Advertise here with Carbon Ads

This site is made possible by member support. โค๏ธ

Big thanks to Arcustech for hosting the site and offering amazing tech support.

When you buy through links on, I may earn an affiliate commission. Thanks for supporting the site! home of fine hypertext products since 1998.

๐Ÿ”  ๐Ÿ’€  ๐Ÿ“ธ  ๐Ÿ˜ญ  ๐Ÿ•ณ๏ธ  ๐Ÿค   ๐ŸŽฌ  ๐Ÿฅ”


Wow, there’s a lot of books about sneakers. Well, more than I would expect anyway.

My favorite sneakers were a pair of Nike Air Darwin shoes I bought back in college. They were all-black low tops with a smallish white Swoosh placed backwards right below the ankle, simply designed, very cool-looking, and comfortable. Sneakers these days look either like Jackson Pollack paintings or classic cars (complete with shock absorbers), making it hard for me to find something I like. I’ve kept my eye out for a pair of Air Darwins in a 9.5 on eBay and vintage sneaker sites, but no love so far.

Reader comments

StephenMar 17, 2004 at 1:06AM

Personally, I like Addidas better. Especially the plain, white, (very) low-tops that were great before Eminem made everybody buy them so they'd look like me. I'd like to buy another pair of them, but I can't find them in any conventional shoe stores. Has anyone had any experience buying sneakers online? I know exactly what I want, which would make it easy, right?

Now, I'll contribute something useful to this post. :)

Justin BlantonMar 17, 2004 at 1:41AM

I agree with your description of the shoes currently available. I've actually bought the same pair of sneakers (New Balance M991) three times in a row now.

Outside of those, my favorite pair of sneakers would have to be one of the earlier Jordan models. I think I had IV through VIII -- those took me from 4th to 8th grade.

MikeMar 17, 2004 at 2:33AM

I'm usually partial to anything by K-Swiss, but please avoid Sketchers like the plague. I've had three pairs of Sketchers shoes (oxfords) and after 6-8 months of wear, all three pairs had massive holes and breakage in the soles. I voiced my concerns to the company, and they didn't care enough to write me back.

JMar 17, 2004 at 2:34AM

Yeah, the sneaker pickings these days are rogue's gallery of ugliness. It can be damn near impossible to find an attractive pair of men's sneakers. It's like Nike has some standing bet about making the ugliest shoes possible -- I'm thinking thet have a checklist "must meet all three visual requirements: psychedelic, look like it was created by an alien race, look like something the most pathetic ninja would wear -- you know, the one all the other ninjas would shun"

Walk into any big shoe place.... all black sneakers, black and orange (!), metallic silver, those horrible space ski-boot Kobe sneakers... jesus, just give us some good white sneakers with maybe a little blue or something.

HasanMar 17, 2004 at 2:36AM

I love finding small lesser known sneaker/athletic shoes. Not a fan of the Nikes ($100+/pair!?!) Here's a pair of $30 (at Marshall's) Merrell bouldering/light camping shoes I've worn almost daily for a year. Not shown are the yellow polka-dotted soles!

unswoosherMar 17, 2004 at 3:01AM

Adbuster's Blackspot Sneaker is worth a go

onernoaMar 17, 2004 at 3:10AM

it's all about puma. comfy, classic to funky styles, and decent prices.

nickMar 17, 2004 at 3:36AM

then you need the Sneaker Blog: Kicksology.

alfonseMar 17, 2004 at 4:09AM

I don't know how the situation is in the mother-country of almost all basket-ball sneakers, but here in France there is nothing like the Darwin anymore.

This sneaker is (was) all about resistance, inalterability.
(maybe Nike decided to cease selling such things because of its lack of rentability).

I sincerely regret that kind of shoes made to resist a regular outdoor use.

AndyMar 17, 2004 at 4:31AM

I currently have two pairs of Adidas Stan Smith, which is even cleaner than the Superstar. (Thats the one right, Stephen?)

Had Stan's for several years now, very comfy and absolutely mega-plain. And it just looks better the older it gets!

All hail Stan!

StuartMar 17, 2004 at 5:55AM

Adidas Gazelles have a special place in my heart. I had a pair when I was a kid and re-discovered them when Mike D wore them on the cover of Check Your Head.

Very impractical due the thin soles (oh, and the smell) but timeless like the Coco Chanel dress. I'm more of a Camper man these days (sigh).

DariceMar 17, 2004 at 6:26AM

Here in the Netherlands the old school Nikes are back. These are from the 80's I guess, so the Nike Air Darwin came after that. Maybe they are next in line to be sold again. Personally I'm more for Puma, Adidas and Skechers. All these shoes have lasted me a year without looking old and worn. Right now I have my eye on the new Adidas with Goodyear platform. Really expensive but very classy.

vaskaMar 17, 2004 at 6:35AM

I saw ultra-designed handmade sneakers and wrestling-type boots in Antwerp not too long ago that started at $285 euros - neon green and brown leather.

I always loved Adidas Rod Lavers myself.

SaraMar 17, 2004 at 9:06AM

Vintage track sneakers from the 1970s are the best -- I found the sweetest pair of vintage green (!) Adidas Sambas on eBay, that I wear religiously. (Interestingly enough, I haven't seen another person with the same pair, or found any pictures online.)

The other pair that makes the cut are my Converse All-Star low-tops in red.

BergeMar 17, 2004 at 10:12AM

My favorite sneakers are Adidas Tobacco and Nike Cheyenne. Very plain looking and nice shoes.

billMar 17, 2004 at 10:42AM

I agree with Sara. Chuck Taylors are the end-all. Black or white, whatever your mood.

NazMar 17, 2004 at 11:05AM

Always partial to Adidas. Though I have a large collection of New Balances in that indie rock hipster style. Currently I have retained three pairs instead of the six I used to own: 574's, 876's and 990's.

But lately I've been wearing Tsubo's.

betoMar 17, 2004 at 11:18AM

It would be Simple Shoes for me - Once I got past my teenage years and realized there was no point on having a pair of Air Jordans if I wasn't into basketball, these are the only type of sneakers that appeal to me.

ernieMar 17, 2004 at 12:02PM

Kind of reminds of me of trying to buy a boombox type portable radio. They all look like a self destruct consoles from inside alien spaceships. I just wanted something kinda squarey, with a volume control that doesnt look like a robot schlong.

BrianMar 17, 2004 at 12:02PM

Just last night I bought a pair of Vans TNT sneakers online. Pretty expensive ($75), but I like the way they look (weird, but not obnoxious), and it's really hard for me to find shoes that I don't hate. I got them from, and they were kind enough to upgrade my shipping for free. I'd assume they do that with all new customers.

I'm gonna miss the blue shoes I've had since Jr. hig, but they are very much falling apart. :'(

AndrewMar 17, 2004 at 12:21PM

(Unswoosher: Recommending blackSpot shoes is kind of disengenuous, considering they haven't even begun manufacturing, let alone marketing.)

In college I had a pair of Nike Air Biscuits -- a surprising name since they didn't contain Air technology, not to mention the fart joke. They were white low-tops with a tiny blue swoosh on the heel tab and a smile of blue rubber on the toe. The inside was lined with terry cloth, and they were some of the most comfortable shoes I've ever had.

JustinMar 17, 2004 at 12:54PM

My favourite shoes of all time were made by a company called 26 Redtred, which is still around, but they apparently only have a few styles to choose from and none of them compare to what they used to sell. They were these great low-top, vans-style shoes, but they had a really aggressive looking tread that I was into.

These days, I wear Simples.

PaulMar 17, 2004 at 12:59PM

For years the only shoe I wore was Simple's Old School Suede Sneaker in black. I loved the way they looked, but they were too heavy, and somewhat uncomfortable.

Now I wear Saucony's Jazz in black. These sneakers kick incredible ass. They're light, and flexible, and generally pretty cheap.

tienMar 17, 2004 at 1:30PM

i've got the 1st, 3rd, and 4th book, and all are slightly different. i think the nike one is an excellent coffee table book. the 4th book is probably the coolest, but i also need to get #2 and #5.

Jonathan BarlowMar 17, 2004 at 1:50PM

Does anyone know why skateboarding shoes are low-top these days? I remember back in the "Airwalk Prototype" and "Vision Streetwear" days that skate shoes were high top. If I twisted an ankle while skateboarding, I could lace 'em up real tight and keep going. Nowadays, all the beefy, good shoes are low top. Is there a functional reason for this? I just started skating again and though I like the new Globes that I bought, I would rather they be high-top.

StephenMar 17, 2004 at 3:08PM

Thanks, Andy! I didn't realize that Addidas made something similar to the Super Star (I couldn't think of the name). All of the updated Super Star shoes are getting kinda funky and now called Ultra Star.

Mike, I find it odd that your Sketchers would fall apart so quickly. I have a pair of Sketchers dress shoes that have lasted me for almost five years (including two years when I wore them almost every day for school). Maybe quality has gone down in those five years.

rgMar 17, 2004 at 3:27PM

ugh, makes me miss west 8th street.

DorkStarMar 17, 2004 at 4:21PM

IMHO, everyone should look for alternatives to Nike, Adidas, Puma etc. All of these companies are (at the very least) suspected of utilizing chlid labor in their manufacturing. On the other hand, boycotting those brands could lead to unemployment in the Third World...

margaretMar 17, 2004 at 5:03PM

i have a pair of black and white checkerboard vans that i love. before that, it was yellow suede vans. if my shoes don't hurt my eyes, i don't wear them.

dotsaraMar 17, 2004 at 5:15PM

I'm a Vans-girl, most recently with two pair of these slip-ons that look like the old skools but have this elastic over the bridge of the foot. They're the best.

I'm with the other Sara on the Converse All-Stars, great shoe.

AaronMar 17, 2004 at 6:10PM

Skate shoes are low top because you need ankle flexibility. Skaters these days do more than the surf-style that was popular when all skate shoes were hi-tops. Try doing a 360-flip with your laces ratcheted all tight(!)

Simple, Sketchers and 26 Red are all companies that came out trying to feed on the popularity of skate shoes in 90's. If you want some comfortable shoes that are going to last (they're made to constantly rub against griptape), try some รฉS (or etnies or emerica), DC, or a newer Vans skating shoe. Most are pretty simple and have nice thick soles. (I also like cons with inserts).

My favorite is the ironic sal "23" skate shoe:

colinMar 17, 2004 at 7:21PM

I guess they're a "skate" shoe, but there are some great vans ( out there. Or if you're adventuresome, you could order from swear shoes in the uk... ( They've got some odd stuff, but some classics too.

ronnieMar 17, 2004 at 7:21PM

I became an Addidas Samba convert last summer. I own a pair of both Samba Classic and Samba Millienium.

They are the most comfortable and cool shoes I've ever owned. And they look cool.

faithMar 17, 2004 at 10:36PM

"dotsara says:
I'm a Vans-girl, most recently with two pair of these slip-ons that look like the old skools but have this elastic over the bridge of the foot. They're the best. "

Those shoes are definitely the best. I got them in lake blue, and wear them every day. It helps that they're slip-ons and save on time in the mornings.

HasanMar 18, 2004 at 1:21AM

alfonse says:
I don't know how the situation is in the mother-country of almost all basket-ball sneakers...
Do you mean Taiwan?

alfonseMar 18, 2004 at 7:04AM

The US... Should I have said father, then..?

LeonyaMar 19, 2004 at 3:36AM

You might check out, they seem to have what you're looking for (i.e. Skyhawk Low Cut by Pro Keds)

This thread is closed to new comments. Thanks to everyone who responded.