There are plenty of folks out there obsessing over older skate shoes, but very few are committed to buying and then skating said footwear. Hours upon hours are spent searching on eBay for that childhood nostalgia in a box & if you’re lucky enough to win your favorite shoes, the likelihood is that you’ll be hosting your purchase on a shelf.
That’s not the case with Richie Banks.
He’s stuck on an ultra-specific mission within the realm of the deadstock. He’s also a professional photographer and skateboarder with a plan and a constructive outlook that may very well change how you look at your collection. But be wary, this habit isn’t for the weak of heart or wallet…you’ve been warned.
Okay, when did this fascination with old skate shoes start for you? When did you make the switch from modern to OG?
Hmmm… actually, not too long ago. Maybe 3 years ago. One of my buddies, James, always had some random classics and he would post them on Instagram with that hashtag #Sk8ShoeWars.
What’s your process of getting these models? Is there one specific way that works that most are unaware of?
Well, it all started with this dude called LA Dave. He’s an OG & everyone’s that’s sponsored will sell him their gear for cash. In his storefront, he has all these crusty pairs of shoes but in the back, he has straight gems. And they’re waiting to be bought, but you can’t go back there to see them so my friend James told me, “If you want to be taken seriously, you have to bring $500 bucks in cash & say ‘Hey Dave, I want to go shopping.'”
Sure enough, I got some decent paychecks and went to LA Dave’s. From there, the floodgates were open. I’d ask “Do you have any Reynolds?” they’d go back there and boom, there they were. And then I’d be like “Got any Kircharts, Bosses, etc.” and sure enough, they’d have them. I walked away with 5 pairs of shoes, a deck & some other gear for $500 bucks.
Have you ever bought a pair and been disappointed? Like reality didn’t meet your nostalgic expectations…
No, never. I only try to buy shoes that I really want in the first place. It’s not like this stuff is available anywhere else, y’know? Sometimes, you can find 5 gems in one month & realize “Oh shit, I just spent $1000 on skate shoes this month.” Plus, I don’t think they’re going down in value. They’re sorta like camera lenses, in that they only go up in value or at least break even. I know like 3 people that would buy some of my OG Reynolds 1’s for $400 bucks right now.
What’s the most you’ve seen an OG pair of skate shoes go for?
The most I’ve ever seen a pair go for were some Reynolds 1’s in brown/bling for $406 on eBay like a month ago.
I know you skate these shoes after you buy them. What’s the reaction most people have when you pull up to a skate park or a spot?
I was just skating at Huntington Beach skatepark and I was on the deck getting ready to drop in when someone stopped me & asked, “Are those Emericas?” This younger kid was looking at my Kirchart 3’s and didn’t know whether they were Emericas, skate shoes, or what. People get so hyped man and others are bummed that I’m skating these shoes.
Do you ever regret skating some of these shoes? I mean, yes, they were meant to be skated but it’s not like they’re making them anymore, either.
Well, I actually enjoy skating these shoes because they’re easily recognizable. That’s sorta the best part about them. I mean, whether I’m skating long lens or fisheye, you’re going to be able to tell that I’m wearing some two-tone brown Emerica Ellington’s. Plus, I’m filming some legit clips in these shoes so that’s how they’ll live on forever for me. I’ll be able to watch the footage and know that I skated those dope ass shoes in 2017-2018 and that I had the best time doing it. Do I really want to be an old ass man with a bunch of dope shoes in my closet wishing I could’ve skated them? No.
So what kind shoes will we all see throughout your skate part?
My video part is only in rare ass Emericas. That’s the theme, only rare ones.
What are some tips that you could give to people reading this about buying vintage skate shoes?
If you’re a size 7 or higher than an 11, you will find the best shoes on eBay. You’ll always find some vintage shoes for cheap in larger sizes & smaller sizes.