Modern sneaker-culture’s brash birth

BACK in 2005, Jeff Staple and Nike came together to form one of the trainer-world’s most important collaborative release; the ‘Pigeon” Dunk. A shoe dedicated to New York City and inspired by New York’s native bird — this shoe was labelled by many as the one to start the cult-following we see today… but why? What happened during the week of February 22nd to make this such a landmark trainer?

 150 pairs. 30 pairs. 5 stores.

Four days prior to release the shipment arrived; you guys know how it feels when something special arrives in delivery – box after box after box of SW 97/1 sounds familiar doesn’t it? Well, Jeff recalls the phone ringing some moments after he opened the first box,

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Image from: StockX

“I hear you got the Pigeons today.”

24 hours later, kids rocked up with tents despite the heavy snowstorms NYC was being exposed to. Pizza was supplied by the store to those battling the conditions – at this point there were still four days until release day.

This was the period of time when Niketalk, an internet forum, was your main point of call for release dates, leaks, anything. Social Media had no contribution in this landmark.

The morning of release sparked a whole new level of crazy.

As the NYPD arrived and asked for the queue to separate, obviously these kids weren’t leaving.

They’d been there for four days. People were arrested – a lot of people were arrested. The SWAT team arrived.

But campers wouldn’t leave without a fight; searches were carried out and it transpired the enthusiasts, well some of them, had been carrying weapons. Machetes, bats, knives; dotted across the pavement.

Keep in mind there were 100s of customers lining the pathway of this street in Lower East side NY. Nike hadn’t seen this before, Staple hadn’t seen this before – the trainer-world hadn’t seen this before.

Image credit: Hypebeast

How did they get around this? The 30, the lucky 30 who had initially braved New York’s snowy coditions were all taken through the store’s back entrance post-purchase and straight into taxis. Staple paid for these now moving targets to get home, shoes in hand, safely.

This was a trainer that hit the front page of the New York Post – a paper hailed in all of its glory for exposing politicians, reporting scandals and generally being a legacy paper. Jeff Staple’s Dunk made the front page.

A day later, Timberland amongst others were chasing Staple’s attention. He had caused a riot, they wanted a riot.

This Dunk retailed at $150. When people ask from where the trainer resell and hype market transpired, I’d say this is a pretty good place to start.

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