Flight Case Sneakers: Chris Danforth

Features Editor at Highsnobiety and esteemed sneaker commentator, Chris Danforth lifts the lid on his flight case to show us the footwear rotation he can't travel without.

Flight Case Sneakers: Chris Danforth at home in Berlin.

Born and raised in Canada, Chris Danforth's passion for sneakers and streetwear emerged as a byproduct of his interest in skateboarding. Spending his formative years on the streets and in the skateparks of Vancouver, Chris' - like many of the industry titans we speak about every day - is his very own microcosm of the cross-pollination of subcultures that ran through the 90s and 00s.

Keen to pursue a career which allowed him to marry his interest in sneakers and streetwear with a love of writing, Chris began contributing to Hypebeast in 2011 before crossing the Atlantic to cut his teeth working for Norse Projects in Copenhagen. A valued voice in the streetwear community, Chris went freelance, contributing to many of the hallowed publishing platforms which have legitimised streetwear as an invaluable asset to the overall fashion system and important cornerstones of contemporary youth culture, before landing as Features Editor at Berlin-based publishing powerhouse, Highsnobiety, in 2014.

A sneaker collector with the knowledge and access to build an archive to rival the very best, END. visited Chris at home in Berlin to lift the lid on his flight case and see which sneakers he has on hand for his next trip.

New Balance 990v3
New Balance 990v3 - Flight Case Sneakers: Chris Danforth

A cultural phenomenon more than 30 years in the making, the New Balance 990 has transcended its runner roots to become a founding element of every true sneakerhead's sneaker rotation. Famously the first performance shoe to break the $100 barrier, the 990 has spawned a legacy which swells with every new release.

"What can I say about 990s that has not already been said? They’re unbeatable," Chris explains. "Now that we’re on the 990v5, the third generation is pretty hard to come by. I think it’s the sort-of metallic fabric on the tongue that sets it apart as the best in the lineage. I always throw these in my bag."

adidas LA Trainer 'Made in Germany'
Adidas LA Made in Germany - Flight Case Sneakers: Chris Danforth

First released in celebration of the 1984 Los Angeles' Olympic Games, the adidas LA was reissued in 2016 complete with the original spec and tooling which solidified it as a firm favourite of the famed City Series.

"I try to get my hands on everything made-in-Germany that comes from adidas," Chris says. "When you’re holding these in hand, you can tell the quality on these is just different. They’re also super lightweight, the upper mesh is breathable. Overall, just a great pair."

NikeLab Sock Racer
NikeLab Sock Racer - Flight Case Sneakers: Chris Danforth
NikeLab Sock Racer - Flight Case Sneakers: Chris Danforth

Released in the 80s, the Sock Racer is a pioneer in aerodynamism. Recalibrated for a contemporary audience in the 2010s, the sneaker places lightweight comfort and a hyper-cushioned inflight experience front and centre.

"These are simply the best summer shoes of all time. They’re also so easy to pack. A criminally underrated shoe," Chris says, flexing a pair on foot. "If you’re into Prestos or Sock Darts, I can guarantee you will love the Sock Racer. They were designed by Bruce Kilgore who also designed the Air Force 1, which I think is interesting because the two shoes are quite opposite in a lot of ways. I was wearing these last summer at a Jordan event in Paris, and I actually got the opportunity to meet Michael. He asked me 'Why aren’t you wearing Jordans?'"

Stüssy x Converse One Star
Converse x Stussy One Star - Flight Case Sneakers: Chris Danforth
Converse x Stussy One Star - Flight Case Sneakers: Chris Danforth

The meeting of two subculture icons, Stussy and Converse's take on a 1974 One Star was the stuff of streetwear legend, combining early Stussy graphics with a distinctly west coast colour palette.

"I keep a pair of One Stars by my front door for quick runs to the store or heading to brunch on lazy Sundays," Chris explains. "The details on this Stüssy pair are great, the gold dice logo really sets them off. For me, Stüssy is a heritage brand. This whole streetwear thing would not exist without them. There are some old photos of Zack de la Rocha from Rage Against the Machine wearing Converse One Stars that I absolutely love."

|photographerJulien Tell