The G-Unit Sneaker
First up we bring you the infamous G-Unit sneaker that didn't quite hit the scene with the boom that Rapper 50 cent achieved. 50 Cent originally established the G-Unit clothing company in conjuction with Marc Ecko back in 2003. Marck Ecko expected a response similar to when Spike Lee teamed up with Michael Jordan to promote his Air Jordans but they didn't quite reach those heights when the sneaker released. The sneaker itself lacked any definitive design or style. Quite simple sneakerheads didn't flock to the shoe because it was way to plain. Everyone had their favorite pair of Nike Air Force 1 kicks for that occasion. You can now find these sneakers for as low as $39.99 USD on E-bay and various other retailers.
The S.Carter Sneaker
While we're on the subject of rappers let's take a look at the S.Carter series started by Hip Hop Mogul Jay Z. Now when Jay Z signed on to do this deal, no one in the industry really expected him to wear them all the time. They resembled the popular Gucci tennis shoe that he frequently wore prior to his shoe release. The excitement faded fast once they hit stores, but the originals were highly anticipated given his star power. These too can be found on E-bay and other various retailers ranging from $39.99-59.99 USD.
The Shaq Dunkman
It's almost hard to put this shoe on the list because Shaquille O'Neal's heart was in the right place when he released his “Dunkman” series to all Payless retailers. Shaq did that in major part because he knew that all kids could not afford the high-priced Jordans, Nikes and even including his own Reebok “Shaqnosis” and “Shaq Attack” series. These shoes were priced at no more than $30.00 USD and could even be found for as low as $8.99 USD. The shoe was quite popular when it first debuted but since has become pretty obsolete in the sneaker world. If there are any pairs floating around they probably retail for next to nothing and for good reason:
Now who can forget those shoes with the spinning rims! If you couldn't afford them on your car you could now at least sport them on your shoes and be just as cool right? Wrong. These shoes came and went quicker than Latrell Spreewell's erratic career. In fact Dada named these sneakers with the rims “Sprees” after Mr. Spreewell himself. Chris Webber signed on as well to endorse but still the shoes had little success due to the shiny colors and odd designs. Good look trying to find a pair of these:
The British Knights
All of our dads owned a pair but that doesn't deem this shoe a classic. British Knights first hit the US in 1986 and became quite popular among the hip hop scene in the early 90's. The shoes were recognizable by their chunky sole design, large tongue and inclusion of multiple “BK” logos on the heel, toe guard and upper. And its because of those very features that they make the list. They were too loud and too logo-y. In fact those logos were the reason behind their decline. n the early 1990s the Crips street gang wore the shoes and took the “BK” logo to indicate “Blood Killer,” in reference to the rival gang. The rumors are reported to have contributed to the decline in popularity of the brand at schools and universities. Alot of schools indeed banned these shoes as a result:
It was hard not to want a pair of these flashy shoes if you were a fan of the And 1 street basketball series. I can remember trying to imitate all those fancy crossovers and spins on the court after every episode. Then I convinced my parents to get me a pair for basketball camp just to see if I could further improve my game. Boy was I wrong. It was then I learned that the sneakers don't make the players. And I later found out that most of the And 1 players did't even sport the shoe for good reason. They were cheaply made from what I remember but then again they were quite inexpensive.
If you were born in the late 80's or early 90's then you probably had a pair of these as a toddler. They model themselves after the Air Jordan series because they had athletes such as Kareem Abdul-Jabbar, Hakeem Olajuwan, and Karl Malone endorsing the brand. The original lines were typically featured in high-end department stores such as Macy's but as the decade turned L.A. Gear shoes became easier and easier to find in other stores. The improved accessibility helped L.A. Gear's sales, and the company responded by coming out with more and more shoe lines to accommodate buyers. As the decade continued L.A. Gear began aggressively promoting its performance athletic shoe line. By 93' L.A. Gear's popularity was beginning to fade to the limelight. Within a year the company began restricting access to the shoes, returning to higher-end department stores to market the brand. In 94', L.A. Gear abandoned their men's performance footwear line and began marketing the lifestyle brands for women and children more aggressively but they would eventually declare file for bankruptcy in 98'. Another one bites the dust.
Now this shoe has been around since the beginning of time. Fred Flintstone owned a pair. But in all seriousness if you have never heard of this shoe you might think it was a Puma at first glance. That is the precise reason they make this list. They started out as more of a sporting shoe for soccer and football players but tried their luck in the world of sneakers, Like most companies that have popularity they achieved success in the beginning but that popularity faded quickly once other brands that offered different styles started popping up. Although you won't see many pairs floating around the states nowadays, they are still quite popular in Europe and Asia.
I recently have seen a lot of people trying to claim 'old school' by rocking the Hi-Tec Squash shoe. I'd personally suggest they get them some Classic Chuck Taylors and call it a day. You can't get more old school than that it my opinion. They actually had a technology called ABC—Air Ball Concept. They had no major endorses but used their bright colors and different designs to attract buyers. They remind me of a second rate Saucony sneaker but that's just me. I've heard horror stories of friends foolishly playing basketball in them and the shoe ends up splitting from heel to toe.
And last but not least we bring you the Mitre sneaker. Now at first glance they appear to be a rather plain leather shoe right? Well that's not quite leather. In fact it was comparable to a cheap suede-ish plastic material. Sounds awful. Especially because they were made to resemble the popular soccer shoe that most players wore back then. Its easy to assume that these shoes didn't stick around long at all.