David Goldberg is a sneaker collector. This is evident as he sorts through images on his phone, eager to show off various pieces of his diverse collection. He's got sort of a thing for Ewings, though—as seen in Sneaker Freaker—and the fact that he actually became the one to revive the entire brand is a sneakerhead's wildest dream come true. We asked him some questions about how this all came about, and why he loved Ewing Athletics to start with:
Do you remember what it was about Ewing that caught your eye the first time they released? Did you have a pair back in the late '80s, early '90s?
Just the fact that it said EWING 33 in huge font on the back and the strap as well. I tried to figure out what brand they were, but the only brand was his own name on the shoe. My first pair was a pair of black/white leather 33 Hi in a kids size 5 in 1990 when I was in 5th grade. I had to beg my mom to take me all over until we found them at Footlocker in Green Acres Mall in NY. After that I probably had 5-7 pairs over the next 5 years.
Did you remain a Ewing fan even while the brand was defunct, or was there a point when you re-discovered it?
I was always a fan of Ewing the player and the Knicks up until the Isiah era, but as far as his shoes, once the brand went under and he switched to Nike in 1996, I kind of forgot about it for a few years, until I got real heavy into the late '90s eBay/Niketalk scene and began hunting for old-school steals online, in about 1999 I bought my first pair to collect which were a pair of black suede 33 HI. Since then I would check for the brand on eBay when I made my search rounds hunting for hard-to-find deals.
My first pair of Ewings was a pair of black/white leather 33 Hi in a kids size 5 in 1990 when I was in 5th grade.
How many original pairs of Ewings do you have? And is there one specific pair/style you're still searching for?
Right now I have lost count because they are stored in a few separate places, but I would say over 100. There was one model I could never find as a kid or now, called The Image, but I recently obtained a game-used player sample of it. There are a few rare models I don't have, but I have all the flagship models he wore in games and all the important ones people remember to this day. I am always still on the hunt for more pairs though.
How long a process was this to revive the brand?
It has been about three years since I came on board to this point of the shoes now finally hitting the public, it has been quite a journey!
Why the 33 Hi first?
This was the most popular shoe in the line by far, and was in production for an amazing 3-4 years in over 50 colorways. In today's shoe industry, this would never happen, but back then the shoes kept selling so they kept pumping them out in new colors every season and the stores kept ordering. Designwise it had a great silhouette and the reversible strap was a defining feature. Culturally, the shoe was an integral part of the New York hip-hop scene and was seen and featured in many album covers and videos of the time.
Judging from your collection, you seem to have a thing for the underdog brands. Why is that?
I always had an appreciation for the smaller, more obscure brands for some reason. I was a fan of the big companies too, but the late '80s and early '90s was a time in the industry where there were many smaller brands in the market, who were able to hold market share and compete with the bigger guys, especially in the basketball sector. This was great for the consumer because you had a much larger selection, and more creativity from the brands.
How closely did you work with Patrick once you knew you'd be able to do this? What would you like his level of involvement to be?
We sit down with Patrick and show him the upcoming possible models and colorways we have thought of and get his opinion on what he likes and what he doesn't. Sometimes we'll go through old catalogs or I will just bring the old shoes for him to look at. So he's really in the loop from beginning to end, and anything that comes out has to have his final stamp of approval.
What's been the reaction from people to the re-launch?
The response has been tremendous, and not just in NYC or nationally, but globally. The feedback I get is that people are happy to see the shoe and brand return to the market, and that many guys in their late 20s to late 30s have strong childhood memories of the brand .
What are you most proud of as the launch actually happens?
I am proud that we were able to resurrect the brand, as it was the only remaining important brand from its era that had yet to come back. Seeing it come out in stores and people wearing and enjoying it will be very gratifying.