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Courtside Kicks

Courtside Kicks

A Lookback At Some Of The Game’s Prolific Forerunners

Thanks to ESPN’s ‘The Last Dance’ – a docuseries that depicts the mesmerizing star power of five-time MVP Michael Jordan and his team the Chicago Bulls in their ‘90s heyday – basketball’s bygone era has never felt more relevant. With that in mind and given the UK’s new-found affinity for the NBA, we’re digging through our portfolio to shine light on the shoes that first made their debut on the court, comprising the notorious Nike Blazer and adidas Superstar.

Courtside Kicks – History of the Nike Blazer:

In 1973 sportswear newbie Nike was a mere nine years of age when it launched the new kid on basketball’s block, the Nike Blazer. Dubbed the ‘Nike Blazer’ in tribute to local team the ‘Portland Trail Blazers’, the sneaker was specifically tailored to bolster game play, possesing supple leather in its upper, nylon and breathable mesh in the tongue and a robust vulcanised rubber sole underfoot. It’s construction, which employed the vulcanisation process and done so to superlative standards, was deemed hugely popular with players of the era, leading San Antonio Spurs shooting guard George Gervin to link up with the Swoosh and subsequently become the first player to front the Nike Blazer courtside.

Cool by name and by nature, George ‘The Iceman’ Gervin possessed the kind of star power that could transcend a silhouette from the hardwood and into favour with global popular culture. In fact, it’s thought that Nike and George Gervin’s partnership initiated the logistics of ‘player exclusive’ deals back then which of course are so ubiquitous these days.

Nike Blazer San Antonio Spurs NBA

Former San Antonio Spurs shooting guard George Gervin sporting the Nike Blazer during a game.

Nike Blazer Mid Vintage 77 Sketch

Nike Blazer Mid Vintage ’77 in White/Red and White/Black colourways, available now at Aphrodite.

 

Nike’s quick off the march approach to identifying players and utilising their likeness in such a way would become the cornerstone of the brand’s global operations. Just 12 years after the Nike Blazer debuted, a new courtside crep was preparing to take the NBA by storm; named the ‘Air Jordan’ after gravity-defying Bulls shooting guard Michael Jordan. This immensely lucrative and longstanding partnership is responsible for MJ’s title as the richest athlete on the globe and although the Nike Blazer’s basketball invasion was short-lived, it did lay down the foundations for future successors such as Mike’s Air Jordan.

Having paved the way for player endorsements and Swoosh-bearing status on the court, the Nike Blazer gave up shooting hoops and skated into fresh tenure. Turns out, the design’s tremendous traction came in super handy for skaters, and so the Nike Blazer was reincarnated. These days though, the sneaker doesn’t require a specific purpose to make it a modern necessity – it’s now welcomed worldwide thanks to its unwavering throwback feel and logo-laden look.

Courtside Kicks – History of the adidas Superstar:

German heavyweight adidas had already built a great rapport with NBA greats way before rival Nike and its famous Blazer hit the scene. In 1969 the adidas Superstar launched as the first low-profile basketball sneaker to feature an all-leather upper and a rubber shelltoe, this making way for the shoe’s myriad nicknames since, including the ‘shelltoe’, ‘shell tops’ and ‘shell shoes’.

Given that sneaker innovation in the ‘60s was still very much at the inception stage, the shoe’s rubber shell toe and non-marking outsole were in every way unprecedented. The striking nature of the design quickly began to garner attention from some of the game’s most accomplished players, one being Kareem Abdul Jabbar of the Los Angeles Lakers, whom some claim is the greatest player in NBA history. But these 3-Stripes sneakers weren’t solely reserved for the unstoppable feet of Kareem Abdul Jabbar, as by its third year of production the adidas Superstar was donned by over 75% of all NBA players. Pretty impressive.

adidas Superstar NBA History

NBA players of the past repping the adidas Superstar, including former New York Knicks power forward and Chicago Bulls Head Coach Phil Jackson.

adidas Superstar Sneakers

adidas Originals Superstar Trainers in Black/White and adidas Superstar WS2 Trainers in White/Black, available now at Aphrodite.

 

Just like the Nike blazer, the stellar adidas Superstar eventually, and gracefully, made its way off the court and into the city streets, picking up recognition from Hip Hop’s elite rap group Run-D.M.C. – with the trio paying tribute to the design in a song titled ‘My Adidas’ which aimed to redefine b-boy culture. Later down the line the 3-Stripes label struck up an advertising deal with Run-D.M.C., in turn, marking the first major sports company / hip-hop partnership of its kind. In the decades since this fundamental link up, adidas has frequently employed celebrity industry crossovers as a formula to its success, notably with this very Superstar style and rapper Pharrell Williams, not to mention Kanye West’s dollar seizing Yeezy line.

So there you have it, two of the globe’s most crowd-pleasing footwear styles unearthed from their basketball origins. Shop the featured colourways by checking out our Nike and adidas departments now.

adidas Hamburg ‘Fish Market’

Aiming to capture the unique intricacies and subtle quirks of cultural hot spots around the globe and condense them into extremely eye-pleasing trainers,  to say the City Series is a fan favourite collection would not only be a monumental understatement but a disservice to this extremely nice adidas Hamburg we recently found in our possession.

 

adidas Hamburg City Series

 

Originally introduced in the ’80s the Hamburg quickly found its place nestled comfortably among adidas’ selection of terrace classics, boasting the low-profile, three striped, uncomplicated design that football fans couldn’t, and still can’t, get enough of. For this iteration however, the Hamburg swaps out the suede, instead choosing to employ a plush leather construction for a more lux feel and robust finish. Blanketing its uppers in a coating of minimal white, the sneakers feature classic elements such as the t-toe overlay, trefoil tongue and three stripe markings alongside subtle nods to its German eponym.


adidas Hamburg Fish Market

Referencing the North German cities famous Sunday fish market, the trainers employ a  textured ‘fish scale’ effect as well as bespoke branding to the in-sole and a metal interpretation of Hamburg’s iconic flag insignia to the heel. With gold inscription situated both to the lateral and medial side, proceedings are brought to a close with a gum midsole underfoot for that all important hit of heritage class.

The adidas City Series Hamburg are available now online at Aphrodite.

 

 

 

 

Stepney Workers Club Brand Guide

Stepney Workers Club, the East-London brand on a mission…

Stepney Workers Club Brand Guide

Easily identifiable thanks to its liberal tagline of ‘Freedom of Sport, Freedom of Thought’, Stepney Workers Club is a London livin’ label hell-bent on delivering some of the most timeless kicks you’ll ever lay eyes on.

Now well-regarded for churning out vulcanised classics in their thousands, this relatively new footwear brand has proved itself quite the conversation starter since joining the ranks of the industry a mere two years ago in 2018. But where did it all begin for the proud East End native?

Well, the concept behind the brand was actually established through a genuine link to the original ‘Stepney Workers Sports Club’ – an anti-fascist, anti-war group born in the heart of Stepney Green many moons ago. In more specific terms, one of the brand’s founders uncovered that he is, in fact, a descendent of this exact sports club… his own grandfather turns out to be one of the original members of the 1920s startup! The connecting of these personal dots would lead the label to dig deep into the cultural significance of working men’s clubs, hoping in turn to cultivate its own unisex interpretation of the movement with a contemporary footwear offering.

Stepney Workers Club Varden

While delving into the ‘Stepney Workers Sports Club’ archives, head of design Roger Pereira and his peers came across a photograph – dated 1936 – which coined the slogan ‘Freedom of Sport, Freedom of Thought’, and so the now-famous SWC mantra was surrendered to a fresh purpose. The phrase itself gave birth to the brand’s ‘liberal undertone’ from the outset. This matched with the desire for an all-inclusive image, and a strong determination to fill a gap within the vulcanised market set Stepney Workers Club up with a foolproof brand strategy from the get-go.

Stepney Workers Club Dellow

Working as an antithesis to the frequent sneaker drops and unattainable hype of the current climate, Stepney Workers Club’s aesthetic is with all its being timeless and free of unnecessary fuss. Clean lines, emphasised proportions, and not an unsightly ‘Dad sneaker’ insight; the label’s portfolio proves immensely wearable among many generations. Centreing solely on just two silhouettes, either low-profile or high-top – to which the brand resists over-expanding for fear of endangering their appeal, the latest capsule toys with a multitude of versatile but dependable colourways whilst also experimenting with unique textural elements.

Stepney Workers Club Footwear

To get the SWC ball rolling here at Aphrodite the brand has kindly acquainted us with its signature ‘Dellow’ and ‘Varden’ silhouettes. Both designs are the result of a vintage reference point; paying tribute to the vulcanised styles that were so ubiquitous between the ‘50s and ‘80s. Each is crafted using a combination of traditional and bygone methods, with a cotton drill canvas upper, vulcanised rubber sole, high-wall foxings, and the brand’s symbolic handshake logo which represents the unity and liberal mindset from which the brand is born.

If you’re on the hunt for a staple and refined sneaker that won’t age, look no further than the realm of minimalisation that is Stepney Workers Club shoes. Hit the brand up via our online roster now.

5 Things To Do During-Self Isolation

With the effects of Coronavirus being felt worldwide many of us may find ourselves spending a lot more time at home. Whilst it can be easy to let the overwhelming gravity of the situation begin to weigh you down and allow the upheaval in routine to displace well-formed habits, there are some things which you could do to bring about some beneficial influence into your daily life. It’s true what they say, small efforts can have big impacts which is why, to give you a starting block to build upon, we’ve pulled together an isolation itinerary of five things you can do whilst we all do our bit during the quarantine.

Clean your sneakers

In the hustle and bustle of everyday life the upkeep of our footwear can often get shifted towards the bottom of the priority list. Whether you’re adamant that they look better, ‘beat up’ or guilty of relentlessly putting the task off, this substantial increase of time spent indoors could be the perfect time to treat some of even your rotations longest serving members to a well needed, and long overdue, helping of TLC.

Not only will the process give you a gleaming arsenal of trainers to choose from for those first steps back out into the great outdoors but regular maintenance helps with the longevity and prevents the build up of nasty smells, stains and discolouration. If you’re looking for a starting point we recently made a video guide detailing step-by-step how to bring even the most tired pairs back from the brink and we have a huge selection of cleaning products up for grabs from Jason Markk, Crep protect and Sneakers ER for you to experiment with. Who knows, in the manic landscape we currently find ourselves in, you may even find the process somewhat cathartic.

Re-wax jackets

Of course its not just the footwear that could be due some some well needed attention, now could also be the ideal time to revitalise any wax jackets you have at your disposal. Similarly this can also be a task we may find ourselves procrastinating over, but the truth is regular re-waxing can go a long way in not only retaining your jackets quality but improving its practicality, durability and weather resistance.

Despite waxed cotton being one of the most robust fabrics used in clothing it can with repeated wear start to become dried out in areas of regular abrasion, such as armpits, pockets and creases leading to not only a change in the overall look of the garment but decreased levels of functionality. In short, when looked after correctly your jacket should see you through years of service and for those of us in possession of a Barbour garment, you can not only find just the wax for the job here but read our re-waxing guide.

Organise wardrobe

Organising your wardrobe is a great way to freshen up an area and clear out some space indoors. Through the simple act of spending some time to take stock of the clothing that you own, you can clear out unwanted garments, discover forgotten gems and possibly even make some money in the process. Whether it’s the satisfaction of regimentation you crave or the ability to concisely weigh up pairing options, clearing out your wardrobe can also lead to more conscious consumption habits, allowing you to make more informed choices to fill gaps in your outfitting and build your wardrobe around foundational key pieces.

Of course we would always recommend choosing eco-friendly and sustainable options to dispose of your unwanted clothing or footwear such as selling, recycling or charity shop donation.

Begin or maintain an exercise routine

Despite being stuck inside it is important to still look after ourselves and either focus on maintaining previously established routines or taking the first steps toward putting them in place. With gyms closed and a good number of us left without equipment now more than ever its easy to exchange regular exercise for an extended Netflix session but it’s important to remember that staying mobile can be a great way to boost positive feelings, release pent up energy and ensure our bodies fill up on the required psychical activity they need to stay fit. A quick online search will reveal any number of workout plans, nutritional information and advice with anything from HIIT, bodyweight and even live streamed classes on offer to work up a sweat in the confines of your familiar four walls.

Start your passion project

Do you find yourself with a more time on your hands during self-isolation? Ever dreamed of becoming an artist? Learning the guitar? Or do you want to get really good at making a curry? Well now is the perfect time! With many of lifes social aspects out the window that pipe dream passion project has never seemed so tantalisingly close. By applying that new found wiggle room in your schedule you could open yourself up to the opportunity you’ve been looking for to sink some hours into mastering a new skill. No matter what it is or how insignificant it seems honing your craft can be a great way to turn negatives into positives and challenge yourself day to day.

 

adidas SL7600

adidas SL7600 : Vintage Meets Modern

The adidas SL7600 are set to surface on our shores very soon so in preparation for their arrival, and to show off some of their best bits, we thought we would share some words on what is sure to be an instant footwear classic.

As the age old saying goes you can never have too much of a good thing, and adidas’ Super Light lineup is the perfect example. Originally conceived during the ’70s to service the needs of athletes taking part in the Munich Olympics, not only was the SL series responsible for supplying the goods when it came to the age old question of weight vs performance, but it held its own in an era long turf war with arguably some of the fiercest competition in running history.

adidas SL7600

Utilising a robust array of stellar three stripped source material, adidas’ next addition to their featherweight family comes in the form of the SL7600. As forward thinking in name as they are in construction, the sneakers mix a best of both worlds culmination of vintage old school class, cutting-edge ingenuity and on-trend multi-faceted design that is sure to please even the most traditionalist of trefoil fanatic.

adidas SL7600

Crafted using both rugged suede overlays, nubuck accents and a breathable nylon base, the trainers boast a D-ring lacing system, similar to those found in both the Trimm Star / SL76, as well as iconic T-toe detailing. Further enhanced with a blanketing of minimal white which serves to add a subdued touch to the overall proportions of the silhouette, the SL7600 truly shines when it comes to underfoot cushioning.

adidas SL7600

Not only can an authentic jagged traction outsole be found to improve on-foot grip but an EVA midsole sees its already superior cushioning properties bolstered by a selection of comforting BOOST foam inserts. Finished with a branded tongue and tonal three striped sides, the SL7600 is a true homage to some of the key defining moments in adidas history, highlighting pivotal moments in the brand’s past and perhaps making nods to their not so distant future.

The adidas SL7600 is available online and in store at Aphrodite very soon.

adidas SL7600

 

Nike Air Max 98 Trainers

Nike Air Max 98 : Classic Meets Modern

NT Nike Air Max 98 : An Icon Reinvented

As a longstanding member of the Air Max family, the iconic 98′ silhouette is reinvented to produce a contemporary adaption of the classic trainer. After being unearthed from the archives in recent years, the Nike Air MAx 98 shoe is onto its’ next chapter of not only providing comfort but style alike, appealing to a whole new generation of Air Max enthusiasts. Boasting over 20 years of innovative technology, this once runners’ shoes has become a symbol of menswear fashion, storming into mainstream trends. Fusing the old-school quality that charmed us all upon its’ original release with modern comfort innovation, the result is an adaptive and durable product, one that will be with you for years to come.

Nike Air Maxc 98 Trainers Aphrodite

Absorbing each and every stride, the fully visible air system not only contributes the statement ‘bubble’ aesthetic but gives you the responsive plush cushioning needed to keep you up and ready to take on every day. The Nike Air Max 98 has been crafted from leather and mesh, the upper forms together into a sock-like fit , offering breathable durability, with a reflective trim detailing for that extra ‘sports luxe’ touch. Nike does not fail with intricate design details, providing subtle hints of aesthetically pleasing features that provide technology merged with style. A signature waffle tread contributes abrasion-resistant grip to every step whilst piping details all round introduce layers and textures to a classic shape.

Nike Air Max 98 Sneakers

The perfect way to add some tactility to your outfit, the 98’s have become a staple piece to every males’ wardrobe, becoming an iconic shoe to finish off any outfit. Evolving from their original means, they are no longer seen on the feet of runners but now on the everyday man on the street. Team them up with cuffed joggers and a subtle crew neck jumper with hardware accents for a casual daytime look.

Shop the Nike Air Max 98 Trainers Online At Aphrodite.

Nike Air Max 98 Trainers

 

 

Nike Blazer Mid ’77 Vintage: For Old Times’ Sake

Although we’ve very recently clicked toward a new decade, it seems that for Nike, the clock only seems to be rolling backwards. For 2020, the sporting stalwart is digging through its extensive archive to re-deliver the iconic look of ‘70s B-Ball, encapsulated perfectly this season by the upcoming release of the all-new Nike Blazer Mid ‘77 Vintage, set for release soon at Aphrodite.

It’s certainly no secret that the Beaverton-hailing brand has a penchant for shooting sartorial hoops; for generations now, the Swoosh bearing label has visually represented pioneering players across the globe, while its iconic footwear designs have scaled professional leagues from the top to the bottom. The latest Nike Blazer Mid ‘77 Vintage distinctively harks back to times gone by, referencing an early age in the game, whereby the likes of Moses Malone and Julius Erving would be dominating play with their trailblazing performances.

Nike Blazers

Clad in blinding whites and punchy blacks, this retro silhouette sets just high of the ankle, providing the wearer superlative support during a plethora of activity. Composition wise, leather and synthetic uppers supply these sneakers with a textural, tonal finish while supplying a supple build for all-day comfort. As well as vintage treated midsoles, these sneakers also boast exposed foam at the inner tongue, a signature component of the Nike Blazer and a feature that catapults the throwback theme to new heights.

Underfoot, Nike utilises an autoclave construction which firmly bolsters the shoe’s outsole to the midsole, giving the design its streamlined, ergonomically considered shape, while its non-marking, solid rubber surface is articulated with a herringbone pattern that promises to provide stable traction.

Nike Sneakers

Keep your eyes peeled in the coming days for the release of the Nike Blazer Mid ‘77 Vintage, we’re confident the sportswear giant is about to score a huge slam-dunk with these retro-rendered kicks.

Nike Air Max 270 React ENG

Nike Air Max 270 React ENG: Vibrant Vistas

Eye watering hues, forward-thinking technology and an impressively long name, this new take on one of Nike’s already culturally prolific Air Max silhouettes certainly does have it all. Officially dubbed the Nike Air Max 270 React ENG, the sneaker has been causing a stir in the footwear focused landscape for several months now, periodically dipping it’s vibrantly techni-coloured design into the limelight and teasing its much-anticipated release with a debut collaboration backed by non-other than Travis Scott himself.

Nike Air Max 270 React ENG

No-doubt to the raucous applause of swoosh fanatics worldwide, the Nike Air Max React 270 ENG takes a more utility driven approach akin to that of similar 270 variations such as the Bowfin. Boasting a full-length Nike React foam midsole that cushions the foot, versatile lace toggles for an adjustable fit and structurally supportive welded TPU overlays, the sneakers come finished with practical pull tabs to the heel and tongue, a padded foam collar for comfort and a rubber outsole ideal for a vast array of urban pursuits.

Nike Air Max 270 React ENG

If a cherry picked smattering of some of the most iconic features from both the Air Max 270 and React wasn’t enough to entice even the most monochromatic of dressers to take a peak, the trainers also throw in a deal-sweetening dose of subtle alterations to set themselves apart from previous iterations. Deploying engineered mesh to the uppers for improved breathability on-foot, a rippled design can be seen to each side, echoing Air Max Plus and TN levels of aesthetic dominance.

Nike Air Max 270 React ENG

To wrap things up we think it would be an injustice if we didn’t spare some words on the vivid vistas laid out, literally in this case, at our feet. Utilising a selection of vibrant yellow, primary blue and soft red the air infused sports shoes pack a serious hit of visual weight. Grounded by a contrasting black and neutral white, this less than conspicuous pair are destined for sun-cracked pavements this summer.

The Nike Air Max 270 React ENG launches online and in store at Aphrodite 16/01/20.

Nike Air Max 270 React ENG

Home of Classics adidas

adidas Home of Classics: The Next Chapter

Acting as an antithesis to the sneaker industry’s often unsustainable noise, adidas’ ‘Home of Classics’ collection proudly veers away from short-term trend fashion, and instead, favours styles that lock down an abundance of versatility. When the adi’ concept first launched last year, its refined, stripped-back designs brought a breath of fresh air to the bulbous, audacious aesthetic of 2019 and the global status quo.

Launching midnight January 15th, the next ‘Home of Classics’ instalment brings with it the iconic adidas Continental 80, Stan Smith Recon and SC Premiere – all clad in a creamy, off-white colourway. Though sharing many of the same qualities and all delivered as a premium update of their originators, each trainer has its own story to divulge within the realm of footwear.

Rendered as a contemporary update on the ever-dependable Stan Smith, adidas’ Stan Smith Recon takes its moniker from the two-time Grand Slam champ of the same name. Boasting a premium leather upper and lining, this timeless silhouette sees monochromatic hues cast a timeless, wearable image over its identity. Shunning Stan Smith’s signature green stamp, this pared-back version replaces the tennis ace’s face with an unusual tweak at the tongue. As last year’s Home of Classics collection subtly touched on, the sneaker everts the shoe’s (traditionally internal) sizing scale and places it externally at the tongue. Additional accents include the brand’s signature perforated 3-Stripes, a suede heel panel and the same robust rubber outsole that debuted in the ‘70s.

adidas Stan Smith Recon

For the Home of Classics Continental 80, the aim is to recharge the ‘vintage charm of the era’, doing so with myriads of retro elements, including a branded window positioned at the sidewall and a split cupsole with EVA insert that perfectly captures the sneaker zeitgesit of the ‘80s. The colourless, stacked upper of the shoe is broken up with perforations, tonal thread and several recognisable adidas credentials.

adidas originals Continental 80

Last, but by no means least, the adidas SC Premiere calls on the sportswear heavyweight’s courtside heritage. Inspired by generations of timeless tennis style, this latest rendition, like the Continental 80, features a retro logo window and layered look across its upper, teamed alongside a ‘world famous for quality’ imprint at the reverse. One of the shoe’s standout components, which you don’t see again across the collection, is the SC Premiere’s serrated sole unit; this jagged edge provides superb grip at the surface of the design, enabling the wearer a trusty, stable ride through the streets.

adidas SC Premiere

Designed to pair seamlessly with a plethora of fits, the 2020 Home of Classics series harnesses boundless amounts of style and substance. Purchase an adidas classic when the capsule launches midnight 15/01/2020.