A few weeks ago the Air Jordan Bred XIII Low dropped all over the nation, and I was determined to get my hands on some. I'm not in it for the hype though like most marks... my need was pure "performance" - flexing while I sling these lattes! The barista life is mainly spent behind the bar so it's really all mental / look good, feel good... but now you can look forward to coming from behind the machine to put out more 12oz lids. Here's the Hype Barista's Top 5.
5. Air Jordan XIII Low 'Bred'
The reason for this whole post. The XIII is one of the more iconic J's due to its paw-like outsole pods, dimpled quarter panel and of course, the cat eye. The low version though has swapped out the cat eye for a pretty dope golden Jumpman.
Pros: The shoe is about 90% black, with a majority of that being leather. You can spill almost anything on them, then wipe them off with a damp rag at the end of the day and you're fresh for tomorrow... I actually copped the 'Dirty Breds' for this very reason. The outsole is herringbone (the zig-zags) which is the best traction on all surfaces wet or dry, period, and them being a lowtop helps keep your ankles from combusting as well.
Cons: Since not much has changed since their creation in 1997 they're very overbuilt compared to shoes now. Protection was the performance key at the time resulting in bulky, stiff shoes. They get very hot very fast, especially when you're on your feet a while. The last (foot form) they're built on is quite wide which means most people's feet swim in the shoe. And for some reason XIII rubber gets dirty it never gets fully clean again.
4. Jordan XI Low "Bred"
The first time I saw the Bred Low was at the Shoezeum in like 2011. Jordy Geller was gifted a game-worn pair from someone affiliated with Michael back in the mid-90's. (This rating also includes the Infrared XI Low from last year and the possible Space Jam XI Low this fall)
Pros: Like the XIIIIs above they're like about 90% black which means you can spill almost anything on them. The patent rand and ballistic-like mesh is also mad easy to clean. Most importantly, the comfort is reasonable with the low-profile max air (like the AF1 and Air Monarch) and the low makes them not as hot.
Cons: With all the patent and tight-weave, triple-backed mesh these get hot really fast. And even though it's a retro, not much has changed since '96 so they're heavy and relatively uncomfortable and when standing still for a while.
4. Dunk SB Low 'De La Soul'
These might one of the freshest on the list. Back in 2005 Nike SB did a De La Soul-themed set of dunks for their album '3 Feet High and Rising". Ten years later they're back! Nike's skate division vowed never to retro anything, so they flipped the colorways; the low is brown-based and the high, white.
Pros: SB Dunks are built to take a beating. Double padded tongue and collar, top-loaded Zoom Air and herringbone traction. Anything spilled on these will pretty much enhance the the design if you ask me.
Cons: Most of the upper is nubuck which is one of the hardest materials to clean. The upper gets quite hot on these too and after a while the double-stuffed tongue can hinder circulation and cause discomfort on the top off the foot.
2. Adidas Cosmic Boost
These. Things. Slap. I wear them as much as I can without feeling like a loser for wearing the same shoes all the time. I wear them to everything. I still have a bit of disrespect for Adi for launching Primeknit the way they did, when they did (another story for another time) but my goodness this shoe is perfectly balanced like a fine pocket knife!
Pros: About 75% of this upper is Primeknit, the rest is mesh making it super lightweight and breathable. Even the heel is on point with collar molded away from the achilles preventing irritation. But the best part of it all is the tooling. Boost foam alone is too soft and unstable causing fatigue throughout the day. The back half on the Cosmic Boost has been swapped out for something like Phylon. This provides stability in the heel when at the register, and comfort in the forefoot while pulling shots and mixing drinks behind the machine.
Cons: With the whole upper being mesh there is little to no protection. If you drop your portafilter or knock over that freshly poured drink, that's your a... foot. But if you do happen to spill they will dry up quite quickly. They also only make one black colorway to date and I think it's ugly. So I'm just waiting for my pair to get dirty.
1. Nike Huarache Run
Hands down the best in the list. Of course this list is biased and completely based on my opinion and only based on what has recently dropped. But once you try all these out for a bit you will hopefully see why I say what I say. This might be old technology (it's just plain ol' injected foam) but Tinker knew what was up when he drew these up back in '91.
Pros: It's a low top, minimal offset, flexible runner. Knobby rubber underfoot keeps you from slipping and the booty construction allows you to keep them laced loosely (no lace pressure). The all black upper is easy to clean and the neoprene in the forefoot and collar can absorb a lot if stuff splashes on them. They're retroing like crazy right now so there's plenty of colors to chose from. Don't like what's available, iD some!
Cons: The mesh/neoprene packages that are most commonly releasing now are just asking to pass a steaming pitcher of milk right though to your toes. There are full leather options out there though for all you lames who don't like second degree burns.
Nike Free Run - Mad comfortable but could cause fatigue in the arch; Very slippery when wet
Jordan III - Easily could have replaced a few at the top but hasn't released lately
Reebok Question - Too bulky; Haven't released any lately that are dark-based (or that aren't nubuck or suede)
Nike Pegasus 31 - Too tall, too much open mesh and not hypy enough... but damn are they comfortable
Converse Chuck II - Just dropped so I don't know yet, but it seems very promising! That Lunar drop-in is on point!
Again, this is all my opinion, right? What are YOU wearing?! Comment below or tag us in your pics and tweets using #hypebarista.