I’m not going to pretend I was ever a huge REEBOK CLASSIC LEATHER fan. I didn’t dislike them, but at the time, I associated the shoe with everything I wasn’t interested in: hanging out in the pub, driving crap cars badly and Crimewatch. Looking back, that all seems a little unfair, but the shoe seemed genres away from my interests in skating and hip-hop. Over twenty years later, the shoe has become a genuine icon of the UK streets – and I’m far more accepting of it.
This special release immediately appealed to me. Aside from the fact that one of my friends worked on the concept and design, I can honestly say that it’s the best incarnation of this model that I’ve ever seen. Reebok didn’t just decide to work with brands on this project: they went deeper and chose individuals as well. And who better choice than Gary Warnett to help create something with a bit of thought behind it? The man would deny it himself, but he’s become one of the authorities on a number of subjects – footwear being a prime example – and he’s unturned almost every stone of modern-day street culture in his excellent articles and interviews. If ever there was a perfect example of what hard work, talent and scathing humour can achieve, then this man is it.
If for some strange reason you haven’t seen Gary’s blog before, I suggest you stick the kettle on and clear a few hours to explore his epic ramblings.
The attention to detail has made this simple model into something totally different. This goes far beyond blocking out panels in Illustrator and creating a colourway: everything here seems to have a reason for its inclusion on the final shoe. Instead of ignoring the shoe’s association with misconduct, Reebok have let the professor go wild – references to incarceration are cleverly done without turning the shoe into a walking cliché and for all the clever details (I wonder how long it would have taken me to work out what the single black eyelet was referencing?) the end result is a beautiful piece of footwear. Cream/tan leather uppers are spiced up with rich orange canvas and an ice sole and the arrow insignia (reminiscent of prison uniforms) looks great.
When I started writing this piece, I planned out how I would try and talk about all of the references that Gary had embedded into the shoe, but the very best thing you can do is go and read his comprehensive write up on his blog.
The REEBOK X GARY WARNETT CLASSIC LEATHER is scheduled to drop on SATURDAY 12.10.13 and will be available with the confirmed UK stockists listed on our Product Page, which you can access via the link-through below.
Images: Packer Shoes