Bigfoot in Hong Kong

I've gone back to the future with these two new pairs of Nikes. Nike doesn’t sell very many non-hideous sneakers in [CURRENT YEAR], so I caved and got a “recrafted” version of a 1992 sneaker (the Air Skylon) and a reissued 1997 model.

Having larger-than-the-median feet in the Big Lychee poses some challenges. On Hong Kong stairs, for example, the steps are narrow enough that my toes or heels (a third of my feet, actually) are sticking out into thin air when I’m descending or ascending a staircase. Another headache is the lack of options when it comes to purchasing footwear.

Nike.com.hk currently has a single model of sneakers available in size 11.5.

I wear a 11.5 (U.S.) sneaker and, at the moment, Nike.com.hk has exactly one (very unappealing) men’s sneaker available in my size. Brick-and-mortar sneaker shops have never, in all the years I’ve been based in H.K., stocked any 11.5s at all. Period. So I’ve always had to buy footwear online and have it shipped internationally, at additional expense and with all of the additional hassle that implies.

This pair is contemporary. These are a bit George-Jetson-y, but they’re one of the very few un-fugly newish Nike releases.

Footlocker.com used to be reliable, but recently fumbled my purchase of a pair of Air Jordan Proto Max 720s badly enough that I’ve sworn off doing business with the company for the foreseeable future.

They took my order and did nothing with it for more than a week. When they missed their promised shipping date, I reached out to Footlocker.com on livechat and learned that they had no stock. After they cancelled my order, they salted the wound with a chintzy emailed discount code for a future order.

Finding the shoes shoes on an urban-coolhunter-vibe European retail website (OVERKILL Berlin, Sneaker, Wear & Graffiti purveyors), I put in my order and waited. From Farfetch, I bought a couple more pairs: the Air Skylon 2 / FOG (a “recrafted” design originally sold in 1992) and some Air Max 97s (replicas of shoes from 1997).

I've gone back to the future with these two new pairs of Nikes. Re-lacing these sneakers turned the first pair of eyelets into little poop-smeared anuses. What gives, Nike?

I had no idea that the FOG in the name of the non-air-cushion sneakers stood for Fear of God (the shoes are a collabo between Nike and FoG) or that the phrase was written on sneakers in low-contrast white-plastic-on-white-suede. Accidental hipster, that’s a-me I guess.

What did irk me about the Skylon IIs was the fact that, while I was re-lacing them (swapping out the stock too-short white laces that came with spring-loaded drawstring stoppers for a pair of normal black laces) an area around each of the two leather eyelets nearest the toes turned brown.

The laces are black and didn’t bleed color onto the shoes. As you can see in the photo above, the brown splotches are on the sides of the eyelets facing the edges of the shoes rather than the sides that are beneath the laces, so it wasn’t abrasion from the laces that caused the change, either.

At first, I thought that the laces had kicked up some leather dust from inside the eyelets and that it had settled onto the suede surface near the holes, but the brown didn’t blow off when I blasted a splotch with canned spray-air. Gently washing one of the areas with a minuscule amount of mild soap yielded no joy, either. After snapping the pic embedded in this post, I touched them up with a white liquid chalk marker and the result was more than acceptable to yours truly.

The mean streets of Hong Kong are dank and grungy enough that they won’t remain pristine for very long once I actually begin wearing them outdoors.