Sam Smith has been coming into our office for weeks talking about his desire for a fresh pair of Reebok Pumps. He had been all over the city looking for them, "Not one mall has them anywhere." After hearing him complain a few times too many we finally broke down and showed him the Internet in all it's glory. Turns out there are still places to find that iconic shoe (we knew that, he didn't).
But, it wasn't his complaining that struck a chord with us. Everyone knows we can handle that fully well on our own. It was the back stories and reasoning behind his want. So, when a couple weeks had passed and we failed to hear an update on the 'Bok saga, we figured that he had moved on to greener pastures. Turns out that wasn't the case and a quick text message the other morning confirmed that the internet does work - it was, simply put - a glorious "foot selfie" of his new shoes in action. And just like that, Sneak of the Week returns. We begged him to come to the shop and let us shoot his new foot covers with a pair of our SEATAC Airport Socks, just because they would look so damn good together.
Sam had very specific reasons as to why he needed these shoes. But, as fellow sneaker heads will attest, they aren't anything particularly new. The main one cited? That he simply couldn't afford them as a youngster when they were at the height of their popularity. "I begged and bothered my parents about it non-stop, but their tune never changed — 'heck no, you're not getting those shoes' — was their answer every time."
Sam wouldn't be stopped there. "I just wanted to feel that air hugging my feet. So, I built my own."
Turns out before Sam had created the video series Behind the Barriers with Jeremy Powers, he was a tinkerer of another sort. An at home shoe tinkerer.
"I bought a whole bunch of stuff. Tubes and hoses, glue, exacto knives and things that I could use to make my own pumps. I even found something — I can't remember what at the moment — that I was going to use as the pumping part at the front of the tongue. It totally didn't work. I cut apart this cheap shoe that I bought at Wal-Mart or something — remember I'm like 12 at the time — it totally didn't work at all and I remember leaving it as just a big pile of crap."
In case you're looking to build your own. Sneaker Freaker has a awesome article on the whole shoe phenomenon called Pump up and Air Out! The History of the Reebok Pump.
Then, earlier this year while at a Dilly-Dally show here in Portland the iconic shoes came springing back into his mind. Taking the term "shoe gazing" to another level Sam acknowledged that the lead singer of the band is what re-sparked his desire to acquire a pair of the shoes. "I realized, I'm an adult now, I can just go get them if I want them."
His only requirement was that the shoes had to have the iconic orange basketball on the front. "There are loads of Pumps these days. There are new ones for cross fit or whatever with the pump that is further down the side. I specifically wanted the basketball and I specifically wanted them to be orange." So, when he found this pair — the Orange Pump Omni Lite Sneakers — on the Hypebeast website, he was more than stoked. The whole damn shoes is orange. Plus, the more time we spent standing around and looking at the shoe, the more we realized that even though we were getting all nostalgic about it, the shoe was appealing in its own way. With updated materials and the bright orange color, the rebooted shoe was starting to draw us in.
Do you think you could play basketball in those? "Well, duh, they say the dang word on the side of the shoe." Ok, well, there's your answer.
It seems like he isn't the only one that is stoked on his awesome new kicks. "Oh, so on the way over here, this lady - I think she was kind of meth'd out - was like 'damn, daaaaamn, those shoes are orange.' I was stoked."
And we're just stoked that Sam finally made his sneaker dreams come true, but there was one more request that we had before we could let him go. Can you pump them up for us, just so we can hear that satisfying technology in action?
Previously on Sneak of the Week: Adidas Crazylight Boost Primeknit