12. Reebok Phase One
Year Released: 1985
Gigantor shoutout to Everyone's Racquet at 17th and Chestnut in Philly. The store still exists, but in a different location. The poor gentlemen who owned this store were cursed with a crew of 14 year-old fucklenuts loitering on the try-on bench for up to three hours a day. Rapping. Making fart noises (both real and manufactured). Tripping paying customers, probably costing Everyone's Racquet sales on the daily. Dumming out on new, weird European tennis shoe brands on the wall. They stuck with us though, and some of us made a career out of it. That is where I first saw the tasty, supple, nubile Phase One. After years of NikeAdidasNikeAdidasNikeAdidas, touching the Phase One was like getting some strange. Reebok was an English brand that began to be distributed in the US in 1979, but the Phase One in 1985 is the shoe that made me look twice. I think I first picked it up because it looked more like a running shoe than a tennis shoe. There was a cardboard sign in the store that said something like "the only leather shoe that you don't have to break in." And it was 100% true. As soon as I held it, I was locked in. The upper was sort of a creamy off-white garment leather. There was also a nylon, but fuck the nylon version. I remember the smell. To this day, I have never had a shoe that felt as comfortable when you first put it on. On the flip side, the price you paid for all that buttercream comfort was that they blew out in a week. If only there were a spectacular head of lifestyle development at Reebok from an historically-significant shoe manufacturing family in England who could bring that feeling back.