Written by John Q. Marcelo (@johnmarcelo)
When it comes to the shoe game, I don't complain often.
I've done multi-day lineups, only to find out the last pair in my size went to the guy before me. I've set my alarm for early Saturday morning releases just to strike out in a matter of seconds. I've tolerated resellers, and I've come to terms with bots. At the end of the day, we’re just chasing a piece of glorified rubber and synthetic leather that’ll probably be an afterthought the very next weekend.
But to many, sneakers have become a symbol. An I.D. to a special members-only club. A gateway to social acceptance. In other words, more Instagram likes and Twitter followers. It’s no longer about the history or concept behind the sneaker. That all takes a back seat to how this object can be used to big up oneself.
It’s no longer about the history or concept behind the sneaker.
Case in point: the upcoming Nike SB x Air Jordan 1 "Lance Mountain." The collaboration is a mashup that collides the basketball and skateboarding worlds. The sneaker features the most coveted Air Jordan 1s—”Black/Red” and “Black/Royal”—and combines one colorway with the other to create a mismatched set. Each pairing is then covered in a black or white paint, resulting in two colorways.
It's a concept inspired by ‘80s skate culture: to extend the life of their sneakers, skaters would mismatch pairs and paint over each shoe to make them more uniform. As the paint wears away with each ollie and flip trick, the original colorway is revealed and the sneaker becomes entirely unique to its wearer.
It’s the perfect sneaker to literally make your own. To tell your own story and represent the activities in your daily life. And the best sneakers are always the ones with stories attached to them, no matter the aftermarket value or how rare they are. But it seems like sneakerheads just want to be, well, sneakerheads, and could care less about creating something completely unique.
You see, there’s been a lot of buzz about how one could successfully remove the paint from the sneakers before actually wearing them. The curiosity is on full display all over social media. We even posted a story about someone that already pulled it off using nail polish remover. I get it and to each their own, but it’s just ridiculous.
Unlike other sneakers with a hidden underlay design—like the Geoff McFetridge x Nike Vandal Supreme or Nike SB Dunk High “Cheech & Chong”—what’s hidden beneath the “Lance Mountain” 1s can actually be revealed with normal, everyday wear. The Geoff McFetridge Vandals and the “Cheech & Chong” SB Dunks were equipped with a canvas upper, so there was no way you could reveal what was underneath with normal wear. You either had to skate them hard or take a blade or even use a lighter to penetrate through the upper layer.
That’s not the case here, though. After all, it’s just a smooth coat of paint that covers the “Lance Mountain” 1s. If you walk in them, they’re going to crease and lead to cracks. If you drive in the them, the paint on back heel will begin to rub off. If you party in them, you’re probably going have people scuff the toebox. If you play ball in them, the lateral movement will soften the leather and loosen the paint. And if you skate them, you’re definitely going to end up speeding up the aging process tenfold. My point: you don’t have to do anything out of the ordinary to show off what’s underneath. Just wear them like any other sneaker and let nature run its course.
If you want to reveal the true colorway of the “Black/Red” and “Black/Royal,” save yourself the time—not to mention, your lungs from the acetone fumes—and just buy the 2013 retros. You could even mismatch them yourself. By forcing the paint to fade before actually wearing the sneakers, they’ll just end up looking like the retro version anyway, right? And that’s probably the only reason why someone who would force the paint to fade would buy these sneakers in the first place. Not because it’s Lance Mountain or representative of ‘80s skate culture, but because with the proper tools (e.g. a towel and nail polish remover), they’ll look like a pair of retro Jordans that you missed out on last year.
It’s the perfect sneaker to literally make your own. To tell your own story and represent the activities in your daily life.
I’m not trying to be a skateboarding elitist, claiming that anyone who doesn’t naturally fade their “Lance Mountain” 1s on a board is a poser. That whole mentality is tired and old. In fact, I’m probably the last person who would have the right to make that type of criticism anyway. My only true experience with a deck of any sorts was my friend’s longboard that I would awkwardly try to maneuver in the carpeted hallways of my college dorm.
All I’m saying is don’t cheat yourself out of the possibility of creating your own story with these sneakers. Whether you skate in them, play hoops, or wear them casually and tuck them back in the box after every wear, the point is, just wear them.
Stop trying to pass these “Lance Mountains” off as an O.G. Jordan 1 colorway for the sake of cool points. So what if they start off looking too plain as an all-black or all-white sneaker? With every wear, you’ll develop unique fades and one of a kind scratches and creases. And soon enough, you’ll have yourself something even better than an O.G. colorway—you’ll have an original colorway. Your colorway.