7.06.2013

guest post: aaron meza

the Mez waxes poetic about the 80's most impossible-to-find shoe.







This is some nerd shit right here. It goes out to all of those (and I'm hoping there're quite a few) who in the late '80s futilely searched for some white leather high-tops, laces choked all to hell, with the brand name Ellesse brazenly typed across the entire side panel only because Mic-E, Jim, and Natas wore them in a handful of photos. Where did they find them? How come my friends and I couldn't? And what the fuck was an Ellesse?

In the pre-Internet age, everything seemed shrouded in mystery. The clues were few and the answers fewer. But looking back now, I like that there was a simpler time in my life where finding the shoes worn by my favorite skaters was such a priority. And I think it's that brand of nostalgia that has made the Chrome Ball Incident so special for us.

So in honor of CBI's final days, I took it upon myself to unravel the enigma of these elusive Italian sneaks by hitting up my iChat buddy Jim Thiebaud and asking him once and for all where did they find them. His answer: "Some guy sold them, two for one, on the sidewalk on 6th and Mission. Right next to the porno shop."

It really was a simpler time...

Thanks for everything, Mr. Swisher. But just for old times sake, could you post one last photo of Tony Chiala? Whatever did happen to him?


Big thanks to Aaron for doing this. Dude's the best.

21 comments:

mdspb said...

Yes!!

That and checking every cool record store for Milk to no avail.

Skately said...

Classic! Really gonna miss this place.

EY said...

Never knew about this! I first started digging through swap meets for adidas and pumas after seeing Love Child, but this is classic! This is why I love the Chromeball.

Simpler, dare I say, BETTER times...

Anonymous said...

I love this.

Glad I wasn't the only one who always wanted those shoes but never found them.

Cris said...

Holy shit, I had two pair of these. A place in Worcester, Mass that sold fake Gucci stuff had them. The more arcane these posts are, the better. Keep 'em coming. XOXOXO Cris

Keith said...

lol

I don't think any skater in my city ever got a hold of a pair.

Always the pros setting trends when you're a kid.

stephen said...

Damn that natas pic at the Venice canals... So dope. That spot is so photogenic. I'd love to see a recent flick there. Can't anybody back noseblunt it nowadays or something?

Coper-Lapper said...

My family was into skiing as a kid so I knew what Ellesse was, and I thought is was some cheezy ass euro shit. And it was/is. But as soon as I saw Natas wearing them shits, they were instantly legitimized and cool. I think Ellesse actually re-released that shoe again recently in the same colorway, trying to cash in. Wonder how long it took them to realise the effect of those old photos and video clips.

Scott Cox said...

Oh hell yes! Since I lived in SF during this time, you could find them downtown on Market St. but don't remember getting the killer deal that Jim mentioned.
These were the precursor to the original Air Jordans weren't they?? There was also a hightop Adidas around this time that was popular on the streets - had an accordian style high I remember...

Was wondering if anybody ever gave any thought to these nowadays. Spot-on CBI!!

ciaran said...

Ellesse released some Stromboli-style shoes in the mid 90s which some skaters in my neck of the woods would wear if they were short on cash.

Looks like the Jim Thiebaud SMA ad & TWS cover shot on the same night?

Anonymous said...

i had a pair of red Ellesse's way back then...high top...literally all red...used to wear them with my overalls..only one buckle locked in place, of course, the other hanging behind me.

natenola said...

In New Orleans Ellesse were the shoe of choice for most of the white gangster kids, they were pretty easy to find out here but no one wanted to be caught up in the stigma of rocking them.

GB said...

I had a pair of them too. Got them in Glasgow, Scotland. Also had a couple of pairs of the Converse NBA Lakers and Celtics much favoured by Natas, as well as those Adidas with the blue accordion bit. The Converse were excellent but the leather too soft, and for some reason I remember the Ellese weren't that good. The Adidas were amazing tho.

Anonymous said...

Holy shit! I thought I was the only one who wanted them! I used to rewind and pause on those sneakers in Natas' video part in Streets of Fire.
Thanks for the memories.

platinumseagulls said...

This is great. Reminds me, tangentially, of a semi-intense search for a desert-camo t-shirt ala what I thought Gino wore in Trilogy during the first line of his part. Only when I saw it on DVD a decade later did I realize the shirt was regular camo.

channelzeroprose said...

a friend of mine hunted those Ellesse down back in the day - along with a budweiser t-shirt, talk about nerd-ing.

they were mad ugly anyhow, those old Cons hightops were the way to go...

UR said...

Ellesse: in Italian, 'elle' is how you pronounce 'L' and 'esse' is how you pronounce 'S'... So 'Ellesse' means nothing more than 'LS' (which I guess it could be the initials of the company's founder, but I can't confirm that...) curious enough, I'm Italian, started skating in the late '80s, owned Ellesse previous to that but never skated in those! Only Airwalk and Converse for me... Ha!

blair said...

I went into so many record stores asking for Operation Ivy and Sub Society and getting so many blank stares...

lossie said...

natenola knows what up on that new orleans gansta shit... but ellese there were priced much higher than 2 for one at the local footlocker. by the time i saw natas with them on in sick boys they were long gone from the stores.

Anonymous said...

Found these Ellesses by the boatloads in swap meets and Korean-American sneaker stores. I figured they were going to the same stores, which was why you saw skaters in magazines wearing Jordans, Adidas Instincts, Converse Weapons, etc.

Anonymous said...

i live on the cherokee reservation in n.c. we found these shoes in a local dollar generaal store, not two for one, but verrrry affordable. great article.