Year Released: 1985
I never planned to wear a big Coq on my foot. It sort of just happened. I don't think that any brand has ever come so completely on point so completely out of left field, and done it so naturally, as Le Coq Sportif did in the mid-1980's. Le Coq's history is grounded in cycling, football and tennis, and I think the cycling piece is what was behind the brand's isolated explosion during that period. There was a moment in time when flashy prints and European sport fashion converged, and I think that Le Coq's liberal use of color and wild color blocking in its cycling business influenced its other sport categories. Being from Philly, we felt a little bit invested in the success of Jazzy Jeff and the Fresh Prince. That also meant that we felt like the TV show was a watered-down caricature of the culture. The Street Beat and WDAS versions versions of that crew meant a lot more to me. Still, you can't really deny that Will Smith was a huge influence on fashion trends during that show's run. And that dude really enjoyed him some Coq, cycling hats included.
The other piece was Yannick Noah. Noah was a really unusual tennis player. He would routinely chase down balls and go through the legs to save (or win) the point. He was also a really alt looking dude. Dreadlocked, gap toothed, mixed heritage. When we had to pick French names in eighth grade French class, I went with Yannick. Fortunately, it did not stick. The logo Le Coq designed for Noah was a mcnugget of blocked color, and somehow it just worked on all of his apparel and footwear, regardless of whether it actually matched. The Noah Star was the key shoe for me. Very clean shoe, great shape, plus huge TPU heel stabilizer with a tasty molded Le Coq Sportif Logo. Le Coq called the heel stabilizer "Le Heel-Stabilizer." Leave it to the French guys to come up with clever stuff. I never owned a pair of these, but I did own the 1987 Noah Comp in white-red-grey, which had the dope Noah logo on the tongue. These are great shoes, and Le Coq Sportif is a great brand with all kinds of iconic product. Over the years, I have heard whispers regarding a shoe called the Dominator that looks like a Noah Star or Comp, but in mesh mid. If that really existed, how in the world did it never make it to the U.S.?