Thursday, March 25, 2010

Tales From 14th Street: All about the shoes!

"Tales from 14th Street" Is a look back at childhood days living in San Pedro California. I will share the fun and not so fun adventures of living in the hood during the 80's and early 90's. If anybody grew up in this area during that time please email or comment anytime and share your stories or thoughts.

The other night I was sitting there thinking, " What kind of shoes did we wear growing up on 14th street"?  First of all since we were not rich we didn't have the luxury to have all kinds of different pairs, so the ones we did have I can remember quite well. My brothers and I only got new shoes during the beginning of the new school year, we wore them the whole time unless they really got bad. Before we got hip to the coolest styles my dad bought us PAYLESS shoes which back then was a stigma of being  poor and cheap! unlike now I have tons of payless flats! Back then the quality of Payless was horrible and worse they made you're feet stink! that was the biggest sign of a cheap sneaker, if you're feet stink then those shoes must be from Payless.

                                                           The Pro Wings

 This next memory is sort of a blur, but I remember my brothers going down the street to one of our neighbors house to show off my latest kicks which were a brand new pair of green, black and white British Knights! yeah baby those were the shit back then. I was too young to know that they were cool, but I was just happy I got a pair of boy shoes.

During that time I also remember word on the street was that you shouldn't be wearing either blue or red kicks in the wrong area or else you will get jacked, same went for having the wrong lace color.  I don't think my brothers ever got jacked but I might slightly remember an incident were they almost did or knew someone who got jacked for their shoes.I was reading on a website that BK shoes became associated with the Crips gang because they used the shoes BK to symbolize" Blood Killa."  

In about third grade when the gangs started pushing hard on my block it really influenced me and some of the younger kids. We looked up to the older gangsters. One day we decided to start our own gang! how crazy is that. We were just innocent kids influenced by what was surrounding us and we didn't know better; we had any idea of what it really all meant. We had been talking about it during lunch time for a couple of weeks. We even convinced our parents to buy us a pair of the ever so classic " Nike Cortez"  once we had those magical shoes on our feet, we felt like the hardest mocosos in the school. I am speaking about third and fourth grade here buddy! The reason we did not go through with it was because one of my friends older brother had a talk with us about the repercussions of being in a gang he told us that it was not cool or worth it. Even though we did not understand fully what he meant we got over trying to fit in. He was the same guy who got shot and died a few months later.

After our Nike Cortez phase, I just stuck to buying classic Vans, there used to be a Vans store on 15th and Gaffey so we went there before it closed in the early 90's.

When I was in 5th grade this new shoe came out that both guys and girls wore called " Honchos" I asked a few people about them, but nobody quite remembers.  I tried my best to find a picture of them online but no luck. I remember they used to sell them at the " Discount Mall" which was an indoor swapmeet on 8th and Pacific. They were black shoes with brown accents ( I think)  with sort of thick soles, and what distinguished them was that they came with double laces which were black and brown. I don't remember if they were L.A Gears or Sketchers.

As my brothers got older they somehow got away with buying more expensive shoes . Some of the styles I remember were the basketball pump shoes by Reebok and Nike those were pretty funny.

I was still too young and too tomboy to care about the latest fashion in girl shoes ,but  I  do remember teen girls and  cholas wearing gladiator sandal's that laced up all the way up your legs ( those came back as well). I also remember suede boots which came back of course.  I realize now that most of these shoes are back in style or really never left. They just got converted into different colors etc. Many of the so called " Gangster" shoes are worn by the everyday person with no stigma. 

That's if for now I hope you all enjoyed reminiscing about the trends from back in the days.



ARPEN said...

Haha..werd..especially on the Payless shoes! I've been there and I'm there now. The shoes are cute!:) I'm down with the flats for comfy walking adventures..

Doña Junta said...

Yeah, exactly I left payless only to come back now lol. Back then it would sure get you clowned on.

El Random Hero said...

I remember having a pair of those pumps shoes hahaha and I didn't even play basket ball. I would be like, wait, lemme pump my shoes, squeak, squeak, squeak hahaha and the British Knights too, damn it's been a long as time.

Anonymous said...

Wut about them downtown bruce lee slippers had them threw my child hood did'nt have BKay's and pumas wit the fat red laces till the 7th and 8th grade good memories,good writing gurl....


Tonan the Librarian said...

So.... Have they made camouflage Cortezes yet?

lizzyPoo said...

Wow. yeah, we also grew up poor and had nothing BUT payless shoes growing up.Kids made fun of us and I hated it. My parents didn't buy us shoes until they were worn out so bad a toe or 2 would peek out. Then they would take all 3 of us to the payless and get us new kicks. It was like a ritual or something that after walking outta the store my mom would have us change into our new shoes right there and then on the curb, put our old shoes in the boxes and throw them in the trash. I didn't get my 1st name brand (Nike) shoes till 8th grade. I think the poor stigma is still there between kids but not as adults.You'll still be made fun of if your wearing fake vans in school but as for me, $9 for sneakers?? You can't beat that with a stick! After your outta high school you realize no one cares where you got your shoes, or what music you listen to etc.