Professor Khalli Vegas: A Lifetime Between the Laces & Lines

Introducing Khalli Vegas’ TSG column. Artwork by @MateoTheInker.

Khalli Vegas is currently a Business Professor and doctoral student in the ATL. I have hundreds of sneakers and over 75 different brands currently but just one pair is J’s (II) since I try to buy and wear only what I like.
It would be an understatement to say I have seen a lot of changes from sneaker advertising, trends, hunting, distribution, rare samples, promo’s, collaborations etc. You name it, I have seen it over the past 30 years. I want to share some of those stories, history, insight and opinions with the sneaker community that has become my cyber family over the years. You can keep up with Khalli Vegas on Instagram by following @KhalliVegas.

I put my lifetime in between the laces & lines….

My name is Khalli Vegas and I am a sneakerholic. Now that we have gotten all of the introductions out of the way, let me tell you a little bit about myself and some of the things I will be sharing surrounding the sneaker culture of the past four decades. The “professor” is not a tag name but a chosen career so although much of my day is spent in oxfords, the rush when I lace up a pair of sneakers is unmatched. I think more than any other shoe the sneaker defines “you”. Whether it’s OG, Hype-beast, Skateboarder etc., in most cases your footwear will give insight into to your world.

While sneaker collecting has become a common hobby of today’s popular culture, I had the good fortune of starting from ground zero in sneaker hunting from the early 80’s, long before the internet, social media and forums devoted solely to sneakers existed. The one constant for me is the thrill of finding that exclusive sneaker (grail, gem, etc.), and after nearly 1,000 pairs since my first conquest of AF1’s in 1984, the yearning still burns. I will share some of the diversity in brands, changes, and trends that I have witnessed firsthand and how they have impacted many global decisions made today surrounding sneakers.

Lifestyle – LS – A special release typically associated with Jordan Brand which ties in matching clothing (defined by osneaker.com). I can recall a time when the term sneakers and lifestyle were not used in the same sentence. You had the sneakers that your wore to school, and “gym” shoes. These were typically utilized for their intended purpose during Physical Education periods. Whether it was basketball, running, dodge-ball, etc., once class was over back in the gym bag or locker and off you went. Eventually two models would come along that married the two worlds for many of us during that time.

Air Force 1 (1984) – This by default became my first lifestyle shoe. I was given money as a teenager to purchase an Easter suit for Sunday’s service. I saw the AF 1’s at Hermann’s sporting goods store and had to have them. Instead of returning them, I agreed or parentally suggested to wear them to every social function that year. This included church services, but I didn’t mind. Although originally launched in 1982, the 1984 model I purchased on that day was a bit revamped. It had a sleeker feel than the OG’s, this look worked well on and off the court. The premium leather along with the strap that you typically wore looped around the back of the shoe, not on ankle, unless playing ball. The color-ways started to take off and we were constantly on the hunt to be first to obtain them. I had purple/white, green/white, and white/orange to name a few. This is still in my opinion the flagship swoosh, although open for much debate from the J’s crew.

New Balance CL 1300 – 1985 (Blue Steel) – I first glanced at these at a running shoe store in DC summertime 85. Back then a lot of my sneaker hunts were fueled by magazines I read (or looked at pictures) like Runners World. The 1300’s came at a hefty $$ price tag back then, but boy were they worth it. They were truly a masterpiece, not only from a technical standpoint, but style wise they were incredible. The buttery soft leather, the colorway, and the shape worked so well together, I decided who needed to run. No sir these were the type of sneakers you rocked with jeans, cords or sweatpants, to causally stroll thru the hallway or strut around your block. I purchased two pair, one pair primarily for running and the other as a lifestyle shoe, still wearable this very day. The 1300 is still a trend setter for running shoes today.

What are some of the sneakers that define your lifestyle currently?