Heir Jordans

When it comes to athletic shoes, his sons make sure he's fit

By Al Carlos Hernandez
Published on LatinoLA: August 19, 2002

Heir Jordans

My sons make it a point to know the details about every model of Air Jordan athletic shoe. They know when the new ones are going to come out, which styles are played out, and how much they are going to cost. Jordan?s usually cost a least one hundred dollars, some go into the one hundred twenty five dollar range and that comes out to over fifty bucks a foot and that is too much money for recreational footwear, unless of course they are Alligator.

Back in the day, my entire budget for shoes for several lean years was less than a hundred bucks. Choices for home-boy Latinos back then were limited. Converse Chuck Taylor?s (In Oakland, they called the high tops Limousines). Spit-shined Stacy Adams for church, quincea?era?s, weddings, funerals or going to court. Unfortunately, if you grew out of them, you passed them down to your little brother, hoping that your older brother grew out of his. If you came from a family of girls, you had to get a paper route to buy your own zapatos or be forced to deal with gender identification issues.

The following is a partial list of cars I have purchased for one hundred dollars: 1960 Chevy Bel-Air, 1959 Ford, 1959 Renault, and for two hundred fifty, a 1961 Impala lowrider complete with 520?s and rims.

Athletic shoes are now very fashionable and have become a part of an outfit, termed ?Fit?. Ideally, they should match the entirety of what you are wearing regarding color and label. I was chastised for wearing a Nike jogging ?fit? with Adidas shoes. I thought I was looking tight, when in urban reality, I was weak, tore down, shot to the curb.

This label elitism seems rather pretentious ? I like to break things down to its lowest common denominator. Tennis shoes are for playing tennis, Jogging shoes are for jogging, Basketball shoes are made for going to the hoop, and if you did not pay for the shoes, you should be lucky to have someone buying your ungrateful self, anything at all.

I have succumbed to the hype and social pressure not to wear generics. Designer shoe zealots have told me that expensive shoes help your game. Knowing that I can use all the help I can get. I went out and bought a pair of hundred dollar Jordan?s to play a church basketball game against the Baptists on their home court. Although I looked tight, they beat us like redheaded stepchildren, simply because they were taller and had skills.

Disappointment at the loss was further complicated by the fact that I could not take the shoes back to the store like a Prom Suit, because after all of that drama they smelled like nachos.

Other basketball stars have their own shoes: Kobe?s, Iversons', and Payton?s. Wearing these give folks a certain paid status. Wearing shoes like, Karl ?The Mailman? Malone?s insure a certain broke ?your Mama bought your shoes at the Segunda"-status. That?s why I have found it critical to take one of my sons shoe-shopping with me so they can rate my footwear choices on the weak to tight scale.

Fashion should be an artistic reflection a healthy self image. I like the diversity regarding contemporary dress. It?s good that most Latinos now -a-days aren?t limited to button-to-the-top Pendeltons, khaki pants, and Converse uniform, like many of us wore back in the day.

That is not to say that I do not have that pinto collection in the closet because you never know what is going to come back in vogue. In fact, during a trip around the Southwest I realized that for many vatos, the look never evolved, and unfortunately neither did the attitude.

I now buy my shoes at outlets, and always end up with colorful stuff that is several seasons out-of-date, but no one in my age group has a clue that they are played out. The youngsters check me out and if the labels and the colors line up, I pass.

They figure not bad for an OG. At least he is still trying to stay in the game.

About Al Carlos Hernandez:
Al Carlos is a contributing columnist who prefers shoes on sale.

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