I had no idea these were being released until Crooked Tongues posted them on the news page. A busy week of work (3am bedtimes for a number of days) ground to a halt and even though I’ve never queued for any shoe release before, I was tempted for these Tier Zero ‘Tonal’ Air Flows.
Officially, there were 18 pairs available in each colour (an olive khaki colourway, seen here, and black) to be released at Selfridges, Oxford Street in London. Doors were to be opened down in the ‘Ultralounge’ department at 10am, on Saturday 18th June 2011. Recalling my days at Crooked, I wondered if there would lots of people lining up overnight, as per some of the more infamous sneaker releases (the adidas 35th Superstars at the original Foot Patrol, the Year of the Dog AF1s, the ‘What The Dunks’ at NikeTown etc.) – or had those days passed? I’m still not sure I believe that Nike would go to the trouble of orchestrating a release of a production run that was less than the standard Hyperstrike quantity, but then again…
I finished work, went to bed at 4am and set my alarm for two hours later, just in case I wanted to head up there.
6am came and went, my alarm got switched onto permanent snooze and that was it: I was too tired. I ended up waking at 8.15am and thought I’d head up there anyway just to see what was going on. When I arrived outside Selfridges at 9.15, I bumped into Crooked’s own Mubi and We Are HQ’s Magdi, who was busy capturing the ten-strong line of people with his camera. Ten people. That was it. After all the online uproar and frantic forum postings during the previous 48 hours, hardly anyone turned up to try their luck.
Hell, I almost didn’t too.
But I was glad I did. Ushered downstairs by stern security guards (“We want NO running when the doors open or you’ll be escorted back onto the street”), we lined up again and were fitted for our one pair. Once you’d purchased, you could go to the back of the line and try your luck again: some of the guys in the front of the line mopped up the bigger leftover sizes, but I was happy enough to get my UK 9.5s and left with my olive pair. A size bigger than usual, but this really didn’t matter for once – if you don’t want your broken toes rippling the toe box, then you want to go at least a half-size up.
After staff allocations, there were maybe just a dozen pairs in each colourway available, but that was just enough for the people who’d turned up. Two queue jumpers were criticised, but to be fair, Selfridges has a handful of entrances and they’d probably just been waiting at one of the other doors.
£90.00 secured them. They’re comfy as hell and moderately different from the OG silhouette, which will please those with wide feet. Why they were part of a tennis-themed event is beyond me, but I’m not complaining.
And to whoever said that the UK8s were all sent back due to manufacturing issues clearly didn’t see my friend Scott picking up both colourways in that size…