by Rev Run
In the early to mid-80s, people were only wearing and looking for sneakers that were popular and simple. This was also the time that the style tide changed from punkish to people wearing things a little more sexy, like leather shoes or suede Pumas. Just in the area of Hollis (Queens, NY) people were wearing different types of sneakers and starting to spend more money on kicks. Some way [Shelltoes] just got into our neighborhood and we put them on our feet and the world responded. We were in the midst of something. It’s like if there was a new word out like, “You perpetratin’ a fraud,” I’d be the first to say it on a record. I was so connected to making music that the second a new thing, or thought or some phrase that somebody from Hollis said, I had it on a record before it became extra cool. It was like, “What are those?” Before they could break, I’m breakin’ them. When it starts to smell like a hood thing, it’s already under my foot, ‘cus I got a record deal and I’m extra cool. Now you learning about Adidas real quick ‘cus we chose them. Now that we chose them, you chose them and they exploded and it helped their brand and in the end helped me launch my own sneaker company.
The next step in wearing the sneaker was the way we rocked them. I guess it was the extreme hood-flavor that people knowing that guys coming straight from jail wore them with no shoestrings for whatever reason. Then they used to try to call them “felon shoes” and they recognized that they didn’t let you have shoestrings in jail, ‘cus you might hang yourself, I heard. Run-DMC was extremely cool. We wore the sneakers the way that we emulated Jam Master Jay’s closest homeboy or Jay himself, ‘cus that’s how cool he was. It came straight from one of our ideas or our homeboy’s ideas. The look became mass marketed because we were so connected to big record deals.
When questioned if I had problems with the sneaker staying on my feet because we sometimes didn’t wear the laces I say, “Not one.” It wasn’t even a question. The sneaker didn’t come off our feet. For whatever reason, it was magic, I don’t know. It wasn’t an issue for us, or the rest of the world. I don’t ever remember thinking, “I shouldn’t wear my shoes with no shoestrings.”
Our gear was a natural fit for us, there was no dress code. Just like y’all do now, we were cool, we knew what to do. We were fashion forward, knew how to dress and it was about however we felt it should be rocked. We were in control and extremely confidant. If [we rocked them] with the Adidas suit you saw us in, fine; if it was the leather pair of pants, fine; a pair of Lee’s fine. It was whatever we thought. We were just that dope.