Sneakers. Yeah. But here, they’re still commonly referred to as rubber shoes. I wrote a short piece eons ago. It started with my first pair of Edwardsons and ended up with Oscar Obligacion in Oras ng Ligaya. Let me thus continue with my discourse on those kind of shoes that are prohibited to be worn by students on orders of the Augustinian sisters of La Consolacion School during my tenure there as a grade schooler.
With the growing popularity of the MICAA games and the NBA during the early 70′s, another manufacturer came up with another brand of shoes – NBA shoes. How original. They had 3 models when they started: NBA Basketball, which is just a Chuck ripoff. NBA Player, all white canvas with red soles and sides. And NBA Pro, their top model with 3 stripes. It later had 4 stripes when Adidas came into town. It was an Adidas Olympia copy except that it was made of canvas not leather. This was the second pair of sneakers I bought. For 18 pesos a pair. I was mighty proud of them. I wore them during a Saturday practice of a Christmas play during fifth grade. Hey, it wasn’t on a regular school day so we were permitted to wear them. My classmates were envious no end.
Somehow, from that time on, there arose a sort of rubber shoe craze. There came an unusual craving and respect for them shoes. Chucks were relegated to the background and low cut sneakers weren’t just the domain of tennis shoes anymore. Local manufacturers started making Adidas copies. Everything had 3 stripes on them. I remember my brother bought an NBA Pro copy (hey, a copy of a copy huh?) that weighed a ton. It was a US Booster or Master brand, I think. And everyone started ditching their Chuck-inspired sneakers for the new.
Quick rundown of the sneakers I had during the 70s:
- Bata. Like the NBA player but the rubber sole was green. And it had a U-shaped, I don’t know what you call it, opening for your foot.
- USA (really, that’s the brand name) Basketball shoes. Just your ordinary Chuck cover.
- US Booster. They actually made the first locally manufactured all-leather (synthetic really) sneakers. It was a Tiger rip-off. I bought it for P15, at a shoe stall at the Monumento market. The pair lasted a month.
- ABC. Made by General Rubber of Malabon. I was set to buy their ABC Serval model which was a Puma rip-off but I ended up with their Stan Smith copy.
- Converse Jack Purcells. Old reliables. They were P30 a pair at Good Earth. The soles were a problem though. Pebbles always get stuck betwen the threads. Quite a hassle.
- Adidas Match. Finally, my first pair of Adidas. Made (licensed of course) by General Rubber in Novaliches. Great shoes. Canvas body of Blue with white stripes. The soles have an unbelievable grip. Bought this during my senior year. I miss ‘em.
- Adidas Hurricane. Like an SL-72 model, the one Starsky wears. Nylon uppers, blue again with white stripe. Not much cushion though but it looks way, way cool on flared denims! I’d kill for a pair today. These were my main sneakers during my UP days.
- Adidas Rod Laver. My friend Manny gave ‘em to me. My first imported pair. Nylon mesh, all white, no stripes. Can’t remember what happened to them.
- Adidas Vienna. Like ROM but with red and blue stripes on a white leather upper. Slippery pair. You never play basketball with these. I learned that the hard way. Learned later these were trainers.
- Saucony Jazz. My first pair of running shoes. I couldn’t believe the cushioning. It was feet heaven. Bought the blue with silver trim. It had a sort of waffle thread like Nike’s but the studs were triangle shaped. They fall off. One by one. And that’s the only thing I hated about this shoe.
I am actually quite mixed-up now about dates but there were other pairs I bought and inherited during those years. I remember I also had a Puma Clyde rip-off. A green running shoe I can’t remember the brand. I got a Stan Smith from my sister but it was probably during the 80′s. The last pair I can recall buying during that time were a pair of high-cut Adidas Top Ten basketball shoes from that old Zenco Footstep store in Monumento.