Disclaimer: I am a fan of sneaker culture. I am seeing a lot of models that are often overlooked, since they won’t garner a high volume of clicks or views, I decided to take matters into my own hands with a little column I will be featuring Low Key Hype (LKH) shoes that deserve our attention.
A brief history for the folks not from NYC, but we refer to the Nike Air Force Ones as “Uptowns”, because folks from Harlem made them a staple piece to own in everyone’s wardrobe. You can break down Manhattan into three simple sections that is Uptown, Midtown and Downtown. The moniker was coined because Harlem is located in the upper region in the borough of Manhattan.
I have a personal history with the model, since this was the first shoe I can recall I went insane trying to track down a pair of black and grey mid’s I seen my friend Craig rocking during the 7th grade. I began to search for them, but ran into issues when I learned about sneaker forums and that not all shoe models are always released yearly. There are special models, general release, and endless colorways. Most importantly, I realized there are specialty stores and accounts that get certain models based on Nike’s tier system. Niketalk was just starting and I did not yet start using eBay until I was in high school. I gave up on them, since I could not find the shoes and I was a few seasons late.
After spending 3 months looking for the shoes, I eventually gave up. I ended buying these white mids instead, since I could no longer wait to buy my first pair of Uptowns. They were white with an orange gum bottom. The store I made the purchase was a sneaker spot in Jackson Heights that use to be right by the 7 train 82nd street station stop by the exit next to the Colombian bakery. The owners were Korean. I remember, since it was the first time I made a purchase without my mom around. I was nervous. I asked “if they had any Uptowns” and did not realize what I was talking about, but I pointed to the model and the ahjussi immediately understood. I went to school the next day and was blessed by my classmates.
I couldn’t properly give a consumer feedback on the shoes without speaking about my personal history with them and how I was knighted by my peers on being fly. When I saw these jewel pack joints in the outlet sitting, I was taken back to the first time I purchased Uptowns. One of the fun things about buying and collecting shoes is getting the shoe you want and paying for them below value or retail.
I got the shoe for a steal just randomly browsing the Nike outlet in Flushing. My intention was to buy dri-fit socks, but when you are in the outlet, you really never know if you will find a gem or not. I remember these sticking out because of the jewel check and the butter soft Pelle Pelle leather. The next thing that caught my attention is the orange sticker with a price tag of $30!
The Nike Air Force 1 Mid Retro Premium Jewel retro’s are an excellent rendition of how the silhouette use to be for the shoe back in the late 1990s and early 2000s up until 2006-2007 when Nike revised the shape. I did not like the new rendition because the toe box was too wide and the overall shoe silhouette became chunky. This particular PRM Jewel Pack model came in three colorways as a mid in white, mushroom brown, and pink in May 2017.
The beauty of this shoe is that it looks like a regular standard mid white Nike Air Force One to the untrained eye, but if you are keen to detail, you will see why this shoe is special. The tumbled and synthetic leather are found throughout the entire shoe. Even the inside is leather. If a Jordan 1 ever came out with this quality in terms of materials, aside from the Satin models, the hype would be astronomical. You can refer to how sneaker connoisseurs value the quality in the Nike Air Jordan I Shattered Back Board 1.0 and 2.0 models in terms of leather quality.
There is sacrifice with comfortability due to the premium leather materials in the internal construction of the shoe, but it is worth it to people such as myself that would endure style over comfortability in fashion pieces. I would not recommend wearing the shoe for an extended long period of time or if you are going to be doing a lot of walking.
As a general rule of thumb that includes wide footed people (I fall into this unfortunate category) you should go .5 size down from your normal Nike size. For example if you wear 10.5 for your Jordan I, you should purchase a 10 for your pair of Uptowns. We do not wear dirty white air forces in NYC that’s just a no bueno.