Sneaker Sunday: Nike ‘Hemp’ P-Rod II

IMG_7999Throughout my childhood I was a kid stuck between two worlds.  On one hand, I lived in the gym.  I had basketball tournaments every weekend, basketball practice everyday after school and basketball shoes littered the floor of my room on a daily basis.  On the other hand, when I wasn’t playing basketball, I was skating.  My dad built me a quarter pipe that we kept in our front yard and I would go up and down the pipe and around our driveway all day and night.  A typical day for me would include getting home from school and immediately shooting around in my front yard and before it got too dark, I would pull out the quarter pipe until my mom would finally yell for me to come inside.  Back then, I would skate in my basketball shoes.  Sometime around 2002 (I was 12 years old) Nike engineered a classic basketball shoe (“the dunk”) specifically for skating.  They called it the SB Dunk.  In a way, this was a shoe made specifically for me.  It fit and performed like a basketball shoe but was built for skaters.  Shortly after, Nike began signing skaters with Paul Rodriquez being the marquee guy and eventually getting his own line, the “Nike Zoom Air Paul Rodriquez” or “P-Rod’s.”  In 2007 I was a junior in high school when they released the “Nike Zoom Paul Rodriquez 2.” It featured zoom in the heel (just like my basketball shoes), and the cushion and feel of them was superb.  I ended up getting the “Hemp 4/20” version (without having any idea the implication they were inferring).  I remember wearing them a lot those last two years of my high school career then I suppose I went to college. I packed them away, lost in a duffel bag above my parents garage…

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The Neighborhood Quarter Pipe

This year, 2018, I finally had to clean out the garage. That’s where the whole point of this post originated.  I opened an old dusty duffel bag stuffed high in the rafters of my parent’s garage and found gold.  All my “original” size 13 shoes from high school were in there.  Vans, Nike’s and even some dress shoes filled the bag but as I began sifting through I saw them: my “Hemp P-Rod II’s.”  They were missing the original laces, the toe box was pretty badly stained and the hemp panels were fraying but it only made the shoe look cooler.  I bought replica laces on Amazon from “Fully Laced” (which matched the shoe perfectly) and I cleaned them profusely with my Jason Markk cleaning kit.  While they won’t ever be perfect like they were in ’07, I’m pretty happy with the result and stoked to be giving them new life.  As SB dunks gain in popularity once again, I’m excited to add it into my regular shoe rotation.

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