Year released: 2002
Paris is one of the few European cities to really understand basketball and its associated cultures without descending into cliché. It’s the home to plenty of rabid collectors. And alongside boutiques like Opium, their big sports chain store, Courir, was a goldmine when it came to exclusives with dangling metal hangtags. A few might remember their Tony Parker-affiliated Dunks, a denim women’s Air Max 90, and a patent-leather-accented Zoom Spiridon, but the Courir Air Force 1 was their finest moment — soft black leather, white Swoosh, and a gum sole. No overthinking, no dozy concept at work. If you had a plug in France you were good to go — bearing in mind that these were text message times rather than social media rep building — but if you weren’t, you were doomed to pay a markup. Resell is nothing new. In addition to these, a UK-only brace of JD Sports releases of 2002 to 2005 (Skylines, Portlands, Cowboys, and gum midsoles proving particularly memorable) paid a few enterprising folks’ mortgages, while other Euro bits like Cinders, double-Swooshes, and the superb Campers kept the lights on, too.