Curating the content has been a labour of love for Sneaker Freaker bossman Simon ‘Woody’ Wood. Flea market finds, eBay steals and handshake deals in faraway destinations resulted in an ever-growing stash of analogue material, all of which was produced long before the Internet ruled the world. The process of nostalgia and memory is infused in the iconic magazines that carried the ads. As Woody says, ‘A strict millennial curfew seemed appropriate, as advertising from the 2000s onwards is simply too modern and too knowingly sophisticated for sentimental reflection’.
SOLED OUT is organised into 13 brand-focused chapters that capture the joie de vivre of the industry’s formative years. Battle lines are frequently drawn, then crossed, in a flurry of visual machismo, quixotic scientific claims and endless sledging. The smack-talk reached a crescendo in the 1990s when ASICS and Reebok traded barbs with Nike in a battle royale that included classics like ‘Just Doing It Doesn’t Do It’ and ‘Pump Up and Air Out’.