Actually we were just looking for a good reason to have another little chat on sneakers with Simon “Woody” Wood, legendary founder and editor of Melbourne-based Sneaker Freaker magazine. Since Wood and his team just launched the sneaker encyclopedia The Ultimate Sneaker Book (Taschen Verlag, €40) we found the perfect opportunity...
Sneaker Freaker just dropped The Ultimate Sneaker Book–a roundup of sneaker history on more than 650 pages. What’s your favorite story in the book?
From Chuck Taylor to Kanye–via Reebok Pump, Nike ACG, Vision, Troop and the Air Max franchise among others–The Ultimate Sneaker Book is easily the most comprehensive footwear history lesson every assembled. About half of the 700 pages are all-new content made for the book; the rest came from Sneaker Freaker magazine and a few of our publishing projects.
But from a personal point of view, the Airwalk interview I did with Sinisa Egelja was particularly memorable. He was an amazing personality and an eccentric Australian genius who had a huge impact on skateboarding style. The book is dedicated to all the shoe dogs out there that made the industry what it is today. Without Tinker, Hiroshi, Mark Parker, Jim Davis and Adi Dassler there would be no sneaker scene and I’d be out of a job.
What are your favorite sneaker of all times?
Easy question–Air Force 1. It’s a chunky baller that suits a gent in his middle years and looks good in just about any application, day or night, smart or casual.
What’s the max amount you would ever spend on a pair of sneakers?
The whole reason I started Sneaker Freaker was to get free shoes, so bragging about paying huge sums of money is a corny cop-out. But since you asked, I nearly paid $4k for the Nike Mags, but my bid was refused by eBay on account of the T&Cs that related to shipping shoes with batteries internationally. I’m still not sure how I feel about missing out on them. Do I regret it or not?
Designer sneakers by Gucci, Balenciaga, LV–yes or no?
For me, it’s a no, but for others, hell yeah! I’ve always found minimalism conceited. Why put so little effort into making something boring? Saying that, there are so many amazing footwear designs that I admire and respect, but there’s no way you’ll ever see them on my feet–I’m looking at you Triple S and Air Max 720. If you want to go down super-fashion street, you have to buy-in from head to toe.
What’s the best sneaker store in the world?
Bodega in Boston. Great atmosphere, great staff, great selection and they do everything their own way with a sense of humor. Shout outs to Concepts, Overkill, HAL, Opium, Footshop, Hanon, atmos, Afew, 43einhalb, Packer, Footpatrol, ATC, Patta, Kith and all the other indie boutiques, I still love your stores too!