By Ian Sullivan
The sneaker industry in the 90s was probably the most innovative time for sneakers. New releases included the Nike Uptempo, the Reebok Questions, and the legendary Jordan 11s. But what did that look like in the numbers? Was the industry making the same print in the stocks and annual sales? What were they doing, exactly, to innovate and who were the ones paving the way for the people to lead the industry in the new century?
In the 90s, we were given some of the greatest athletes in NBA history, names like Iverson, Hardaway, Kobe, Pippen, and most importantly, Jordan. Brands began realizing the true power of athletes to push sneakers into the public eye. Nike, Reebok, and Adidas were making deals with these legends.
Designers, too, were influential in the 90s. They were essentially stars in the sneaker industry, but no star shined as bright like Tinker Hatfield (he’s like the godfather of sneaker culture). He was also the man that saved the Jordan brand, by creating the revolutionary design of the Jordan 3. The story goes, that Michael Jordan was very close to leaving his shoe deal with Nike, due to some complications. Tinker Hatfield’s shoe design impressed Michael Jordan so much, that he he decided to keep his deal with Nike.
So now that I gave a little history, what about someone who actually lived through the era, and is also a collector of sneakers and shoes? That someone is d.techs very own Quincy Stamper.
Q: First memory about sneakers
In 6th grade at Graham Junior High, style to match the outfits, with sneakers especially – Nike Cortez or Jordans. Parkas were a big part of the culture too. I had a blue N.Y. Yankee jacket with matching Nike Cortez. The shoe craze was made when my cousins would let me have their shoes that they had bought with drug money. This was happening from 1988 to about 1991. 9th grade a friend of mine mine, Mark Africa, was a huge sneakerhead, and he made me a fan of sneakers. I made money by doing odd jobs some good some bad. Communication on getting sneakers was pretty scarce, unlike the shoes that were available at the time. My love for sneakers started when i lived in Mountain View. In college, I was low on money, so no sneakers. Out of school, I was able to get my sneakers, because I had a job. It was cool to me to learn the history and find some self identity. All my shoes now are SBs which are the skateboarding branch of Nike, because of the style, and the appreciation of the sport of skating.
Q: First pair of sneakers?
Jordan 2 “Chicago.” Was bought by working for a family member at bowling alley construction.
Q: What were the 90s like, in terms of sneakers?
Air Max 95, Jordans, didn’t really care too much at the time. But i did see that Timberland boots were the thing, and clothing brands were bigger than the shoe game
Q: Do you consider yourself a sneakerhead, and if so what does that mean to you?
No, i don’t follow the culture. I’m not about the lifestyle, and I just buy what i like and like what I buy.