Professor Khalli Vegas: A Lifetime Between the Laces & Lines

professor khalli vegas

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 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.

nike air force 1 originals og

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 1300 cl

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?

About The Author

Follow on Twitter & Instagram: @TheShoeGame

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  • yeahhh buddy. that leather! to me AF1s with NYC on the tongue are the greatest sneakers ever. The Mecca!!

    The game has so many new school cats, definitely appreciate someone teaching about how it got here. Need more of this, too many pple not knowledgable – not enough pple teaching.

    Good read

  • Towel

    Campus 80
    Dunk hi
    Ventilator will always be in my roto.

  • QBlow

    Great read and can’t wait for more. I’d say various runners define my current lifestyle. I appreciate look and feel.

  • kvegas

    @RayP – Thanks, I always tell folks the AF1 leather was exceptional. Before you had to mortgage your house or get secret invites to Bespoke lab or however they do it over at swoosh HQ. The leather was unmatched on the AF1 and Fila T1 back then and the AF1’s was usually price right at $100 or lessfor Hi or $69 for Low tops.

    @Towel – Two very solid collections in my book both are in my current rotation actually.

    @QBlow – I wish more companies would retro runners more than the basketball selections.

  • Justin aka “not the other Justin”

    Wow, those NB’s (except for the tongue) still look good. 1985, really?

    I’m surprised that the toes on the AF-1’s all look stretched. Are those all older or do you just wear yours a little snug? I’ve got a bunch of AF-1’s…none of mine have done that.

    Personally, since my first pair of 4’s in ’89, I’ve been hooked on J’s. However, the downfall of the AF-1 is greatly exaggerated (especially by “sneakerheads”). Nike tries out way too many c/w’s and materials on them…but when you find the right mix, the shoe is just a perfect balance of dope & chill.

    To answer the question in the post, my favorite LS shoe (over the last few years actually…prob need a new pair) is my Baroque Brown Premium AF1’s; leather is on point and the color is perfect.

  • Dope write up @kvegas!!

  • shoes that define my lifestyle… particularly sneakers with a slim sole bc its more comfy when I skate, also Im flat footed so I last longer in them lol so like Jordan 1s, and Dunks are primarily it for me.

    love me some 90s dunks!!

  • crashmoney

    Runners for me …Nb’s, Adidas Zx, Nike. The models I wear most are the Am 2013 n Am 1 .

  • Executive aka Kic Flair

    Respect to Mr. Vegas. I admire a person who actually does what he or she actually likes and not just what’s cool at the moment.

  • Executive aka Kic Flair

    I remember buying AF 1’s for 64.99 back in high school. Give me a pair of timbs, Nike boots, AJ’3 and 4’s, Penny’s, pips and I’m straight.

  • omar najeeb

    Love me some damn college bball. Lotta flight 89’s, revolutions.

  • Executive aka Kic Flair

    Chuck Taylor’s are my faves too, forgot add those. Some blue or black and white highs.

  • kvegas

    @Justin aka “not the other Justin – Never snug fit put shoes trees are placed in all my kicks that might explained the “stretched” look, Yeah 1985 was a great year.

    @AlexThaGr8 – Hey Thanks my man.

    @Ray P – Yeah the 90’s ushered in some nice Dunks the Varsity Packs still a favorite and the Germany Hi but always wanted the De La joints never purchased though.

    @Crashmoney – Adidas ZX models a great shoe.

    @Executive aka Kic Flair Apprecuated and AF1’s and Timbs the stable for years for my footwear and still wear today. Have Chuck’s but just never gave me the arch support I guess, actuall had a pair of Bob Cousy’s joints back 1979 and hated the Celtics and My dad for making me wear them.

    @omar najeeb – Salute Flight 89’s some of the more comfortable BBall kicks I have worn

  • 4DRUMZ

    Growing up I always had the (2) pair system too… school shoes and gym shoes! Often the old school shoes simply became the gym shoes and then moms only had to buy a new pair of school shoes! I’ve even got pictures to prove it wearing some beat Converse in a middle school basketball picture! lol

  • kvegas

    @4DRUMZ – That was certainly the mode of operation growing up!

  • teeLARGE

    To say that I am excited about these articles would be an understatement!! Much respect @kvegas

    The Air Max 1 to me is definitely my first lifestyle shoe. I’m 32 so I’m right I’m between generations of sneakerheads (young enough to rock all this new heat but old enough to remember the feeling of lacing up OG Jordans, Maxes, and more.. but the AM1 is the absolute most perfect shoe in my opinion.

  • kvegas

    @teeLARGE -much appreciated and very few could go against the AM 1, although surprisingly never fully jumped on them but have a couple I loved no summer wardrobe complete with out those and at least a pair of Stan’.

  • Chevy Boy

    Great job on the post KV. Two shoes come to mind for me as far as LS: AJ6 Infrared and Air Max 95. I’m not saying the AJ6 because it’s my favorite shoe of all time, but because that’s the shoe for me that’s easiest to slip on in a hurry!!! No matter what I have on, I can look at my feet and say “at least my shoes are dope” LOL. And what else is there to say about the Air Max 95? (Especially the neon colorway) These shoes were practically made for everyday wear. Well, at least the OGs were. It’s one of the most comfortable shoes I have ever owned. Add the fact that the silhouette is CLASSIC, and you can’t go wrong with this one.

  • kvegas

    Hey Chevy, Solid choices right there no question.

  • Sneakerphile42

    The two shoes I think of as far as lifestyle are the reebok classics and the LA Gear Flaks (Joe Montana). Those were pairs that I absolutely loved! My mom couldn’t afford a lot so I always had a fresh pair of the black and white reebok classics and the LA Gear Flak joints were the first signature shoe that I ever owned. Your article was very insightful. Keep up the great work.

  • Good Look Kvegas. Each one, teach one!

  • NE OG Elroy

    @kvegas. NB’s where the ish in DC back in 85. NB’s where always seen as a hustler’s shoe because of the high price tag. 1300, 1600, 1700 all were in the $150 plus range big money for sneakers back then.

  • kvegas

    @Sneakerphile42 – You know I forgot about those LA Gear joints, good stuff!

    @Blackground – Thanks Fam.

    @NE OG Elroy – Yeah I don’t have to tell you about those days dead on the money, a time before rappers were getting cake the D-Boys definitely broke out most sneakers then NB, Fila, etc.