words_Nick Engvall

Oftentimes when the conversation about the best era for sneakers comes up, I find myself standing my ground for the late ’80s and early ’90s. With running shoes like the adidas ZX 500 and PUMA R698, basketball shoes like the Reebok Pump line and recently retroed Jordan 3, and the quality of training shoes from that era, it’s a valid argument against any naysayers. A similar position can be taken in the world of streetwear, but it would never be the late ’80s and early ’90s that would receive my backing (or anyone else’s after they see this).

Looking back at the Streetwear of 1990 in this week’s Eastbay Memory Lane stroll, we’re reminded of a few trends we hope never get revisited. Pop culture has always played the co-pilot when it comes to driving streetwear’s direction, so we have to give some credit where it is due here. In early 1990, MC Hammer released the album Please Hammer, Don’t Hurt ‘Em. The music videos that followed the album’s release were filled with “Hammer pants”, and considering its over four months at the top of the charts, whether we want to admit it or not, we all were listening (and possibly blinded by the glittery gold pants). Unfortunately for fashion, the fact that Hammer’s album became the first hip-hop album to reach diamond status meant that we were all doomed to see baggy and poorly colored pants for months to come.

As for the sneakers of the time, there were some solid releases that remain as much a part of the sneaker culture today as they were back then. The PUMA Suede and adidas Samba are nothing short of iconic. The LA Gear MJ Runner and Etonic Trans Am Trainer will likely jog some memories for many collectors, and with the K-Swiss Locarno . . . wearing is believing.

So what is worse, the pants or the poses from 1990?

Eastbay Memory Lane: 1990 StreetwearEastbay Memory Lane: 1990 StreetwearEastbay Memory Lane: 1990 StreetwearEastbay Memory Lane: 1990 Streetwear