaze I 6.5…I had worn the a few times when I first bought them in the 90’s then some friends was clowning me about them and never wore them for years until yesturday…it was a lil snug on my left foot cuz of my surgery but nice on my right…I may just put them up for sale on NSB.ORG or Ebay.

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