Q: I am trying to find something that I am not sure exists. I play tennis fairly regularly and I am looking for a performance tennis shoe that doesn't look like I just stepped out of an Academy. Currently I wear these (Asics). I like these a lot performance-wise, but I want something with a more vintage look like these (Nikes) or this (K-Swiss). Am I chasing a unicorn here? —John
A: John, those Asics you're wearing have "gel" in the model name, which we're pretty sure is a footwear prereq for enrollment into IMG/Bollettieri.
We play tennis year-round on clay, hardcourt, and even grass (see below) and have recently struggled with the same problem. For many years we wore the Rod Lavers — which are similar in style to the Nikes you admire — and while hardcourts shredded them faster than a 4.5 playing a 3, it was a small price to pay for their comfort and low-key iconicism.
Then in 2014 Adidas ruined the Rod Laver. They made them "freakishly heavy" with a sole that "feels like a 100lb slab of concrete," per the reviewers at adidas.com, with one critic adding, "If I could give a zero-star rating, I would." It's all true. Now they're discontinued entirely, which has led to the creation, naturally, of a Save the Adidas Rod Laver shoe" Facebook page. (BTW, please Like.)
But you didn't ask for a recent history of the Rod Laver. You want a performance tennis shoe with a vintage aesthetic, and we have it: The Puma GV Special. Now, Guillermo Vilas was no Rod Laver, and they were released a decade later than the Rods (1980), but they're far more rugged, and maintain compatibility with white Borg-inseam shorts and McEnroe headbands. Plus, if you look hard enough you can sometimes find them for about 35 bucks. Try 'em out and let us know what you think.
About those grass courts...
One of the many great treasures of our home state of Wisconsin is Sand Valley Golf Resort in Nekoosa. Besides 36 terrific walking-only holes (with 18 more coming in 2021), they have 9 grass courts. So along with your 3-wood and white balls, pack your woody and white balls.
Cutting straight through the toolbaggery like a stinger 3-wood is the simple streetwear style of the Adidas adiCross Classic. Adidas even relegated the three stripes to the heel notch, which may be obscured if you wear pants. We haven't been this excited about a new golf shoe since the Adidas "Invader" launched in 2002. Highly recommended.
Fit tip: As is always the case with Adidas, these, too, run one size small.
Q: Hi. I like old school Nikes (Jordans), Asics, Adidas and so on. Is it MB to be a sneakerhead? I assumed it wasn't. Am I correct? —Richard
To paraphrase Craig Finn, certain brands they get so scratched into our souls. And when we really start thinking about it — and we have been, because of your question — we realize that many of the brands that have been scratched into our souls (and, yes, soles) deepest and longest are sneaker brands.
It's possible we were introduced to McDonald's, Mars, Inc., and Coca Cola earlier than we were introduced to Puma, Adidas, Pony, and Converse. These days, however, we go years without a Big Mac, months without a Snickers bar, and sometimes even a week without a Coke. Whereas we believe that there is probably no 72-hour period over the course of our post-toddler lives where we have not worn one of the aforementioned brands for at least a couple hours.
And of course those brands have company in our overall collections — a quick assessment of our three nearest closets nets approximately 140 pairs of sneakers from roughly 30-plus brands, with heavy emphasis on Golden Goose, Tod's, Diemme, and Maison Margiela.
That said, we've never owned a pair of Air Jordans, much less cleaned them with a toothbrush. So are we sneakerheads?
As we understand the term, sneakerheads seem to focus on (a) shoes that NBA superstars and other professional athletes might credibly wear in regulation play, (b) shoes that Captain America might go jogging in, or (c) shoes that Marc Benioff might wear while delivering a keynote address at Dreamforce.
While we can embrace option (a) in limited contexts — we're not going to play tennis in our Maison Margielas — options (b) and (c) don't appeal to us under any scenario. Instead, we stick to vaguely businified sneakers — i.e., sneakers we could wear to work without, as we've said in the past about sweatpants, making our colleagues wonder if we're about to dunk on them.
In the end, we think the best way to express our thoughts on this is a Venn diagram:
I read this on The Daily Beast and thought it prudent to advise the MB. Toolbaggery has a deadly weapon in its arsenal: Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg. --Dino
Over two years ago we added "The Principle of Not Looking Like Mark Zuckerberg" to the MB canon, so we're definitely aware of the threat his fleece, Adidas slides, and non-pedicured toes pose. However, it should be noted that the rise of Microsoft did not lead to widespread adoption of fellow Harvard drop-out Bill Gates' colorblock-sweater-over-floral-woven look.
Ed. note: We are officially madly in love with Rebecca Dana, the author of the Beast piece.
Over time even the most Magnificent of Bastards can end up with a shortie or two running around the house. While parenthood clearly can have devastating lifestyle effects, it's also an opportunity to turn them into accessories that pack more sartorial punch than any belt, hat, or watch (OK, maybe not this watch).
Thank you for answering my MB polo shirt buttoning policy question! Here's a follow up: With Christmas around the corner family has been asking what I want. I've decided I'm ready to ditch the Clarks and get a legit pair of new business casual shoes for work (black and brown). To accomplish this I'm going to request gift cards but they'll have to be to the same store in order to stack them all together. But which store is the best for MB shoe shopping? Was thinking Nordstrom but haven't been that impressed with their selection. I'd also prefer an actual store versus online but will defer to your expert opinion. Where do you get your shoes? --Jay
A: We get our shoes all over the place. Any of the retailers linked on our home page, if they sell shoes we've probably bought a pair. Our biggest wins, however, have come from bluefly and we recommend it for you in spite of its online-ness. Great options for your immediate bizcash need and depending on your adventurousness and line of work, they've always got interesting sport/fashion from Prada, Puma, Tod's, and Adidas, which is the direction we're going these days.
Q: I need to buy a new pair of magnificent golf shoes, but I don't really know where to look. Any ideas??? Thanks! --Blake
A: Unfortunately golf shoes have followed in the footsteps of running shoes and gone all ugly space-age (top), when MBs just want the golf shoe equivalent of New Balance 574s (bottom).
It's difficult to offer suggestions in such a depressed golf shoe environment, but last season's Puma Club Shoe works and is on sale for $70. Also keep your eyes on eBay for Adidas and Puma models when they were cool, like back in 2008.
We love ssense.com. And we love Adidas. But when hack designer Jeremy Scott gets involved it turns into this. We can't decide if it's a Halloween costume, an outfit for the world's biggest Cincinnati Bengals fan, or pajamas for your super-gay five year-old nephew.
Q: If you have nasty feet and shouldn't be wearing sandals, what do you recommend with shorts? Some Pumas with low socks? Thanks. --Chris
A: Over the last three decades, thousands of Vietnamese immigrants have journeyed across oceans in boats we'd be afraid to board in a wading pool just to make your feet presentable in sandals. Get a pedicure! And if you think that sounds kind of girly, do you know who else gets pedicures? Lions! Well, circus lions anyway. And if it's man enough for them, it's man enough for you too.
And what if you have some kind of physical deformity a pedi can't cure? You're on the right track. We prefer anything vintage from Puma, Tretorn, Adidas, with no-show socks or none at all. You'd have a hard time going wrong picking just about anything from Classic Sport Shoes' Adidas Originals page.
Q: Are track jackets still Mag-Bastardly? Or, have they been relegated to soccer hoodlums and clearance sales on Rockstar? By the way, I'm referring to the classics- Fred Perry, Adidas, etc. that are worn during appropriate, casual times (i.e. not your "going out" jacket). --ARP
A: Track jackets hit peak popularity a few years ago, with every designer and their uncle doing a version. We've definitely noticed a drop-off in our own track jacket wearing over the past 4-5 years, but the classics like Adidas Originals or Fila verge on timeless.
Q: Well I went looking for the Dassler Kapitans (from the post on April 27, 2009) at Puma's site and they only have one size...for people with very small feet. Guess I missed the window on those. Any suggestions for a comparable alternative? Also, what is the shoe the MB has on in the current header, out of curiosity? --Gregory
A: Too bad on the Kapitans. There are a couple pair in larger sizes available on ebay for only $83.11, but in a lighter brown. Also, keep your eyes open on store.puma.com because they do restock.
For a substitute, take a look at the Roma Re-Luxe which is available in many sizes at Zappos. We've probably said this before, but Puma is redefining men's footwear, and we're totally on board. Now men just need more things to wear these with besides denim.
Regarding the golf shoes the MB is wearing in the header photo, they're Adidas "modo Delmar," and are widely unavailable. One thing we've learned about Adidas golf shoes, if you find a pair you like, buy a half-dozen of them because they will be completely gone the following season.
A: Sadly, this year track jackets have been replaced by the "hoodie," a trend Magnificent Bastards should not participate in. For instance, look at this ridiculous Kidrobot skulls hoodie (from Barney's Co-Op no less) that you're likely to see on a bum sometime next fall. As a countervailing measure we recommend confident MBs slip into this Adidas hybrid track jacket/cardigan from coolestshop.
2 parts Hayman's Old Tom Gin
1 part sweet vermouth (Carpano Antica Formula or Dolin Rouge)
1/4 part Luxardo Maraschino liqueur
2 dashes Fee Brothers Whiskey Barrel Aged Bitters
Shake or swirl lightly, garnish with a lemon twist.