Tuesday, January 7, 2014

Filipino Retro Kicks: Black Superman

Last 2013 in the Kicks edition of Slam Magazine Philippines, Jay P. Mercado wrote an article about the on-court kicks of Filipino players in the Philippine Basketball Association (PBA). Except that the story covered the 70s to the 80s.

Black Superman by Grosby
Image from http://grosbyphilippines.weebly.com

Carrying the headline When Grosby and Kaypee Ruled the Game, it was a nod to the history of basketball performance shoes in the Philippines, a time when "local kicks -- proudly Philippine-made -- dominated the PBA sneaker game."

In the 70s, there were no signature shoes for PBA ballers. The closest was Grosby's First Five, which were "specially designed shoes for the PBA Mythical First Five of the previous season." Mercado writes that the one that started it all was Billy Ray Bates. Shortly after joining the PBA in 1983, Rubberworld, then the "country's biggest shoemaker," offered Bates a "fat endorsement contract and a signature shoe." That shoe was the Black Superman.

Recently, the Black Superman was re-released with a few minor changes, the most noticeable of which is the "Billy Ray Bates Special" print on the side panel of the shoes. The retro version is available in three colorways: blue, red, and white. As for tech specs, they're not anywhere near contemporary. For material, the Black Superman has smooth leather upper. It has a high toe-box and strong toe-cap protection. Laces are 100% cotton for whatever they're worth. There is a soft tongue nylon and collar padding, both with thick memory foam. The shoe also sports a smooth leather ankle strap. The heel is a special shaped extended thermoplastic.

Black Superman, white colorway

Boy would I love to cop myself a pair of these classics, the white ones especially. I'd try them on court, too, and test if they are still very much playable, given that I'm accustomed to playing in "modern" shoes.

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