Saucony remains an underrated brand.
Like performance running kingpins New Balance, they've got the athletic credibility on lock. We remember many parents wearing early '90s pieces from the Shadow line like the 5000 and 6000 as a relatively affordable alternative to more expensive pieces and them being a definite rival for the Pegasus. The technology was low-key, but the curved sole and mysterious Ionic Cushioning System made them seem more serious to us, even if we were chasing visible technologies at the time.
We can't recall the Jazz '91 though — the Jazz 2000 from 1990 and Jazz 3000 from around 1992 are fairly vivid in our minds, but that simple early '80s Jazz upper poised on a technical base is still an effective creation. Saucony's more expensive pieces also found favour with Lo Life types on the hunt for the obscure, credible silhouettes and in the case of the Jazz, had a significant hardcore following too, despite never actively chasing the subcultures in question. We think that's the mark of good product.
Seeing as Saucony's headquarters are based in Massachusetts, it figured that they'd cross paths with Boston's Bodega crew at some point. Last year's collaboration pieces using the Shadow 5000 made superior use of a killer shade of blue on suede and leather. They were part of an ongoing project that was originally pitched as a Japan-only collection. We weren't mad at that prospect — after all, Japan took in Saucony's heritage line when only hardcore disciples could appreciate the basic running looks. They even showed the mighty Hangtime basketball shoe some love. That Saucony Futura encapsulates the kind of collaboration a flick through Sneaker Jack would unearth. Now it's all much of the same old muchness on the collaboration front.
The new wave of Bodega drops reworks the 6000 with the ill burgundies, blues, beiges and greys. An emphasis on texture again that really sets off the shoes as a pack, and the arched side forefoot panel that can be a little unwieldy looking has been worked in expertly, while the traditionally coloured Jazz '91 that stays simple. Bodega have long been conceptual kingpins when it comes to this kind of thing, but there seems to be no real gimmick on this batch. It's just the shoes fulfilling their potential — the off-white midsoles don't hurt either.
We prefer these to many rival heritage releases, and as a double-act, they win. Not to a wild-eyed ex-Brat Packer on ABC news extent, but in a dignified, smartly executed way that we hope we see more of. Saucony and Bodega was never our idea of a match made in heaven, but these are excellent and available now in the Crooked store.
Unexpectedly bi-winning footwear.