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31 Dec '13

OLD SOLE, NEW TRICKS: XXX NEW YEARS EDITION

OSNT7

WOW, what a year it's been, huh?! ...A lot of amazing releases and exciting drops! I'm sure all of you have quite the handful of new stories and fond memories that followed your 'sneaker hunting' this year. I couldn't possibly comprise a numbered list of my favorite 2013 drops, so I'm going to do this list a bit differently... I thought it'd be fun to categorize my personal favorite pick-ups this year and put it all together. By the way, it's okay if you don't agree... After all, this is my blog, right?! (:
I hope everyone has had as good and growthful year as I have... 2014 is looking upful! Enjoy life my friends!
-@jjparkz
 
TOP 3 OG COLOR WAY AIR JORDANS OF 2013:
Air Jordan Retro I 'Breds'
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Awwwwwman! These right here are my ultimate joints! I see myself in these when I'm 80... If there's any shoe that I could permanently attach to my feet, it'd be these without question. If anyone has extra size 9's for a decent price, I'll take em... all.
 
Air Jordan Retro I 'Royals'
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Who the hell doesn't like Royals?! ...Need I say more? Would've scooped 10+ if these weren't so damn limited!
 
Air Jordan Retro XI 'Breds'
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The feeling of rocking a fresh pair of Bred 11's is quite amazing... The only gripe I have with 11's in general is that they require a tad bit more care than other sneakers. When these dropped this year, I definitely did not hesitate to pick up as many as I could. Glad I was able to lace up the family, including young Banks Boogie who rocks em harder than most! ...Hopefully someone will invent a ridiculously good sealant for taking out the annoying swirly scratches in patent leather; game changer.
 
TOP 3 NON OG COLOR WAY AIR JORDANS OF 2013:
Air Jordan Retro IV 'Toro'
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I'm in love with these... The crispiness of the red synthetic nubuck is life changing (Don't mind my extremeness... lol). Such a solid color way for a non-original. Color looks amazing, they fit well, and surprisingly, I'm not too mad at the quality! Now I just gotta keep the creases out the toe box and I'm straight... Toro IV's for the win.
 
Air Jordan Retro V 'Black Grapes'
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Grape V's are my all time favorite V's so it's natural for me to adore the black version. White version is clean, black version is hard; Gotta have both. Back in '06, the highlight of my year was opening the box to a full case of Grape Retros. I was lucky enough to have gotten through ordering 10 pairs off Eastbay (it was allowed back then) over the phone, then was even more lucky to get 2 more from a local retailer... Shoe hunting was definitely a lot different back then. Needless to say, I still have a few crispy '06's tucked away for a rainy day...
 
Air Jordan Retro V 'Fear Pack'
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I'll start by saying the materials used on these is amazing. The cracked leather adds so much to the shoe without overdoing it. Olive and red always compliment each other... The gradient fade on the midsole was bugging me at first, but I think I'm slowly growing to like it. Speckles, dope; Black netting, dope. Best of the 3 Fears for me. Maybe a clear bottom next time instead of the ice blue though??
 
TOP 3 NIKE FLYKNITS OF 2013:
Nike Flyknit Chukka 'Wolf Grey'
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Definitely my favorite color way of the general release Flyknit Chukka line... One of my favorite color combos is grey, red, and white, so you can obviously see why these appeal to me. Although flyknit are quite busy, these couldn't be cleaner. Not to mention, the comfort, weight, and shape of this shoe is perfect.
 
Nike Flyknit Trainer Multi
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Bright but beautiful, these bad boys can accent the most boring of outfits perfectly. I do love the colors of the flyknit weave, however, I could've done without the blue stripe. The design of the overall shoe is amazing and the screen printed Swoosh is an interesting touch.
 
Nike Free Flyknit Multi
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Such an interestingly different shoe, these intrigued me at first leak... Trying one on for the first time is quite different from slipping your foot in any other sneaker. Comfort while surprisingly sturdy, these definitely feel like a natural part of your body when wearing.
 
TOP 3 NIKE AIR MAX OF 2013:
Atmos x Nike Air Max 90 'Camo Pack' Duck Camo / Infrared
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With Air Max 90 Infrareds as my all time favorite 90, how can I not appreciate these in some way?! They are a bit flashy, but the black suede and Duck Camo additions accent this fine pair of runners quite nicely... I wish I stocked big on these!
 
Beams x Nike Air Max 1 PRM
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What can I say...? Milans are cool... These are better. The color of the premium suede is a perfect tan, while the tonal upper lends itself to the cleanest look possible. The orange outer sole, tongue hit, and lace tips are lightly added to offer some excitement. I haven't laced up my pair yet, but you can bet these will feel good when I do!
 
Nike Air Max 1 Tiger Camo / Snake
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In case you were wondering, these were fairly easy to pick up at Atmos in Tokyo... As my friend who sent these to me explained, these sat for a tiny bit once their opening line died down. Why? ...I don't know. I feel like all the Atmos colabs took a huge turn towards the hype as soon as these caught everyones attention... Anyhow, scooped doubles and wore one a few times. Thanks to my brother out there in JP for holding me down! They're a tad stiff due to the snake fabric, but they seem catch a lot of attention...
 
TOP 3 NIKE CASUAL OF 2013:
Cole Haan Lunargrand Chukka with Nike Lunar Technology
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Since the Lunargrand, Cole Haan's have been my go-to's for any slightly formal attire. The comfort of these are amazing and the contrasting colors are always a nice addition to your outfit. They're a tad more costly than your regular sneakers/shoes, but well worth the price... Premium quality, premium look.
 
Nike Mayfly Woven
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Such a simple shoe, but so many good things to say... First off, I love the comfortability of these. The soft and loose feel of the suede plus the cushiony sole always allow my feet to have a struggle-free day. The weight of these is crazy; They quite possibly weigh less than your favorite pair of beach slippers. When I'm in a rush to start my day, or I just can't decide what sneakers to wear, you can bet I'm walking out the door with these bad boys...
 
Nike Solarsoft Mocassin Floral
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Funny thing about these is that I actually despised the use of floral on them upon first judgement. For some odd reason I decided to give them a go because I've never owned a Solarsoft Moc before... As tacky as the print is, I've realized it matched the silhouette quite nicely and is weirdly interesting enough to set off a casual outfit. "Boogie Boots," I call em...
 
TOP 3 NIKE EXCLUSIVES OF 2013:
Stussy x Nike ACG Trainerendor 'Black'
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I am thoroughly impressed at the strength of the 3M Reflective on these. I'm so glad these kinda just creeped into the lineup without much hype. Huge thank you to my lady who picked one up for me as part of my X-mas gift, and also my good homie who helped her out with that (you know who you are)! If these didn't make it into my closet, I'd definitely lose sleep over em... If I'm being honest though, I wished Nike matched the Swoosh color to the lining a bit better. Stussy was on point to hit a colab with these early!
 
Nike N7 Free Forward Mocassin
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Such an interesting sneaker... How they pulled this off, I don't know. Slept on by so many people, and I can't figure out why... Sure they're funky, but wouldn't you agree that it's in a good way?! To be honest though, I dug the cream colored WMNS version a lot better than these... Maybe I should've chanced the skinnier fit of the WMNS one too... Meh.
 
Supreme x Nike SB Dunk Low
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How was Supreme able to make me interested in SB's again?! Oh yeah, these... I had a deep, deep love for SB's once so when these released, it felt good to reminisce on that. Good quality, nice color way, respected brand colab; check. Thanks to my dude out in JP for helping me with these... Lifesaver.
 
TOP 3 ASICS OF 2013:
Ronnie Fieg x Asics Gel-Lyte III 'Volcanos'
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Man oh man oh man oh man I love these! I was stressin' hard when I couldn't scoop upon original release! Although I know a few people who disagree, to me, these have all the right colors in all the right places... Gotta love the salmon, neon orange, and navy hits on the ever-classy deep red! ...Not to mention the comfortability of the GLV! Thank you brother John over at Truest for one of my top favorites of 2013!
 
Ronnie Fieg x Asics Gel-Lyte III 'Flamingos'
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Another ridiculously good color way here by Ronnie Fieg... When I look at these, I feel just the right amount of cleanliness with a hint of sturdiness. Then there's the rope laces... gawd. I'm so glad to have these in my lineup!
 
Asics Gel-Lyte V 'White / Purple'
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Such and underrated sneaker... why?! I swear I over-wore them when they first touched down on my doorstep! Yes, they are annoyingly hard to keep clean, but that's the name of the game...
 
TOP 3 NEW BALANCES OF 2013:
CNCPTS x New Balance 998 'Mint'
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One of three I HAD to get this year... 998's are amongst my all time favorite NB silhouettes so naturally I was excited when I first seen them. The concept is dope, color way is dope, materials are ill; How could I sleep?! I thank CNCPTS for blessing the world with these...
 
Ronnie Fieg x New Balance 1600 'Daytona'
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I honestly wasn't too excited about these when they released the photos... Could've possibly been that I was caught up in a ridiculously busy time of the year. Anyhow, I was lucky enough to pick one of these up from my good homie @took_HNLA and they've consistently been a part of my daily outfits. The softness of this shoes interior is indescribable! Very impressed that these were constructed in Asia...
 
Ubiq x New Balance 1600 'The Benjamin'
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I love me some 1600's... The beautiful brown leather accents really make this shoe for me. Overall clean color blocking utilizing primary colors... Kilt.
 
TOP 10 REGRETS I DIDN'T PURCHASE OF 2013:
Air Jordan Retro V 'Doernbecher'
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Busy busy busy, but amazing... These definitely upped the level of capability and execution with Jordan Brand. Who the hell does a blacklight sneaker that comes with a blacklight flashlight?!
 
Sneaker Freaker x Puma Blaze of Glory 'Sharkbait'
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I haven't been able to see one in person, but the tumbled leather look amazing... The color was a bit played out this year, but these rock it well. The gold hits were a nice touch along with the stellar packaging. Too bad the hype killed my chances of owning one at retail price...
 
CNCPTS x New Balance 998 'C-Note'
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CNCPTS hit it on the nose with these... Anyone with a 8.5 or 9 for sale, please let me know! Like the new $100 C-Note, these have tremendously grown on me and should be sitting in my closet, right next to my Tannery Mints...
 
Nike HTM Flyknit Chukka 'Blue Glow'
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Flyknit is such an amazing invention... The blueish grey mixture of these make me cry! HTM, PLEASE offer your talents to the general public!!! GAH.
 
Sneakersnstuff x Milkcrate x New Balance 577
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Top notch cleanliness. Tonal greys never seem to disappoint me... Funny thing is, I had no idea these even dropped! ...Where was I?!
 
West NYC x New Balance 580 "Alpine Guide Edition'
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I hesitated because it was a 580... Big mistake. This color way is too crackin! Should've been a no-brainer for me... *shrug*
 
24Kilates Le Coq Sportif Flash
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Le Coq's don't get much appreciation out here in Hawaii and I think that should change... This color way right here is nasty. I have yet to pick up my first pair; these should've been it.
 
Bodega x New Balance 577 'Hyprcats'
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A bit colorful at first glance, but the colors work well... I really like that grey cotton mid upper with rainbow specks; nice touch. 577's aren't my favorite, but these go...
 
Saint Alfred x Asics Gel-Lyte III
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I just plain slept on these like a fool... GREAT color palette and very unique. Good job STA...
 
CNCPTS x Asics Gel-Lyte III 'Three Lies'
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I should've grabbed them when I had the chance... What was I thinking debating these? However, just as I predicted, the pictures of these were a tad misleading. In person, the suede and toe box color wasn't as vibrant, but I didn't quite mind. The speckle overload is actually pretty cool too...
14 Aug '13

OLD SOLE, NEW TRICKS: XI

OSNT7

 
Aloha all!
A lot of "runners" in this post... I'm pretty happy about there being a wide variety of different types of sneakers available now days, which in turn helps to bring out the style in a lot of creative minds... Underrated kicks aren't underrated if you love and rock them with confidence! Don't over-think  a specific sneaker because it doesn't have a Swoosh or Jumpman on it!
Awesome reads and a great interview attached at the bottom... Make sure you go check it out! Peace!
 
Concepts x ASICS Gel-Lyte III - "Three Lies"
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Inspired by the statue of John Harvard at Harvard University, this ridiculous color combo and color-blocking technique are sure to turn heads... Definitely one of my favorite ASICS of the month! Click here if you're with it...
 
Supreme x Vans - "Bruce Lee" Pack
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Supreme drop > hype > resale value > cool. Great concept; not my favorite design. As a big fan of Supreme, I still sometimes disagree with a few releases...
 
Garbstore x Reebok Classics - "Outside In" Collection
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The only two in the collection I'm digging...
 
Reebok Inferno - Teal / Neon Yellow
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Best drop from Reebok this year so far... I really hope they keep their momentum and bring back more classics! Reminds me of an old mlb hat we dropped at FITTED a few years ago. If anyone can e-mail me a pic of themselves with it on, I'll hook you up with a surprise gift at the shop...
 
Puma RS 100 "Animal"
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Whoa... I guess they figured they might as well take advantage of the hype. Nevertheless, I actually appreciate the composition and thought put into the colors and patterns here... Wild, yet tasteful. A not so interesting and meaningless factoid: I actually worked for Puma back in 2005 as their "Denim Specialist," and helped open their Ala Moana store (recently closed; RIP). While there, I was able to acquire a decent collection of Puma classics, such as Baskets and Suedes. Good times...
 
Nike Air Max Terra 180 QS
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Always had a soft spot for most 180 Maxes... Can't go wrong with these ULTRA CLEAN Quickstrikes! Don't sleep... Unless your'e a size 9. LOL.
 
Nike Air Max 1 SP & Nike Air 180 SP - "Germany'
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Cool. Nothing more, nothing less... Pick em up here on the 17th if you're interested.
 
Nike iD Air Force 1 - "Real Tree Camo"
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Coming soon...
 
Tinker Hatfield (Interview)
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Great read! I STRONGLY suggest you take yourself over to designboom.com and soak this in...
 
Select Discussion: Too Much Of A Good Thing by SneakerNews
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A very interesting article that addresses an important issue that has barely been noted... It's about time one of these popped up! Great read!
 
OLD SOLE, NEW TRICKS INTERVIEW: Larin Wong | Ex-Niketown Waikiki Employee
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Name:
Larin Wong
Shoe size:
10.5
Occupation:
I work for the Hawaii Air National Guard
work shoe
How many years I've been in an affair with sneakers:
I think it all started in intermediate school when I was introduced to the Eastbay catalog. My friends and I spent so much time looking through the pages and we'd talk about all the things we were going to buy. Unfortunately, seeing the shoes on their feet was the closest I ever got to them. Fast forward about 8 years, I had just graduated from college, moved back home and I was offered a job working for the Swoosh in Waikiki.  It was all downhill from there. For the first time in my life I actually had money to spend on shoes. I used to joke with people that I only worked for store credit.
How many pairs I own:
I think at my "worst" I had about 150 pairs, but I've kept it "under control" at about 75 right now.
Amazing sneaker-related story:
Look, I could go on for days with stories about shoes. I can tell you about how someone gave me this, one of one that, watching Mark Smith go crazy with the laser machine and hitting up everything in his office, or the time I proposed to my wife with a pair of shoes, but instead I'd like to share these two stories which mean a lot to me (and I'll try to keep them short).
1) Back when Nike was still open in Waikiki they had a program called Run Club. You could come down on Wednesday night to meet and run with other people in the community. It didn't cost anything and you didn't have to wear Nike to participate. Once in a while when Nike had new technology they wanted to share, they'd let people try on shoes, do the run, and return them after. Those shoes were then either returned to Nike HQ or raffled to the employees. One day outside of work, I met a school teacher who coached the cross country team at his school and he was telling me about how his kids would just run in Sketchers, or basketball shoes cause it's all they had and it was leading to injuries because they weren't getting the proper support and cushioning. Up until this point he still didn't know I worked for Nike, but long story short, I convinced Nike to give them all these left over trial shoes and as you can imagine the kids were super stoked.
2) Second story happened recently at my military job and is very similar to the previous. I noticed some of the guys I supervise running in non running shoes. So I went through my shoes, found a bunch of running shoes, brought them to work and told them if they'd use them, they could have them. One guy told me that those shoes were the very first pair of Nike shoes he's ever owned and probably the best shoe he's ever had.
I wanted to share those two stories in particular because I want people to understand how fortunate we all are as shoe collectors just to be able to afford the hobby. The shoes I gave away were just sitting among stacks of shoes in my house collecting dust and now they're on the feet of people who are getting great use out of them. I'm not saying that you should give away your shoes, but honestly, just be thankful for the things you have. Even if you only have three shoes in your collection and they're all GR or you got them at Ross or something, that's three more than someone else may have. I'll end this story with this: always remember to put yourself in someone else's shoes and, if you can, put them in yours.
proposal
Holy Grail and why:
Never really liked this term, and I'll spare everyone my reasoning. I guess if I had to pick one, I'd say the Air Force One, 2007 Pro Bowl PE. While I'm not the biggest AF1 guy, being from Hawaii, I like what this shoe represents and since it's a PE you know you're not going to see too many people rockin' them.
Most despised footwear and why:
1) First one is anything Under Armour, because I just despise the brand. They were coming up when I was still working for Nike and their CEO used to talk reckless about how they're going to put the Swoosh out of business blah, bah, blah. In addition, as a whole, I think they lack the research and development to be making the claims they do about their product. I also hate that they sponsor UH football and the Wounded Warrior Project, both organizations I care a lot about but won't buy any of the apparel because I don't want to wear anything with the Under Armour logo on it.
2) Secondly, Vibram five toe shoes. When they hit the market a year or so ago people were all about this "new" barefoot training movement. Sadly this isn't new at all, and I'm not convinced they're better than the Nike Free. Free's have been out since 2005 in Hawaii (NikeTown Honolulu was a test market), yet nobody knows they're made for barefoot training because they don't have individual toes. Speaking of individual toes, socks made with five individual toes are weird. Socks like that have been around in Japan for a while and it would just creep me out when the tourist would remove their shoes and have those on.
Currently hunting for:
Nothing, haha! I'm trying to stay away from shoes. I'll pick up stuff here and there but I've got bigger priorities in life right now.  I've always categorized shoes in the "nice to have" category. Take care of the things in life you NEED before you go spending money on shoes.
Changes or surprises I'm hoping for in the sneaker world:
I would like to see "limited releases" no longer being available online. I understand that some people aren't able to get to stores that have the releases due to distance, but I think that's a solvable problem. Having only in-store releases takes care of the obvious problem; bots. You then take the online allocation and now ship them to more stores, which takes care of the availability problem for some of those smaller markets. Lastly, in-store only releases bring back hype. I know that's a bad word in the sneaker community but I think hype is a good thing. Hype causes people to line up down the block waiting for a shoe to release. It provides the opportunity for folks in the local shoe community to build relationships with people who share the same interests, and stores can just as easily use it to build relationships with their customers as well. It's pretty much how you (Parkz) and I met all those years ago.
Additional comments, shout-outs, big ups:
Shout out to my wife who supports my shoe sickness and even has a mild case herself. Shout out to all the friends I've made from my time at the Swoosh both locally and around the globe.  I'm not going to list off a whole bunch of names, you all know who you are because we talk in real life and not just in social media. No shout out for you, Jared (Parkz)! Everyone shouts you out and you don't need anymore, haha! Thanks for letting me get on here to share some of my thoughts and stories, truly a pleasure.
Lastly, I want to leave everyone with something Errol Andam (if you don't know, google is your friend) told me a long time ago and this one phrase changed my life "They're just shoes." Mind you, he was wearing the most busted pair of Tiffany Dunks you could EVER imagine. . .6 months before release! If you don't get it, hit me up and one day we'll chat.
Contact:
Twitter: @hnl_larin
IG: I stalk people on IG through a family account @thewong1s
A question for Parkz (by Larin Wong): Can you share an amazing sneaker story of your own?
Well, Larin (Haha)... I think I'll speak of how we became such great of friends! It was back in 2005/06 (I think?!), when I was pretty adamant about picking up at least 4 (beat, rock, & stock) of every worthy Retro/LS Retro that released. I seemed to have acquired many of my necessary pairs by being the asshole who'd start the overnight line at Niketown Waikiki (lol). I recall many fun and sleepless nights, underage drinking at T.G.I. Fridays, providing fake and outrageous stories of what everyone was camping for to passing tourists, and witnessing the occasional hilarious fight. Amongst all that and a few other things, one of my fondest memories was waking up to the blazing sun in my face and breakfast being handed out by the Niketown employees (yes, they bought and handed out breakfast to each and every one of us). *Quick Intermission Story: This idea of handing out breakfast to customers in line was later adopted at FITTED for quite some time...* (Resume.) As I wiped the cold out my eye and my consciousness came to equilibrium upon waking, I'd extend my hand for the best tasting Egg McMuffin ever (I don't care for egg too much), which were ALWAYS handed out by none other the man, the myth, the legend himself, Mr. Larin Wong! Through my many years of repeatedly bugging him for information and help on all the new releases, as well as eating many of his life-saving breakfasts at Niketown, he and I have managed to develop a lifelong friendship. A big mahalo to you, Larin, for saving my life more than once! I hope this story was amazing enough for you... haha!
Interview by: JJ Parkz
jared@fittedhawaii.com