Of all the great footwear designs Nike has produced over the decades, the Footscape belongs to a special breed. Although it features one of the most artful shapes ever, it was created as a performance running shoe whose “footform” characteristics were based on hard scientific facts – hundreds of feet were scanned in the process. The result was a unique design that quickly turned into a cult classic with its own loyal following. Even today, with so many iterations of the shoe, it’s still addictive to a certain type of character – one prone to its asymmetrical aesthetics. One such addict is Cologne-based collector Maik Lojewski, who tells us more about his love for Footscapes in this interview.
Maik, please introduce yourself. Who are you and what do you do?
Well, I am Maik. I am 27 years old and currently living in Cologne! I was born and raised in the so-called Ruhr area in Germany and lived there until I was about 24 years old. I am currently restructuring my life a bit after finally leaving University. Right now I am working for K’LEKT and finally starting to focus on events again, which I wasn’t doing when I was having to focus on unnecessary shit for University. I got the opportunity to do a rare apprenticeship at a really nice location in Cologne and while it’s clear I will have to work a lot in the future, I am looking forward to actually educate myself again and, aside from that, continue to be part of the team organizing the Sneaker X___ Events.
Your passion for Footscapes is the reason for our interview. Why Footscapes, out of the whole universe of sneakers?
Well, it was more of a coincidence that I fell in love with them so much, I guess. Unfortunately, it’s not the usual story of a childhood memory or an early addiction; it was more like time and the need for “function” in footwear pointed me towards them. I had a lot of shoes that were real collectors’ pieces, but I never wore them and most of them, to be honest, are quite uncomfortable. I realized that every time I left my flat, I was wearing the same pair of indestructible, amazingly comfortable black-and-white Nikes – my first ever Footscapes. My feet are really fucked up now from about 20 years of sports but Footscapes fit my feet just perfectly, as they are the only shoes that are really wide at the front and narrow and tight at the heel. It’s also very comfortable for the tops of my feet, which I really need. So I found the right pair of shoes for myself, and after meeting Lennert, Kane, and Phil, who already had a collection at that point, I had to buy more. I was tired of all the expensive shoes stacking up in boxes without me wearing them (except for during conventions or on “special days” when the sun was out and I knew I wouldn’t be doing something where I could ruin them). So I got rid of nearly all of my expensive and exclusive Asics and the like, and I started hunting for rare shoes that cost me 90 quid in the end instead of 500, and ones that I could wear for every occasion. I really like that sometimes you have to dig deeper and search longer for a cheap pair of Footscapes and get the same feeling as most people who hunt for what they call their holy grails without having to spend a ton of money for them.
Can you share a memory when that passion for Footscapes was first ignited?
I was on a trip to Denmark in 2012 and walked past a boutique in Kjøbenhavn on my last day there and found a pair of Desert Chukka Footscapes. I had never seen them before, but I needed to have them. Unfortunately, I had already bought too much on the trip and I couldn’t afford them – the usual when you’re a student.
So then, back in 2013, I was on a road trip with my best friend Kevin Pearce, and we went to a Nike Outlet and found this pair of black Desert Chukkas for 50% off – so about 100€. We each bought a pair and he even paid for my pair as a belated birthday present (shoutout at this point)! This also brought me back to Nikes, as I was mostly into Asics and New Balance at that time! I still wear these regularly, and they don’t show any real signs of wear yet.
Do you collect everything related to Footscapes, or are you just interested in certain packs or pairs?
Well, I mostly buy what I like and want to wear, except for some pairs I had to buy to get a pack together or because they were too cheap to regret not buying later. After getting into Woven Footscapes, I mostly focused on them, but when I find a pair that I really like, I buy it. For example, I was looking for the black/gum pair of Magistas for quite a long time, but I really wanted them and finally found a pair in Italy. Same with the Air Stasis Footscapes – I got them from the US of A and the customs fees were higher than the actual price of the shoes, which was about 38 dollars.
Please give us three faves.
Tough one, but I will just pick the ones I enjoy wearing the most:
2009 LIVESTRONG – The first time I saw these, they were being worn by Sascha Hemmer on the day I met him. I knew I had to own them one day, as I loved the subtle yet detailed black furry upper with the yellow box logo on the tongue of the shoe and the yellow outsole. I don’t usually like yellow too much, but in my opinion, they added the absolute perfect amount of yellow to the shoe to make it look insanely cool without being too loud. The box and the story behind the shoe instantly got me, and 2009 was also the best year for me. I always thought it would take me years to find them for a reasonable price that I could afford, but one day I found them on retail for nearly a steal!
2012 RAINBOW CHUKKAS – for obvious reasons, these have to be a favorite for everyone who likes Footscapes. The bright rainbow colors in addition to the complete black and white/cream suede is always a winner. I love the story on how I got my hands on these and I will probably never sell them.
2011 3CE BLACK SWAN – I’m not the only one who feels like this is the most comfortable pair of Footscapes ever made. The leather is so smooth and soft that you can wear these for days without ever feeling the need to take them off. I have a very high arch, and the asymmetric lacing and the smooth leather on top consequently make them the perfect, most comfortable shoes for me.
Are there any models of the Footscape that you still have to get your hands on?
Right now, I am looking forward to getting my brown Hideout Hamsters back after the soles get glued back on. And I am still thinking about getting a pair of Pinkpack Footscapes I was offered a few days ago. But most importantly, I have been looking for a particular pair for quite a while now. Of the enthusiasts I know personally, I am the only one who really wants, but still doesn’t own a pair of Bodega Chukkas from 2011. So if you are a size 8.5/9 and have them, please get in contact with me via my Instagram @maiklojewski – thanks in advance :)
Are you well-connected with other Footscape fans?
Well, we certainly have a small group of Footscape enthusiasts from my area and the rest of Germany. It is basically just a group of friends who dig the shoes – we find deals for each other, import shoes in packs from Asia, and discuss new releases. The group is composed of Kane Holz, who still likes to wear some Footscapes from time to time; Lennert, who probably has the biggest collection of Wovens out of all of us; Cäsar, always buying and selling the same shoes since I’ve known him; Sven Hilzheimer, who loves Animal Prints and Simon and Kate from 43einhalb and is the nicest guy alive; and Phil König, who always makes the best deals for all of us. There is also this Facebook group called Footscape EU/US that always has the same people interacting, haha.
What was your biggest Footscape steal?
For sure, it was the way I got my hands on two pairs of Rainbows from 2012 – and also the only time I ever had my personal holy grail at home. Just not in my size. I got my hands on a pair of Bodega Chukkas in Simon Zimmermann’s size and bought them. As both of his Rainbows were a bit too small for him but exactly my size, I got both pairs for less than I would have paid for one of them.
Are you a purist or are you also into mash-ups like the Footscape Magista?
Well, as I already mentioned, I mostly buy what I like and I am always open for something new to interest me, as long as it has a certain appeal to me and I feel comfortable in them and, of course, comfortable with the whole outfit. I have Footscape Motions, a Footscape Stasis, and several Woven and Chukka Woven models. I don’t really feel the ones with the Free 5.0 sole of the Prestos too much, but my friend Phil König has a pretty stunning 1:1 pair of Footscape 2 Prestos, which were made for someone from the band Cheap Trick.
What got you into collecting sneakers in the first place?
Well, I guess I got it from my father, who always paid attention to his footwear and always had more shoes than my mother. Even though it was more about function for him, I’m sure he has had an influence on my buying behavior. As I mentioned, I’ve been rollerblading for more than half my life, and even with rollerblading I’ve always paid attention to the look of my boots. This also gave me my first point of entry into some kind of subcultural fashion and streetwear, which was then underpinned by a 3-year period of skateboarding. So, as with most people I know, I also have my entry point and foundation of my interest in Sneakerculture from music and sports. The first sneakers I remember buying myself were some Air Force 1s when I was heavily influenced by Detroit hip-hop. Later, even after I had moved on from hip-hop a bit and started getting into guitar music, I always had a thing for nice footwear and bought my stuff from Swear London or Samsoe&Samsoe rather than buying cheap shit that doesn’t last long. After a few years, I got tired of that and needed a more diverse collection as well as something more comfortable, so I started buying a lot of New Balance and Asics. I never had the intention of collecting – I guess I just like to buy stuff! I also never intended to collect Footscapes; I just ended up buying a lot of them because I was always finding a new pair that I wanted and it started to add up.
I would like to give a shoutout to Sneakers Mag for this article, K’LEKT Crew; the guys from Sneaker X and everyone who came by or sold there – see you next time! Shoutout to all my lads from Cologne, Opel Zoo – VBG, Eule Crew, Bob & Deadstock – special s/o to Charlotte, Einfach Lennert, Nathan, Niko, Kane Holz, Phil König and my bro Kevin Pearce.