13 December 2006

Sneaker Flashback

Remember the 80's? Sure, who could forget? All those crazy fashions that (of course) are coming back. One thing that never really went away, but dropped below the fashion radar, was black sneakers in general and black Reeboks in particular.

The Ex-O-Fit (available in both low and high versions) was marketed to men as a general fitness shoe (years before "cross-trainers"). Not a running shoe, not a tennis shoe, not a basketball shoe. Just a general casual athletic shoe. Pure marketing genius. They were/are also made in white, but the black ones were much cooler. Just about everybody wore them; the women's version (which had come out first), called Freestyle, was marketed as an aerobics shoe.

I recently stumbled across the Ex-O-Fit at the web site Shoes.com. I don't think I had ever looked at the site before. It's a lot like Zappos and ShoeBuy: lots of brands, everything at pretty much list price, free shipping both ways in case you need to exchange for a different size.

But I didn't end up buying the Ex-O-Fits. Even though I like the overall design, I was on the fence about them because of a couple of small style details (typical). Then I found another classic, though less popular, Reebok style on the same site that had also been around since the 80's and was also available in black: the NPC tennis shoe. I had owned a pair of white NPC's and had really liked them, not least because they're almost entirely devoid of unnecessary detail. Some people would say that makes them boring; I say that makes them subtle. I've never liked the busy, overdone look of modern sneakers anyway.

I didn't know they were still available in any color, so I was pleased to see them and decided I needed a pair in black. But I have to be honest: I'm having a little buyer's remorse. I kind of wish I'd gotten the Ex-O-Fits after all. Maybe it's just nostalgia. Maybe I'll buy them anyway.

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