Fashion

Cool retro Chinese sneakers

warrior sneakers.jpg
Warrior sneakers

Ye Shumeng, a Chinese born graphic designer now living in Helsinki, has produced a book of photographs of Chinese people wearing the old Chinese brand 'Warrior' sneakers. This is how she introduces the book, titled Book of Warriors.

In the 1970s, Warrior basketball sneakers were a much sought after status symbol in China. Many Chinese teenagers dreamed of a pair of white Warrior sneakers.

ye_shumeng_warrior.jpg
Road Warrior

Three decades later, these sneakers are still well known among the Chinese people but they are no longer objects of desire. They are used by the elderly and by poor villagers doing physical labour at construction sites and pulling rickshaws. They are used by Chinese working class heroes. Today’s Chinese youngsters dream of Nike or Converse.

Inspired by their unique and classic style, I took pictures of people wearing Warriors in various areas of China in 2007. Now these pictures have been released as the Book of Warriors and each copy is accompanied by a pair of Warrior sneakers. Through my book, I hope to tell the story behind the shoes and I would like show a different side of China. Not the industrial and economical power, but the daily life of a country with its own distinctive sneaker culture.

bloomsneakers.jpg
Orlando Bloom in Feiyue sneakers

You can buy the Book of Warriors online, and at trendy stores like Colette in Paris (there is a list of stores that stock the book on the book's website). Every Book of Warriors comes with a pair of original Warrior sneakers.

Old Chinese sneaker brands have been getting a lot of attention these days. Chinese media has been talking recently about the reinvention in the west of the old Chinese brand Feiyue (Flying Forward). Not long ago, Feiyue was one of the cheapest brands of sneakers in China, selling for 25 to 35 yuan.

In 2006 a French company bought the label and began selling them in London and Paris for 40 to 50 Euro. A photo of Orlando Bloom wearing Feiyue recently made the rounds on Chinese web forums.

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There are currently 10 Comments for Cool retro Chinese sneakers.

Comments on Cool retro Chinese sneakers

Su Tong wrote a short story once about two boys who fall out because of a pair of sneakers, althoug that was another brand, Huili. The story is titled 回力牌球鞋.That would have been in the 70s as well.

This proves again that fashion is crap,or at least more so than anything else.

I used to have those sneakers!

I had Warrior sneakers back in 10th grade. I think I got them from my grandpa when I went back to China. Then after a few years they were worn out so I bought some Feiyue shoes. But they smelled so much like rubber i threw them away.

I love those old-fashion sneakers. The only downside of them is that, you have to prepare white chalks to whiten the shoes right before any regular inspection from the teachers. I think the black 回力牌球鞋 with red or green strips is better~

Anyone know where to find these in Beijing? I made the mistake of forwarding this article to my sneaker freaker sister and now she's demanding a pair of Huili and a pair of Feiyue.

Those sure are some fancy-schmancy sneakers!

@Fergus, as with many things, you can find both brands on Taobao (search for 回力 鞋 and 飞跃 鞋).

Thanks Micah!

I got a pair at sevenandsix.com. Pretty awesome.

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