My mom recently celebrated a special birthday, so of course family and friends pulled up from all ends of the United States (even Alaska) to congregate and partake in the birthday festivities.
These festivities took place in Las Vegas, Nevada.
Weeks leading up to Vegas, I knew that the city (or rather, the Strip) was going to be full of people all over the place. That meant whatever kicks I took ran the risk of getting messed up to some degree. So, of course, like any sneakerhead should do, I took serious consideration into what shoes to bring because while I wanted to flex, I didn’t want people stepping on my hardest grails, AND it was my mom’s birthday weekend, so I wasn’t going to steal her shine.
So, of course, like any sneakerhead would do, I don’t take my most fire whips, but some dope contenders to still carry some heat. I decide on my Adidas Racing 1 Prototypes and my triple white Nike Huaraches. Both silhouettes are white, and the Adidas are laden with suede, so I knew I ran some real risks in Vegas. I also accounted for the possibility of an event where there may be some adventurous sort of activity, so I also brought my workout Adidas to fill in as beaters. But I figured I was going to see people with more and less fire on their feet than me, coupled with the fact that I knew I was probably going to see some really messed up sneakers, so it was okay, right?
The girlfriend and I get to Las Vegas around 11 AM Friday morning. After checking in to the hotel and getting settled in, we didn’t really start exploring the strip until around 2, when we get hungry from our trip. For the initial foray into the chaos, I rock the Racing 1 prototypes. No marks, scratches, scuffs, nothing. Cool. We make our way out of the hotel, cross the street to the other side where a shopping center is, and settle on some Panda Express for lunch. While that sounds like a quick and easy walk, the whole ordeal actually took approximately 30 minutes. To cross the street. On a bridge. That’s how packed and busy it was on the strip. About an hour later, after we ate and walked back, we stayed in the room for a few hours and cooled off because it was hotter than hell there.
Upon cooling off, I examined my Adidas. I had two small scuffs on the toebox’s suede, one on each shoe. Oddly enough, I don’t recall getting stepped on, stepping on or in anything, or otherwise. Scuffs just appeared there. Not even a whole day in, and I’m already holding an L in Vegas.
About an hour and a half later, we go to the lobby and meet my mom downstairs. She is getting ready to eat lunch with one of her friends. I couldn’t risk my mom seeing my Adidas looking a little rough, so I slip on the Huaraches, which are whiter than anything LisaRaye has ever wore in her life. Seeing that they weren’t Adidas, my mom asked me why I was wearing Nikes instead of Adidas. (When I was younger, I would only wear Adidas. I wouldn’t have it any other way.) I told her she just missed the Adidas. After a few minutes of talking, my mom and her friend went to find food, we went back upstairs and relaxed again.
About 6:30 in the evening, we decide to go out and really explore as much of the strip as we can before people meet up for dinner. I don’t want to put on my Huaraches walking around at night with a bunch of hot and sweaty people (taking another L), so I opt for the Adidas again. The Huaraches saw a total of maybe 20 minutes of wear the whole trip, and that instance was the entirety of said time. I didn’t put on my beaters because I was wearing a lot of white, and it would’ve looked tacky otherwise. In the couple of hours we walked, I saw a hypebeasts and sneakerheads of all kinds, with all sorts of alphets and kicks. Yeezys all of kinds and colorways, OG colorway Adidas NMDs, OVO Jordans, you name it. And I was correct: I saw people with more and less fire on their feet than me, and some of said heat was in bad shape. One guy had a pair of white Yeezys, with stains and scuffs all over. I saw Jordans cut up, leather peeling off and all. On the other hand, I saw the most crisp kicks out there that night as well. One tourist had really clean Superstars on, another with a fresh pair of All-Star 1’s that really made me want a pair of 1’s ever since.
I could keep going on, but you get the point. There was a variety of kicks out on the strip that night. I commend and envy those that kept their shoes clean the whole night. They probably didn’t do a whole lot of walking or moving around. I would’ve done the same thing, but I was in Las Vegas. I had to explore. I can sit still for free at home. So, at the end of the night, I only incurred one more small scuff on the right shoe of my Racing 1 Prototypes. All things considered at the end of the night, it could’ve been a lot worse than what it was. The strip is crowded beyond any level of safety, not to mention, absolutely disgusting on the street level. I was glad I only made away with scuff on suede, because that can come off with some proper cleaning. I wouldn’t be too sure about all the other stuff lurking on the pavement that may have assaulted my sneakers.
I’m just going to be straight up: I wore my beaters the whole day. I was too hesitant to wear my Adidas again, because of the night prior, and then I didn’t want to soil the Huaraches, also because of the night prior. So, I chose my beaters. And it paid off. They were comfortable, could afford to get messed up, and weren’t burning up my feet. After zip-lining, walking, eating, shopping, and other things that took up the Saturday in Las Vegas, they were no more soiled or damaged than when they came. The beaters came away from the whole day spotless. Irony truly is God’s humor.
I had an 8-hour drive back to northern California. I wore my beaters.
I had some Jason Markk quick wipes in my bag just in case I had to do a little cleaning up, but I didn’t have anything for my suede, so it had to wait until I got back. I have the suede cleaned up a little bit, but those Racing 1 Prototypes are the first shoes getting cleaned this weekend. And thoroughly.
So, the question remains: Should you take your hardest grails to Las Vegas?
No. I just wouldn’t (and didn’t) do it, and I’m glad I didn’t. It’s always cool to see dope kicks in dope places, but if you’re really concerned about the condition and the wear while you’ll be out there, keep your best in your closet, and take some easier pieces you wouldn’t mind getting a little dirty. You’re going to want to explore and do things in Las Vegas, as you should. Just don’t do them in your most precious sneakers.