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What about walking on air?

10. Mai 2023

A story from my teenage years — and a bridge back to my youth

Schwarz-weiße Nike-Air-Force-1-Schuhe

Walking on rocks, hurts. Walking on glass, cuts.

Walking on hot coals, burns. Walking on someone’s heart, kills.

— Francisco Garcia / former professional basketball player

by Razvan Lazar

Nike Air — Original advertisement, from 1988, which I bought, many years later, on ebay, to remind me of the first fulfilled dreams, in a far, far away world.

1988 — Baggy pants, faded jeans, Nike Air, skate boarding,
video games...


...but for a youngster from Bucharest these were just dreams.

Especially the Nike Air.


“West is best” — that was the saying that echoed through my childhood. And somehow, we managed to get our slice of Western living. Even if it was only leafing through Neckermann catalogs.


But there were holes in that closed world.


There were always ways to fulfill your dreams. You just needed the right relative, friend, friend’s cousin, or the cousin of that friend’s brother. Anyone who lived somewhere in The West.


That’s how me and my first pair of Nike sneakers met, in the winter of ‘88. The route was simple. We had an elderly lady neighbor, and she had a son who had emigrated to Germany several years previously. Done deal. She lived so close she could have thrown the shoes to me from the window she always sat in.

I don’t know how much air they pumped into the soles of those Nike sneakers, but I was floating. Summertime in winter. Back then, winter was winter, and there was snow everywhere. I will never forget that winter I spent wearing only those sneakers.


The holiday spirit and the air in the shoes carried me to “Cabana (Cottage) Susai”, near Predeal, 1400 meters up in the Romanian mountain air. I don’t know how we got there, as the route markings were all covered in snow.


But like the hair in Wella’s Gorilla ad (1997, Germany), my sneakers could handle the rough stuff. I guess mother nature played the role of the gorilla.


Since I began my floating career on Nike Air back in 1988, I’ve stayed true to that first taste of The West… Nowadays, I’m more settled :) and wear a Nike Blazer, but the air of adventure remains the same as when I was 17.

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