Iceberg’s giant Nike archive has more than just Air in it. Here’s a look at some models you’ve never seen before and the reason why he’s so passionate about them – one of the greatest Nike collectors on the globe off the beaten path.
Iceberg, most people know you as the biggest Air Max collector under the sun. Today we’re looking at a few gems that have been flying under the radar. Why are these shoes important to you?
Important might not be the right word. I like these models because you don’t see them every day. Their rarity separates them from seeing the 100th photo of a hyped-up shoe that’s on heavy social media rotation. From my personal standpoint, this phenomenon of constantly reappearing shoes has really taken the fun and interest out of many models for me. To a point where I even consider it too boring 90 percent of the time to even bother posting a pic of a shoe on Instagram.
What we’re looking at here could be categorized as faintly belonging to the “dad shoe” or “bulky sneaker” trend. Nike had a really strong time from the mid- to late 1990s when lots of these interesting sneakers came out. Did you immediately like these styles, and did you buy them right when they came out or did you add them to your collection later?
Back then, I was primarily interested in classics like the Air Max 93 or Air Max 97. I’m not mentioning the 95 on purpose since it just wasn’t my model initially. The styles you’re talking about were actually rather hard to find at the usual shoe stores in those days. On one hand, they were designed for sports, not for “lifestyle”. And what’s more, this classification did not even exist back then – every shoe was conceived with sports in mind. So you’d most likely find them in the “running shoes” section. The design of other models made them too specialized as to fit on mainstream shelves, so most of them were widely unknown at the time. That also answers the question of when I purchased these sneaks, which was much later when I came to get tired of the visual overload from typical everyman’s sneakers.
You have a huge collection that comprises a few thousand pairs. How hard is it for you to narrow down the selection to what we’re seeing here in this article?
It actually took quite a long search, because these are mostly models that still exist only in one or a few colorways. So they exist as “single pairs” somewhere in the depths of my collection. I also hardly ever have an easy time making a choice – if I like sneaker X today, tomorrow I may have already moved on to sneaker Y. Another factor in assembling this selection was the focus on showing models that are widely unknown to most people and not showcased every day.
Speaking of digging through your stash, how is your collection organized and how do you manage to find certain styles if you’re looking for them?
Over the years I’ve made several attempts at organizing my collection. But due to the sheer number of different pairs, they were almost never stored all in the same place. So organizing turned out rather difficult, if not impossible. But at this point I’ve managed to group together models of which I really own a lot of pairs, like the Air Max 1 or Air Max 90. The fewer pairs I own of a model, the more unorganized it tends to get. That’s what caused the tedious search for stuff that matches this article.
How do you manage to keep all of these kicks in mint condition for later? Last summer was extremely hot – was that a problem?
Unfortunately, I don’t have a magic formula against decomposition. I often thought that my shoes might be spared this fate because many of my models that I’d seen rather brutal photos of were still intact. And that’s despite the fact that the majority was stored across several garages, which became saunas in the summer and iceboxes in the winter. But that turned out to be wishful thinking, and I’m also finding myself battling the ubiquitous crumble monster. Whether heat or cold are the worst enemies of these soles is hard for me to say, but I have seen a shoe’s sole literally melt under the glaring sun.
Nike offers strong styles in every category. But there’s still huge potential in this segment of trainers we see here. Would you like to see Nike retro some of these as soon as possible or better not?
Generally speaking, I’m not a fan of one-to-one retros. Sure, you should make an AM 1 OG or a 90s Infrared a permanent part of the collection in my opinion. But on most other models, retros tend to only feel forced. I like to compare it with an old Mercedes-Benz. You could probably recreate an SL from the ’80s – but would it still be a 1980s SL? It’s better to let these old treasures rest in my opinion and focus on new shapes and colors. Nobody needs a retro of every shoe that’s ever been manufactured – ultimately a large part of the production run will end up on sale or in outlet stores anyway. And then neither the retro release nor the pricing mark-down are worthy of the original. Just the opposite – it may ruin the legacy of yet another legend.
Nike has recently dropped the M2K, which is also part of the bulkier segment and some kind of retro future – it pays homage to the Monarch but with a few fresh features. How do you like that kind of freedom in interpreting archive styles? Does that hurt you as a collector of the originals?
They really did everything right with the M2K. It’s a modern interpretation of an all-time classic. You can see that the designers put some thought into lending an old shoe a new face. It perfectly reflects the current zeitgeist and draws on original 1990s styles that have been celebrated and brought back to life for some time now. Things should keep pushing further in this direction and replace boring copycat styles with innovation and fresh designs.
Also along those lines, what’s your opinion on how Nike chops up sneaker designs, like putting a VaporMax sole on an Air Max 97 and so on? Are you open to these more experimental designs?
I’m always open to experiments and fresh designs. But that doesn’t mean plastering a dozen well-known uppers on a VaporMax sole. Some mash-ups really look great, but they should have an eye for when it’s too much of a good thing. I for one think the Air Max Plus upper on the 97 sole is super strong. But the 97 upper on the AM Plus sole turned out weak sauce – they should have left it as a sample that never went into production. Ultimately, it’s all a matter of personal taste, like many things in life.
Do you still continue buying new pairs for your collection, unless you are being seeded, of course?
My recent shoe purchases are rather modest. The same goes for the seeding, by the way. The popular opinion that I’m being flooded with shoes is just a myth.
What were your favorite Nike releases in 2018?
I thought the 2018 retros of the Air Max 93 were really strong across the board. Out of the new models, I really like the Air Max 270 as another well-done reinterpretation of a classic, the Air Max 93. The Bowfin version was just the bomb in my book. The sole with the massive 270-bubble is a total beast, and combined with the upper reminiscent of the old ACG days, the Bowfin was my overall winner for 2018.
Thanks for the interview, Iceberg!
This story also appears in our March 2019 issue of Sneakers Magazine – available now!