Friday, January 26, 2007

A belt by a different name!

I often think of some of the world's best inventions and wonder who created them and why were they created? Thank goodness for the Internet because today I'm able to find out the answers to so many questions.

I look at artist and other similarly creative people as folks that have been given a gift from God (or whomever you believe in or choose not to believe in) and say, "God is Good!"

Think about it for a couple seconds. The person that created the drinking straw became wealthy ten-times-over and their family is living with 'generational wealth'. Take for instance the person that created the toothpick, they too saw a need for an instrument to remove food or whatever may be stuck between one's teeth. Simply amazing.

When the first woman or man decided that they needed a 'belt' to hold their smock or 'pants' in place, I can bet dimes to dollars that they never thought a 'belt' would become so ubiquitous and stylish.

Personally, I went through a phase where I had at least 10 different types of belts. I had belts that would only be worn with black shoes, cordovan's and belts that would match certain pairs of jeans and when I stepped my game up, I had the green and red Gucci belt that matched my parochial uniform to a tee. Thus, when I first saw the 'belt' or 'strap' on a pair of Nike Air Force 1 Highs, I wondered what it's purpose was.

The 'belt' or 'strap', as it's been referred to for so many years, has been an integral piece of history and takes on a life of its own. When Air Force 1 Highs were released ('82), the first pair that I saw were white with a grey swoosh. They looked reminiscent of hiking boots and I've come to find out that Bruce Kilgore took his cues from hiking boots and the eye stays from running sneakers.

Besides the Air Force 1 High withstanding the test of time, the 'strap' or the properly named 'Proprioceptus Belt' always stood for something more. The Proprioceptus Belt was designed with a purpose and it's to, "Exerts slight pressure to the base of the tibia and fibula so the body can monitor ankle joint positioning and decrease chances of injury".(Nike Air Force 1 ad)

This simple 'ankle strap' represented so much while growing up. Most early adopters of Air Force 1s let the strap hang at the rear of their sneakers when they were not playing basketball, similarly to Rasheed Wallace of the Detroit Pistons (on the left).
But when it was time to BALL, it was time to tighten up the ankle strap and lock your feet down. The cats that were daring and wanted to portray the image of being a baller would play with with the Proprioceptus Belt dangling at the rear of their sneakers to show that they could play and look good all-the-while doing it. Image and Air Force 1s go hand-in-hand.

So, the next time you see the Detroit Pistons playing, pay attention to Rasheed Wallace's feet. Witness how he wears his Air Force 1s and the way he plays the game. A classic with bounding talent, a preparedness that is second to none and a 'Take No Prisoners' mentality shines through and they extend to the sneakers on his feet. Check his FOOTWORK!


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