In 2021, everything old in the sneaker world is new again. From Stussy’s Nike Huaraches coming back for the first time since 2000 to the Air Max 1 “Kiss of Death”—the shoe that put multihyphenate Edison Chen and his CLOT line on the map in 2006—getting a surprise return, shoes that entire generations of sneaker fans never had a chance to pick up are suddenly within reach. One of the weirdest and most iconic of them is set to make its return later this month. A true OG of the golden era of Nike collabs, the Air Max 90 “Bacon” hits the SNKRS app on March 26th.
While at first glance it may seem a relic of the thankfully bygone era of Bacon Culture, when you couldn’t step into a trendy restaurant without finding a novel approach to pork products, the "Bacon" AM90’s roots actually go all the way back to the legendary Lower East Side skate and sneaker shop Dave’s Quality Meat. DQM was the brainchild of artist Dave Ortiz, who first made a name for himself in New York’s graffiti scene and later as the first employee of the skate titan Zoo York. Ortiz’s DQM almost immediately became a staple of the downtown sneaker and skate shop scene. Ortiz leaned into the gimmick, stocking tees and hoodies on meat hooks and encasing goods in saran wrap. It was more than just a stunt, though—Ortiz recalls many of the hottest sneaker and skate shops in town at the time having a museum-esque air of pretension. He wanted his store to cut through that and evoke the air of a communal space like a deli or butcher shop. After all, as he often says: It’s just sneakers. It’s not that serious. His efforts to set himself apart from the crowd paid off. The store became one of the most popular skate shops in town—and started working with brands on exclusive DQM products.