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Posted on March 25 2022

In 1998 I was lucky enough to wrangle a trip to California to attend the legendary ASR trade show to preview new product (lol) and take in all the culture I’d consumed from the other side of the planet via such antiquated media as magazines, videos & CD’s.

My tourist checklist included skating famous skate spots, buying Starbucks (it was 98!), meeting Mickey Mouse and acquiring a pair of Nike’s that clearly looked like they were from the future…

Shiny as hell, air bubbled out, possibly NASA endorsed.

Over the period of 2 weeks dozens and dozens of major and minor sneaker retailers were visited, but nothing met the criteria.

But on the second last day with “Nike shoe from the future” budget yet to be spent, in a random LA mall, there they were.

Nike Air Max 97’s, black and reflective silver. Hints of royal blue and orange, glistening on a foot encompassing massage with every step giving Air Max. Guaranteed to consume the flash from any late night party photo.

Now there is nothing better than new sneakers and socks on a plane, at least give your feet a cheeky little upgrade. So I saved cracking the box open for the grueling 18 hour transit home. Plus if I saw anyone when arriving at Tullamarine they’ed peep them… and word would inevitably begin to spread about my obvious shopping trip in the future.

As I strutted through the airport metal detector, half expecting the reflective heat from the shoes to set it off, the security officer quickly glances down to my feet.


As unbelievable as it seems, back then if you took your shoes off through airport security they probably would question letting you on the plane. So it wasn’t that. Shoes on, totally on the 1998 LAX security thumbs up tip.

My nano second of compressed tension quickly exploded into joy…

“Those shoes, they’re tight!”

He gets it! These shiny as hell, air bubbled out, possibly NASA endorsed shoes, “They’re tight!”

Not only will it look like I’m returning home via Delorian, now I have the equally “impressive” current day Angeleno colloquialism in which to describe them with to my friends and family. And boy, did I.

Now years have passed and fun we did have. But eventually, sadly, inevitably, there are times in your life when at Camberwell Market, on a winters morning, $20 seems more fun than your beat up old shoes.

But there are also times in your life where you get to order shoes for your sneaker shop. So we’ll always be down to run the latest seasonal takes on the Nike Air Max 97.

Cause you know, “Those shoes, they’re tight!”

If you're wondering this is about the closest I've come to finding my long lost colour.