Illustration for article titled The 10 Blackest Shoes That I Own
Photo: Panama Jackson

While I wouldn’t necessarily call myself a sneakerhead—perhaps that’s some sort of reluctant denial; my wife is absolutely tired of my sneaker deliveries—I spend more than a little bit of time perusing sneaker websites and videos from people named Foamer Simpson, Jacques Slade and Seth Fowler, watching sneaker unboxing videos of shoes that I try to beat thousands of other people and bots for the opportunity to purchase.

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Okay, maybe I do veer into sneakerhead territory. Outside of looking for exclusives, shoes to resell at a profit or kicks to keep on ice until I think the world is ready to view them, mostly I try to buy shoes I actually want to wear. In doing so, that has leaned me heavily into shoes that have some sort of cultural significance, especially black cultural significance. To that end, I’ve purchased many shoes strictly because of their inherent blackness, nod to the community or colorway that I could pretend was intended as a nod to blackness. At this point, I own enough shoes in this vein to do a whole list of the 10 blackest shoes that I own. I’d be remiss if I didn’t point out that all of the shoes I will cite are made by big shoe companies which are clearly not black-owned or operated. Basically, I don’t own any pairs of Big Baller Brand shoes and you probably don’t either. In fact, I’ve never even seen a pair of them in real life; if you ordered some, I do hope you managed to receive your pair(s). #supportblackbusiness

Either way, let’s kick it. Get it? Because kicks….never mind. All shoes and liberties on blackness of said shoes are mine.

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1. Nike Air Jordan IV Retro Breds/White Cement with the Kente laces

Illustration for article titled The 10 Blackest Shoes That I Own
Photo: Panama Jackson

Right out the gate and I’m moving the goalpost. Either way, as you can see, I have both of my pairs of Jordan IVs laced up with the fly “kente” laces. I can’t take credit for this idea. My boy sent me a picture with a dude lacing his Breds up with some “kente” laces and I was like, “oh, he styled on everybody…” I immediately went to Etsy and found me some laces and the rest is Black History.

2. Vans A Tribe Called Quest x Sk8-Hi “Mellow Yellow”

Illustration for article titled The 10 Blackest Shoes That I Own
Photo: Panama Jackson
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As soon as I saw that Vans was dropping a collaboration capsule with A Tribe Called Quest, I knew I was going to have to cop. I actually thought they’d be sold out in stores upon release but I was able to walk right into the Vans store in Virginia’s Pentagon City Mall and cop at least three of the four shoes. Thank goodness that I did not leave my wallet in El Segundo. You see what I did there? Probably. Point is, these shoes are dope and any opportunity to rock ATCQ-centric gear is a win for the culture.

3. Nike Blazer Mid “Coming To America”

Illustration for article titled The 10 Blackest Shoes That I Own
Photo: Panama Jackson
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Anything this fresh had to be copped and surprisingly, they were also available in stores when I went to go get them and weren’t sold out. In fact, the day I went to buy them I suggested to the cat working at Foot Locker that they probably had been selling and he looked at me and laughed like I just told him Jordan 1 Mids were about to be the new hot item on the streets. I had the last laugh though; every time I wear them, folks want to know what they are and where they can get them. I always tell them Zamunda.

4. Nike Lebron 16 “Martin”

Illustration for article titled The 10 Blackest Shoes That I Own
Photo: Panama Jackson
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For the longest time, I wasn’t a fan of Nike’s Lebron line of shoes. I think the brand was hoping they’d become the new Jordan’s but Kanye came in and took that crown with his Yeezy line at adidas. But when the 15s dropped, I finally found myself copping Lebrons and I loved them so much I bought several pairs. The 16, too, was a silhouette I really liked. Then I saw he was dropping this “Martin” themed version that includes font-stylings from the show and the heel includes show sayings. I was all in. I must admit, I bought them because I assumed there’d be some resale value. There hasn’t been much, so that’s not WZUP. It’s still a dope shoe with an ode to black culture. It’s a winner.

5. Vans A Tribe Called Quest x Authentic “Tracklist”

Illustration for article titled The 10 Blackest Shoes That I Own
Photo: Panama Jackson
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I didn’t love this particular shoe when it dropped but I mean, how could I not cop it. It’s got song titles all over it and it’s black and white in a signature Vans silhouette. I’ve only worn the shoes once, and that was for my engagement photos because they matched my suit and what says you’re marrying a hip hop head like shoes adorned with A Tribe Called Quest songs titles.

6. Vans A Tribe Called Quest x Old Skool “ATCQ”

Illustration for article titled The 10 Blackest Shoes That I Own
Photo: Panama Jackson
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This might be cheating since three of the blackest shoes I own are from the same collaboration but it’s my party and I’ll cry if I want to, plus, do you own these joints? With the super fly, branded ATCQ art work and the super fly laces, I love this pair of shoes. Obviously, the shoes are purely for the hip hop head that loves Tribe (which should be everybody, natch) but still...ain’t they purdy?

7. Converse Chuck 70 Hi “Black History Month”

Illustration for article titled The 10 Blackest Shoes That I Own
Photo: Panama Jackson
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Every Black History Month, I truly want to say “bless your heart” to Nike for dropping a collection of Black History Month sneakers. Often, they’re just different colorways of shoes folks already love. This pair of Chuck’s though, was interesting enough and was inspired by “traditional African prints.” I mean, they tried. But the shoes are fly and they even have a BHM on the tongue for Black History Month.

8. Nike Zoom Freak 1 “Soul Glo”

Illustration for article titled The 10 Blackest Shoes That I Own
Photo: Panama Jackson
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The Zoom Freak 1 is Milwaukee Bucks’ star basketball player Giannis Antetokounmpo’s signature sneaker. His favorite movie is Coming to America, so his first shoe line has several versions that pay homage to the movie. This particular shoe was the first one of his line that I ever tried on and I was amazed at how comfortable his shoes are. And with the nod to Coming to America and the greatest fictional haircare product of all time, I had to get them. The shoes would be almost perfect if not for the patent leather tongue, but otherwise, it’s a shoe that I love wearing.

9. Nike Air Jordan I Retro High OG “Pine Green”

Illustration for article titled The 10 Blackest Shoes That I Own
Photo: Panama Jackson
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So this shoe isn’t really meant to be about revolution or anything BUT the shoes, which are largely black and green DO come with red laces and once you put the red laces on the shoe, well, you have a solid RBG shoe. I wore these to a panel I did on the “Year of Return” about black Americans heading to Ghana in 2019, and had on a shirt that said BlackAF, it pretty much one of the blackest all-around things I could have been doing that day.

10. Puma Special GV + Lux “Red/Black/Green/White”

Illustration for article titled The 10 Blackest Shoes That I Own
Photo: Panama Jackson
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I don’t know why the official name of the shoes isn’t just RBG, but that might make it too black. I bought these shoes specifically because of the colorway and because they also look good when I’m feeling like getting fly for any occasion. But mostly for the colorway. REVOLUTION!

Panama Jackson is the Senior Editor of Very Smart Brothas. He's pretty fly for a light guy. You can find him at your mama's mama's house drinking all her brown liquors.

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