It's been a few weeks since I caught up with my friend Tom Moricone to check out his top 5, but I'm back with another installment today. Next up with his Top 5, we have a good friend of mine, Duke, owner of Dukes Barber Shop in Albany, NY. Anytime you enter Dukes Barber Shop, you can pretty much count on overhearing some sort of discussion being had between the barbers and clients about sneakers, and it usually starts with Duke. The funny thing about Duke is that I actually met him pretty much solely based on sneakers. I was working at Champs at the time and we had a mutual friend, AJ who had spent some time at the shop as an apprentice. When AJ mentioned to me who his friend was, I asked AJ to pass along a trade offer, No raffle or campout hassle for Duke, in exchange for free haircuts...and thats where our friendship began. Fast forward a few years and not much has changed with Duke, he is still picking up pairs on a regular basis, but I will say his taste has changed a bit. While Duke will admit that he pretty much grew up on Nike's and Jordan, he definitely has expanded his taste to include a slew of retro running classics from the likes of Asics, and New Balance. Duke has a real passion for not only sneakers, but footwear in general that can often be seen by him wearing a variety of options such as your typical Basketetball or Running sneakers, to Timberlands and Cole Haan dress shoes. Not only does Duke's collection have some serious variety in it, it is also very easy to tell what some of his personal favorites are seeing as he has doubles or even triples of most of them. Duke is the guy that regardless if he has the Black Cement 3 from the Countdown Pack era, he will be picking up that latest retro of them as well, and thats easily seen when you take a look at his collection. Without any further delay, read a few words Duke wanted to mention, which is followed by his choices for My Top 5.
Duke : Every sneaker that I have chosen for my top five, I consider wearable with any outfit. No matter the color, the fabric, the style I'm going for, I feel like everything in my top five is multipurpose. That is definitely very important to me when considering the top five shoes in my collection that I couldn't go without. Another thing you'll notice is consistent among my top 5, is that my top 5 consists of all comfortable sneakers that can be worn on a daily basis. Quality is definitely something I strive for all-around, not only in my haircuts, and clothing I make, but in the clothing and sneakers I buy, and New Balance is by far leading the industry in the quality department. Their Made In The USA products are not only amazing quality, but help give back to the American Economy, which is something I can get behind. Now, I'll get out of here on this note, although I feel like the order in my top 5 may change as years go on, I can definitely say these five here will be considered in My Top 5 forever.
5. Ronnie Fieg x New Balance 999 "Steel Blue"
The 999 is definitely in my top 2 favorite New Balance silhouettes. Even though these colors are so similar to the Steel Blue 1300, the top notch premium materials used sets these apart from the classic 1300 that inspired them. One thing you can count on with New Balance is the comfort, and wearability, they're one of my go-to's for everyday wear in the shop. Even though these fall in line behind the "Daytona" 1600's on My Top 5, Ronnie Fieg definitely set the bar high with these.
4. Ronnie Fieg x New Balance 1600 "Daytona"
I never would've thought I would have a sneaker in with a color way like this in my top five but the unique color way and premium materials paired with a model that is very comfortable and wearable. Like I mentioned, like with all Ronnie Fieg collaborations, the materials on these are top notch, and the details used throughout the upper start at the toe box and flow perfectly throughout the entire upper of the sneaker. This color way definitely pops, and catches attention when you wear them into any room, but yet they're still easy to put together with almost anything.
3. Air Jordan 3 "White Cement"
It seems like everyone is always showing the Black Cement 3 all the love, but I feel like a classic white sneaker like the White Cement Jordan 3 is a must in my top five. The Jordan 3 is a very versatile look to it that gives you the ability to wear them with shorts, sweatpants, jeans, or really any type of pants for that matter The White Cement Jordan 3 is another sneaker that I feel like looks just as good fresh out of the box, as they do beat.
2. Air Jordan 1 Black & Red "Banned"
The Air Jordan 1 is probably the best high top sneaker of all time. The "Bred" Air Jordan 1 has a deep history including the classic story of the NBA "Banning" this color way of the Jordan 1. I just feel like the black and red color way goes with any outfit you put together, I find myself grabbing these whenever I don't know what to wear. My favorite thing about the Jordan 1 is how wearable they are because they look fresh as hell even when they are beat up. Nothing says sneaker head to me like a pair of Bred 1's,
1. Nike Air Max 90 "Infrared"
I've been obsessed with Sneakers since I was a young man, always scrubbing them and making sure I had the best in school. With that being said the infrared 90 is my top choice because it is the first sneaker I found myself obsessed with to the point that I wanted to buy every pair I could find in a size 13. The Legendary Nike Air Max 90 in a White, Black, and Grey color way, paired with that infrared hue that just pops so much, and you've got yourself a color way that is so clean but yet stands out far above any other Air Max 90. Two things that you'll find are consistent throughout My Top 5 is that all of the sneakers in my top 5 are both, very comfortable and they all have color ways that are unique and stand out, but yet still can be worn with just about any outfit, and the Infrared Air Max 90 definitely stands above the rest of my top 5 in both categories.
A huge Thanks to my good friend Duke for taking time out of his schedule and participating in My Top 5. You can keep up with Duke and the Shop on Instagram @dukes_barber_shop, or check out their website at www.dukesbarbershop.com.