Fashion in the 90’s was very distinct.
Your head was reserved for bucket hats, Starter caps and scrunchies. Your upper torso displayed No Fear, Tommy Hilfiger or sweaters with a majestic wilderness scene courtesy of Grandma and Grandpa.
Your lower half was rocking overalls with one strap, sweatpants with the word “cowabunga” written down the leg, or of course, hammer pants.
And on your feet? Most likely some high tops. Air Jordan’s if you were really lucky. Power lace ups if you were from the future. And if the stars aligned and you hit the mother of all jackpots? Reebok Pumps.
It all began in 1988. People were downright sick and tired of using laces to adjust the snugness of their shoes, so a smart guy named Daniel Schettino partnered with a design firm to solve the problem.
Inflatable air chambers were developed that could be adjusted and deflated to make your shoes fit just right.
On November 24th, 1989 the first pair of Reebok Pumps hit the shelves.
The playground rumours grew at an alarming rate. Urban myths such as “the Pump will make you run faster” or “the air inside of them actually makes you jump over a foot higher”, and my personal favourite “one of my friends opened the Pump and there was candy inside of it”. The playground was a breeding ground for pathological liars more than anything else.
Pumps were the coolest shoes you could get, and once celebrities like Shaq and Tupac started endorsing them, they were absolutely everywhere.
It didn’t take long before they expanded from basketball shoes into cross-trainers, off-road, golf, walking, aerobics and running shoes. They even tried their hand at hockey skates for a while.
The shoes have made multiple comebacks since their debut, including 2005 for NBA All-Star weekend, as well as different iterations in 2008, 2014, 2015, 2016 and 2017.
One day a few years ago I overheard a woman telling her friend about a hot new pair of Pumps she just bought. I had to interject. I asked her all kinds of questions. Where she got them, how much they cost, what colour they were, and confessed my genuine envy that she had a pair. I said I’d love to have a pair of Pumps. I’d wear them everywhere.
She was talking about her high heels. It was an unfortunate time to be me.