Monday, 13 August 2012

Boris the Lion

Meet Boris the Lion!! Boris was part of the Pride In Our City Lions Of Bath 2010, designed by artist Kevin Whitney who was the first ever Official Olympic Artist in 1982 and signed by Boris Johnson, Amy Williams and Jason Gardiner.  Boris was designed to celebrate the Olympic Games coming to London and currently takes pride of place in our Bath store on Walcot Street.

The Lions of Bath 2010 pride of lions raised over £65,000 for local charities when they were sold at auction.  The 104 Lions were placed across Baths city center between May and September and using the Lions of Bath Safari maps you could explore the city whilst tracking down the pride.     

Part of the Pride on show before being auctioned

The Lions were designed by the sculpter of the 2008 King Bladud pigs of Bath (the same thing but with pigs instead of Lions, the pigs raised £200,000 for Baths Two Tunnels Project), Alan Dun.  He was given the brief to design a lion that was niether to civic nor to Lion King :)

Making the Lions is actually quite a long process, to begin with Alan made a small scale clay model to be approved, once that was done he had to build a steel frame, then cover it with mesh and clay to build up to a full scale version of the first model.
Alan modelling the clay lion

Next a plaster mould is made of the clay lion, from which he made a fiberglass lion known as the 'pattern'.  The pattern was then taken to a fiberglass factory near Salisbury who made a heavy duty mould from the 'pattern' lion then the Lion Pride was born.  It took a full day to create each Lion from the mould and then another day to finish, sand and polish it, that's a total of 208 days to fully create the pride and that's before they were decorated by the artists.

So why did they choose lions? The Lion has been a symbol used in Royal England for hundreds of years and there are over 500 images of lions around Bath, 2 bronze sculptures guard the entrance to the Royal Victoria Park and the Coeur de Lion (the smallest pub in Bath) has Richard the Lionheart riding into battle with 3 lions on his shield (not quite the same ring as three lion on a shirt) on it's sign.  So I suppose why not lions.

We are very glad they chose Lions, Boris has found a very loving home at Mastershoe Bath and spends his days being admired by young and old alike.  Why not pop in and see him and perhaps peruse the shelves whilst you are there, the Bath branch stocks a variety of shoes from Camper and Dr Martens to Hunter and FitFlop, and loads in between.

Monday, 30 July 2012

UK Summer 2012

Well this year we had the perfect set up for a wet summer the Jubilee and Olympics, and boy did it deliver. June was the wettest and coolest on record and up until last week July was following suit well.  So with this summers weather which almost changes on an hourly basis some days what shoes do you wear!?!

This morning for instance when I woke up it was a lovely morning so I put my Fitflops on and toddled off to work, a decision I am now regretting, the sky is now grey and gloomy and the temperature has dropped, my toes are freezing :(  So how do we get round this changeable weather?

Option 1 - Not the easiest option it depends on what you are doing.  2 pairs of shoes, 1 pair of sandals and another pair of warmer shoes - trainers/boots etc.. You keep 1 pair at work and the opposite type go on your feet.  For instance on a day like today I would have worn my FitFlops this morning while the weather was nice and then had a warmer pair of shoes change into when it cooled down.  Of course this only works if the right shoes are in the right place at the right time, if it's been warm in the afternoon and you've worn your sandals home and then the next morning it's cold your warm shoes would still be at work.  So perhaps not the ideal solution unless you have loads of shoes.

Merrells Toe Post Lilac Sandal in Scarlet

Option 2 - Trainers.  Sort of an in between, unfortunately if it's really cold outside they don't keep your feet very warm, and if it's warm you tend to get really hot feet.  Brands like DC and Etnies offer good ventilation which helps for the warmer weather but not so great when its chilly.  However if it is raining you definitely get more protection than in a pair of sandals. 

DC Net in Black and Orange

Option 3 - A very popular option this summer is canvas.  Converse, Vans, Dudes and Etnies Jameson Eco's have all been fantastic.  With a canvas shoe your feet are still getting good breathability when the weathers warm and although they won't keep your feet warm when its cool people don't seem to care.  I suppose even though they are canvas they still keep you warmer than a pair of sandals.  However they are not great for rain, after all it's a textile your feet get soaked in no time.

A durable canvas Star Player trainer from Converse

Option 4 - Walking shoes, whilst in summer there are always a fair amount of walking shoes sold this year it has been higher, I think because they are breathable and still warm most importantly they are waterproof.  Merrell have been our most popular with Timberland and The North Face following close behind, all of these brands have fantastic reputations for quality and wear and whilst they are more expensive than your average sandal these shoes can be worn all year round.

A Gore-Tex Intercept from Merrell

Option 5 - An option that many women have taken this year, just carry on wearing your winter boots.  This year I have noticed that so many people just haven't moved from their winter boots into the more summery shoes.  I for one swap between my lovely warm sheepskin Emus and my Fitflops depending on the weather and I think alot of other people are doing the same.  Obviously last week when it was absolutely lovely and what Summer should be like the sandals were all out but already today I have seen loads of winter boots from the Emu/Ugg styles to full waterproof, insulated Merrells and Timberlands.

Merrell Winter/Summer 2012 Boots

Of course there are many more options for footwear, wellies, deck shoes, Crocs and many more.  I guess the best we can do is take each day as it comes this year and do the best we can footwear wise :)

Monday, 23 July 2012

The School Bag

A necessary for any school age child.  The perfect school bag has to be cool, fit in with the others and yet still stand out enough.  From the parents point of view it needs to last, fit everything in and manage to take the strain of all the books, PE kit and other items that they have to take with them on a daily basis, without putting to much strain on the kids.  Last years must have bags were the Paul Frank and Gola satchels in the retro style that all parents remember from when they were at school. 

Although that trend still continues the backpack is making a comeback, this year DC have delivered the Bourne backpack, simple in style with loads of space and padded back straps to protect young shoulders, the large stitched DC logo on the front that makes it stand out but not to much and of course it's DC, one of the coolest brands around so a safe bet at school.

Paul Frank continue to be popular with their cheeky monkey letting everyone know it's from Paul Frank in an instant.  A satchel style it does mean the weight from the bag isn't distributed on both shoulders like a backpack which is a slight disadvantage and they do have slightly less space than the standard backpack although you can still fit an A4 folder in them, and they are so lush.

The answer to a satchel not being able to evenly distribute the weight of the bag evenly.....the Paul Frank Backpack.  Still featuring the Paul Frank Monkey so it's easily recognised they come in fabulous patterns including grey and pink leopard print....totally awesome!!!

The Gola Tado Redford Seymour bag in Purple was last years must have back to school bag and still remains one of the most popular Gola bags.  Again a satchel style so you do end up with the weight of the bag on just one shoulder but they look so fab.  The big 'Seymour' eyes really stand out but at the same time aren't to overbearing.  Of course Gola don't just make the Seymour, the Redford comes in hundreds of colours and designs, everything from retro plain colours, to countries flags and even some to celebrate the Olympic Games.  This year Gola have also introduced the Supersize version which gives you even more space for all your school things.


I have only recently heard of Half Moon Bay and I wish I'd heard of them earlier, they are so unique.  With a huge range of designs these satchels really stand out, you just couldn't miss the Rolling Stones tongue walking down the street could you? The Half Moon Bay Bags are either made from a faux leather or durable canvas, unfortunately all my favourite designs come in the canvas version which perhaps isn't the most practical for school during the winter months but they look so cool, the ultimate in retro.

 Iron Fist are generally known for they're unique quirkiness on clothing and shoes however they do also make a wide variety of bags and handbags.  The Iron Fist Backpacks are huge and will fit so much stuff in them, they have a massive main compartment, large front compartment and then 2 side pockets as well, made from a textile they are durable although not waterproof.  The printed outers do give them an amount of water resistance though and certainly stand out in a good way.

These are just a few of my favourite back to school choices for bags but there are so many out there to choose from how do you know your going to get the right one.  When I was at school my dad went on a business trip to Australia and brought me and my brothers back some leather old style satchels with the big fold over top and buckles to hold them down, bless him he thought they were the best thing since sliced bread and to be fair they did last for years or rather, unfortunately they lasted for years no matter how much we tried, in fact I think I may still have mine somewhere :(  I hated that bag and I think when it comes to buying the all important back to school bag the best thing you can do is let the child choose for themselves (within reason of course).

Monday, 16 July 2012

Top Holiday Shoes

With this lovely summer we're having this year loads of people seem to be making a run for the sun and booking last minute holidays, so we thought we'd do a run down of our Top favourite holiday shoes.

1. Crocs

Scooby Doo II Crocs

A total marmite shoe - you either love them or hate them.  You can't deny though how light they are so take up next to no weight in your luggage and they are perfect for the beach and poolside.  Yes the classic caymans are perhaps not the most fashionable style but Crocs now have a HUGE range, everything from flipflops to shoes and boots.  There must be something for everyone, even if it is only to wear whilst your on holiday.  And Crocs are a huge hit with the kids as well, with the clog design they can get them on and off themselves (so you don't have to do it for them everytime), they float so if they do come off whilst they're in the water they're dead easy to grab hold of, they're machine washable, wipe-able etc and they come in soooo many cool designs my fave for this years kids has got to be Scooby Doo, for the girls there's Hello Kitty and for what us adults would call a retro look but is totally fashionable for the kids at the moment is the Lego design.

2. Hey Dude

Dude Wally

Hey Dude flew into and straight back out of our store for the first time last summer and even with this appalling weather this year they don't stay around for long.  They are fab!!! Super light, super comfy canvas shoes that are machine washable and come in both slip on and lace up styles, they feel like slippers when on and squish really well so will take up next to no room in your suitcase.  Dude's only down side is some of their style names can be a bit dubious although often provoke conversation and a few laughs.  The classic slip on style is known as Farty whilst the Deck style released this year is named Wally, the womens styles do have the much better names of Moka (for the deck style) and Lady (for the slip on style).  Never the less fantastic casual holiday shoes!

3. FitFlop

FitFlop Lolla

Yes it's FitFlop again, I think they have now featured in at least the last 3 posts, are you getting the impression I like them alot :)  OK so at the risk of repeating myself they are seriously comfy, come in soooo many stunning designs as well as your basics to go with everything in your wardrobe.  The wobbleboard sole does make them slightly heavier than some sandals but what you gain in weight you also gain in all day comfort and with some designs like the Rokkit all night wear as well.  There aren't many shoes you can put on in the morning and not take off until the wee hours of the next morning and still be comfortable.

4. Earth Spirit

Earth Spirit Dallas

This styling has been copied far and wide this year, I believe because they are so comfortable, and so popular everyone wants a piece of the pie.  Only introduced into the UK 4 years ago we are now the second largest market for Earth Spirit with only the US in front of us.  Earth Sprirt specialise in comfort and use a Gelron 2000 insole on every shoe for serious underfoot comfort and shock absorption.  All the uppers are made from soft calf or suede leather and look and feel fantastic.  They come in all sorts of designs, everything from your basic plain toe posts and multi way straps to the more 'pretty' floral and beaded designs.  Heavier than the Crocs and Hey Dude (although I don't think there is many shoes that would come in under the weight of those brands) they will take up more room in your bag but they really are worth it!!!

5. Converse

Batman Converse

Converse are still as popular as they have ever been, if anything they are more popular than ever.  With the classic styles of the Allstar Hi Basketball boot and Allstar Oxford the range has really expanded from the core colours of Navy, Red and Black with a collaboration with DC Comics bringing Superman, Batman and the Joker onto the boots and some fab new girly colours as well.  Converse are one of the slightly heavier shoes so will weigh your luggage down more than the superlight Dudes and Crocs but they are also so versatile.  Worn in any weather, yes I know they are canvas but none the less people do wear them in all weathers, they are the perfect shoe for any holiday.

6. Hunter
Hunter Wellys
 Finally with the lovely weather I think Hunter welly boots have to be on this list.  If you are holidaying in this country this year these are going to be a must.  The classic welly boot Hunters now come in a huge variety of styles and colours, there is something for everybody.

Monday, 9 July 2012

MBT are in administration!!!!

MBT announced administration on 17th May this year after their parent company Masai Marketing & Trading AG filed for bankruptcy at the beginning of the month.  After appointing administrators Chris Laughton and Peter Godfrey-Evans of Mercer & Hole they announced that their administration coincided with a 4 week summer sale which should hopefully boost their sales (sorry guys I'm a bit behind and the sale has now ended), so far their website still states they are in administration and there has been no mention of a buyer for the company, 2 stores have been closed, 1 in Guilford and 1 in Tunbridge Wells however they say at the moment no more are planned for closing.  So what if MBT can't find a buyer!?! where do you go then for your fitness shoes, well with a small amount of research I have come up with some other fabulous alternatives.

1. Aetrex
Aetrex Bodyworks Mary Jane in Black

Fairly new to the UK market Aetrex were founded in 1946 with a mission to create the healthiest shoes on the market, they were originally known for the development of arch supports and medically orientated footcare.  They currently employ over 200 people at their Head Office in New Jersey, including fitness experts, designers, podiatrists and Certified Pedorthists to ensure Aetrex remain at the top of the medical based fitness market.  As well as making reasonably priced over the counter orthotics Aetrex make the 'Bodyworks' Range, Aetrex Bodyworks have been designed to help tone the lower body and promote proper body alignment and healthy midfoot walking.  Bodyworks have a double rocker sole which gives pressure distribution and stimulates the lower body whilst the perfectly positioned fulcrum point (in the middle of the sole) makes your foot have a natural roll whilst walking.  On top of all this they also have a moisture wicking lining and the icing on the cake a 'Mozaic Performance Insole'.  Aetrex specialise in the Mosaic insole, all you need to do is visit your local stockists who scan your feet on the Aetrex machine.  Once you have been scanned the machine works out where YOUR pressure points are on YOUR feet and tells the sales assistant which pieces of the Mosaic need to be removed.  The Mosaic means that these shoes are completely customised to you and your feet.  Fantastic!!!  So what's the difference between these and MBT who claim that other companies designs are cheaper, lesser quality and fake?? Well.....MBT were founded in 1996, Aetrex were founded in 1946, I'd say Aetrex have the edge of 50 years on the research and professionals in their arsenal.  Also as a previous wearer of MBT's myself and a relativity new wearer of Aetrex (about 3 months..ish) I have to say Aetrex are lighter, more stable (I did find that MBT can be too unstable sometimes) cheaper with no lack of quality and I still get the same benefits for my poor knee which the reason I first purchased MBT.

2. Skechers

Skechers Shape Up Sleek Fit Black

Skechers was founded in 1990 by a father and son duo in California.  Originally Skechers products were mainly utility style boots and skate shoes, however the range soon diversified into just about every type of shoe you could think of.  In more recent years they developed the Shape Up (which is pretty much their version of the MBT), Tone Ups (their version of FitFlops) and the Go ranges.  The Skechers Shape Up as previously mentioned is pretty much a copy of the MBT shoes and works with the same principles however I found their sole to be much squishier and unstable, almost to unstable for me and it squelches really loudly when they get wet wearing them in the rain, which is quite annoying.  So the original promises for a Shape Up were - they will improve posture, improve blood circulation, improve back strength, tighten abdominal muscles, tones and firms buttocks, tones and firms thigh areas, firms calf muscles, reduces knee joint stress.  I will agree that whilst wearing Shape Ups my legs certainly did tire quicker and there was a reduced impact on my knee joints however I personally have seen no toning benefits.  Unfortunately this year Skechers have agreed to settle a class action lawsuit in the US for $40 million due to an FTC complaint that they had mislead their customers with their Shape Ups ads :( Whilst I personally believe in Skechers as a brand and I love most of their shoes for me the Shape Ups just weren't up to the same standard as some of their competitors.

3. FitFlop
Rokkit Cosmic Purple....LUSHNESS!!

I LOVE FitFlop!!!! They are my favorite brand at the moment and I pretty much wear them solidly, literally I put them on when I get up and don't take them off till I'm going to bed.  As with other fitness brands FitFlop claim to activate bottom muscle activation by up to 30%, Increase hamstring muscle activation by up to 16%, reduce knee joint stress by up to 20%, reduce hip joint stress by up to 8% and reduce ankle joint force by up to 11%.  FitFlop have engineered their sole to have a Microwobbleboard, it is designed with 3 different densitys through the sole, the heel is high density to absorb shock in the lower legs and help relieve joint stress, the midsection is low density to create an instability to increase lower leg muscle activation and the toe is mid density to maintain speed and pace and increase stability.  OK so I have worn these ALOT pretty much daily for about 2 and half years, FitFlop flipflops in summer and boots in winter, I do wear my other trainer brands occasionally now but no where near as much as I used to, generally only when it's to hot for boots but to wet for flip flops.  Whilst they are the comfiest brand I own and one of the few that I can work in the shop, on my feet, for a full 9 hours and my feet and knee don't hurt by the end of it they do not really tone anything, I mean the amount of time I spend in these and other fitness brands I should have a models body by now surely :)  But I stand by my first comment, I LOVE FitFlop and they are seriously comfortable, I mean really, really comfortable and it does feel weird to wear anything else nowadays :)

So although MBT are in administration and as yet still have no buyer there are alternatives out there, each brand will always think they are the only ones that provide the best option but I think in the wider scheme of things they are all giving the same sort of option it just comes down to who the customer prefer.  Either shopping for our favourite brand or just by style and comfort, so as a famous man (Bob Marley) said 'don't worry, be happy' :)

Monday, 2 July 2012


Well with all the events going on this summer are we all really surprised that the weather so far has been pants!?!  From the beginning of the year people were saying we had the perfect storm for a wash out summer (Jubilee, Wimbledon, Olympics and the a hosepipe ban) and apart from a few odd weeks they seem to have been right.  However in typical British tradition we don't let a bit (in some cases alot) of rain ruin it and we carry on regardless :)

So with the Jubilee all over and done with, and both Wimbledon and the Olympics just around the corner I thought it was about time for a bit of a history lesson, and today's lesson is..................Wimbledon.

So first off the basics, the first Wimbledon was held in 1877 by 'The All England Club' which was only itself founded in 1968.  A private club, it was originally known as 'The All England Croquet Club' and it wasn't until spring 1877 that they renamed it 'The All England Croquet and Lawn Tennis Club'.  Within 5 years the clubs activity was almost exclusively lawn tennis and in 1882 'croquet' was dropped from the clubs title, not for long though, in 1899 they restored the word croquet to the clubs title once more for sentimental reasons.

'The All England Club' added lawn tennis to their activities in 1876, a game that was originally thought up by Major Walter Clopton Wingfield (what a mouthful) about a year before and was originally called 'Sphairistrike'  which I must say I am very glad they changed the name, imagine trying to say that every time you were talking about tennis.  1876 saw the name change to the much more sensible lawn tennis and the introduction of a new standardised code of laws which replaced the old laws previously administrated by the Marylebone Cricket Club.  The first tournament was held on 4 acres of land that the 'All England Club' rented between Worple Road and the railway tracks of the London and South Western Railway, the recorded attendance for the first ever 'Wimbledon Final' was a measly 200 with seats for only 30 people on a temporary 3 plank stand.  There was only 22 entrants to the competition all men as women were not allowed to enter until 1884.

Wimbledon is known for it's very strict dress code for players, who are only allowed to wear the traditional white whilst on the court, on more than one occasion over the many years a player has not been allowed on court until they have changed into 'suitable attire'.  The all white rule and controversial marketing strategy that courtside sponsorship is not permitted means that all the sponsors of the big tennis names must keep all they're branding to an unobtrusive and rather measly 3 inches square or less.  For some brands like Adidas and Nike shrinking their logo whilst still standing out isn't to bad, other not so well known brands struggle to be recognised.  Even off of the court branding and sponsorship is limited to a certain few.  Wimbledon is extremely sponsor aware and ensures that only the few brands that have been chosen to sponsor the event are shown, this means if you show up to Wimbledon with food or drink it will be taken off of you, if you are wearing large branding on your clothing you will be asked to change.  The reasoning for this is that they believe it is not right for companies that have not paid for the privilege to advertise at Wimbledon to potentially get TV coverage to push their brand.  I can kind of see their point it's not very fair if you've paid huge sums of money to be one of the privileged few advertisers and then people in the stands are using everyone else brands.  As such the only brands you can buy inside Wimbledon is those that are official sponsors.   For 2012 Wimbledon are working with the integrated marketing agency 'Space' to create a Wimbledon Village on the golf course next to the infamous Wimbledon Queue, this will open up an amount of sponsorship to other brands.

Whilst I have tried my best to find some juicy scandal on Wimbledon to liven this article up a bit it's actually a very clean and gentlemanly sport, the best I have managed to track down is possible match fixings but they were never proven, a possible bout of food poisoning in the players lounge..again never proven and I got really excited by the headline 'Murder Off the Grass Court' but it actually turned out to be fairly mundane, a retired tennis player was arrested and charged with murder back in the early 1900's, he died in jail a year later.  So whilst the rain continues to pour (thank goodness they put the new roof on) I'm sure there will be many of us inside watching this years tournament possibly partaking of our own champers and strawberries (I cannot believe I forgot to write that earlier, it has to be one of the most well known Wimbledon traditions) hopefully at a cheaper price than at Wimbledon itself  :) 

Monday, 25 June 2012

The Olympic Games and Puma

Well everyone else is jumping on the band wagon so why not....for this years Olympic Games Puma have released the Basket Classic Games, a series of 4 limited edition colourways in remembrance of 4 previous Games.  The Games that Puma have chosen are;

LA 1984 (Blue Red & White)

The 1984 Games are most remembered for the boycott.  In retaliation to the US boycotting the 1980 Olympics in Moscow due to the Soviet invasion of Afghanistan, 17 countries including the Soviet Union, East Germany and Cuba from the 'Eastern Block' then boycotted the US Games.  I must say although i'm sure it sent a 'strong political message' it does sound a bit like the playground at school "you didn't come to mine so I'm not going to come to yours".  The 1984 Olympics also saw the introduction of sponsors for the 1st time, they had 43 companies who were licensed to sell 'official' products for the Games.  It was due to the introduction of sponsorship that the 1984 Games were the first ones since 1932 that turned a profit, $225 million to be exact, that is one hell of a turn around, however you have to ask why did they continue for 50 years and 11 summer games (there were no Olympics in 1940 or 1944 due to WWII) before thinking of doing this!!!!  The 1984 LA Olympics also saw the first American woman to win an individual Gold Medal in the women's gymnastics all-around event, she also won the more medals (five in total) than any other athlete in the 1984 Games.

LONDON 1948 (White & Blue)

The 1948 London Games were the first to be held after WWII as such most of Europe was still ravaged from the war.  Many people debated and protested as weather it was a good idea to have a 'festival' when most of  Europe was in ruins and many people were quite literally starving.  However after so much austerity it was decided that a celebration and a coming together of countries could only be a good thing after the recent happenings (Germany and Japan were not invited to participate, it was a bit to soon for that).  To 'help' England out (we were still in post war rationing at the time) it was agreed that all the athletes would bring their own food and any surplus food that was left over was all donated to British hospitals.  Unlike now when there a millions of pounds being spent on new facilities for the 2012 Games back in 1948 the funds and time was not available, there was no new stadium or Olympic Village, Wembley Stadium had survived throughout the bombing and made an adequate facility whilst all male athletes were housed in Uxbridge at an Army Camp and all female athletes at Southlands College in their dormitories.  There was one major debacle at the London 1948 Olympics, although the US 400m relay had won the race by over 15 feet an umpire ruled that the baton had been passed outside of the passing zone and so the US team were disqualified making the UK the Gold Medalists (yey!) however after the US officially appealed a careful review of photo's and films taken of the race it was decided that the pass had in fact been completely legal and the US were in fact the rightful Gold Medal winners.  The UK team had to give up their Gold Medals (boo! hoo!) and give them to the US, the Italian Team had to give up their Silver Medals to give to the UK whilst the Hungarian Team had to give up their Bronze medals to give to the Italians.  The poor Hungarian Team who thought they had won a medal ended up with nothing :(

MEXICO 1968 (Grey Violet & Amazon Green)

The Mexican Games in Mexico City 1968 were surrounded with controversy before they even began....10 days before the Games were due to open the Mexican Army surrounded a group of student protesters at the Plaza of Three Cultures and opened fire.  It was estimated that 267 people were killed that day along with over 1000 injured.  What a way to start an Olympic Games with the eyes of the world on you.  The controversy continued into the Games with Tommie Smith and John Carlos who were both from the US and won Gold and Bronze medals in the 200m race.  Tommie and John both stood on the platform and during the playing of their nation anthem each did the 'Black Power' salute (raising one hand covered by a black glove) to bring attention to the conditions of the blacks in the US, however the IOC ( International Olympic Committee) believed that this action went against the Olympics ideals that politics plays no part whatsoever in them (umm... I think they should read this blog as there seems to be an awful lot of politics involved in the Olympics!!) anyway... due to the IOC believing the action went against their ideals both Tommie and John were expelled from the games.  The Mexico City Olympics also saw the beginning of the 'Fosbury Flop' whilst high jumping.  Previously most competitors had generally all done what is now called the 'Scissor Kick' when you effectively just jump over the pole with your legs.  Dick Fosbury caused a sensation by jumping over the bar backwards and head first, after winning the Gold Medal the 'Fosbury Flop' was born. 

The 1972 Munich Games began with tragedy, the day before the Games were to start 11 members of the Israeli Olympic Team were taken hostage from inside the Olympic Village by Palestinian terrorists.  The Palestinians demanded the release of 234 of their countrymen who were being held in Isreal.  A rescue attempt was made however it failed spectacularly all of the 11 hostages were killed along with 5 of the terrorists.  After such a tragic event the IOC made the difficult and controversial decision to continue with the Games. They postponed the opening by a day and instead held a memorial service for the victims, all the Olympic flags were flown at half mast in rememberence.  As with all the other Games there was more controversy to come during a basketball match between the Soviet and US (I bet that was a right grudge match).  With 1 second left on the clock and the score at 50-49 to the US, the Soviet coach called a time-out, the clock was reset back 3 seconds and play began again, the Soviets didn't score and for some unknown reason the clock was again reset back 3 seconds.  Play resumed again and this time they did score!! The game ended 50-51 to the Soviets.  The Timekeeper and a referee both said that the second reset, and extra 3 seconds were illegal however the Soviets were allowed to keep the Gold Medals.

Some other interesting Olympic Facts that you might like to know (or not...I'm going to write them anyway)

  • The Olympic Flag was designed with the 5 rings to represent the 5 continents, their interconnection is to represent friendships gained from the Games.  The 5 colours were chosen as at least one of each of the colours appear on the flag of every country worldwide.  You've got to admit it's a nice sentiment.

  • Gold Medals - The last time a REAL Gold Medal was awarded was in 1912, now considering they made a profit of $225 million back in 1984 and I'm sure continue to do so you would thing they could afford the real thing!  The Medals are designed by the host city's committee at each individual games although each Medal must be at least 3mm thick and 60mm diameter, the Gold & Silver Medals must be made out of 92.5% silver, with the Gold Medals covered in 6g of Gold.  At least they get some real Gold on it.

  • At the start of the Modern Olympic Games the Marathon was always an approximate length, it wasn't until 1908 when the Royal family requested that the race be started at Windsor Castle (so the kids could watch it) that there became a standard length.  The distance from Windsor Castle to the Olympic Stadium was 26 miles and 385 yards, in 1924 it was finally agreed that this would be the official Marathon length.

  • The Winter Olympics didn't begin until 1924 and originally used to be held the same year as the Summer Olympics although in a different city.  In 1994 it was decided that the Winter Olympics would be moved to the halfway point between the Summer Games so now each type of Olympic Games is 2 years apart.

  • The word Gymnasium comes from the Greek gymnos which means nude.  The literal meaning of gymnasium is 'School for naked exercise'.  It still amazes me the literal meanings of some of these words.  That would never be allowed nowadays!! LOL

OK I'll stop boring you all now, I'll be honest I have learnt so much about the Olympics that I never knew just from writing this, some of it very interesting.  One thing I have pondered though is why all the hoo ha over what is essentially a giant school sports day, it even has the school yard bullying and cheating.  Don't get me wrong I love to watch the Games and am looking forward to this years in London but couldn't it all be a bit well.....nicer and sportsmanlike?  I guess that probably is a bit to much to ask :(

Tuesday, 19 June 2012

Top Ten Shoe Brand Logos

With the thousands of shoe Brand Logo's that are out there, which logos are the most well known and really catch your attention!?!  Some fade away to nothing whilst others really stand the test of time and are almost ingrained on our brains, this is my list of what we think the top ten brand logos are and why.

NIKE, the Nike swoosh has to be one of the most recognised logos world wide, created by a frustrated graphic design student in 1971 who was originally charging only $2 an hour for her design work on the branding.  By 1983 the brand and the 'swoosh' were so big that Phil Knight (one of the Blue Ribbon Sports Executives) presented her with a golden 'swoosh' ring with an embedded diamond, now that's what you call expressing gratitude!!!  The Swoosh's clean lines and eye catching style mean that as a logo it stands the test of time and even after 40 years is still just as relevant.  Nike's namesake the Greek Goddess of Victory combined with the 'swoosh' gives it's message of movement and forcefulness, with Nike's motto 'Just Do It'    finishing the branding perfectly.


Now Crocs are actually quite greedy and have 2 logo's, my favourite is the classic Croc himself Duke! he appears on most Crocs at some point usually on the rivets holding the strap in place.  Although Duke was on all the Crocs from the beginning he wasn't the official face of Crocs until April 2005 when he was officially named.  In recent years the Croslite man has appeared more regularly although more on advertising than on the actual shoes, in our store we have a giant Croslite man currently sat in the window waving to passers by, unfortunately there are currently no jibbitz big enough to decorate him!! :(


 Rocket Dogs, Rocket Dog, does what it says on the tin, a dog going at rocket speed.  Now as a dog owner and lover this has and probably always will be one of my favourite logos and if I had my way would have been number 1 but it's a team effort :(
Another recent company Rocket Dog was only founded in 1997 and originally specialised in womens beach and casual wear, nowadays they do a HUGE range from winter boots to school shoes & flip flops and this year they have introduced some lush bags!!  Rocket Dog took it's name from one of the founders actual dogs who loved to run on the beaches in Southern California, what better way to name your company and design your logo!!!


The Converse Allstar Logo!!!! Must be one of the MOST iconic logos across the world.  Converse are one of the few brands that are worn by all age groups and look great with pretty much all attire.  A legend of a company they began in 1908 although the famous Allstar boot wasn't introduced until 1917.  It wasn't until 1921 when Chuck Taylor ( a basketball player) complained to Converse of having sore feet, he was given a pair of Converse and became both a salesman and ambassador for Converse, in 1923 his signature was added to the Allstar logo.  A logo that has been around for nearly 100 years and can be spotted a mile off, a true legend of a logo!!!


Yep it's another animal, actually another croc (there seems to be a trend here).  Lacoste logo came about through it's founder the tennis player Rene Lacoste who was nicknamed 'The Crocodile'.  Originally founded in 1933, Lacoste and they're crocodile have really stood the test of time, they soon branched out into all sorts from perfume, shoes & clothes to their own sheets and towels.


Timberland is another classic brand that has been around for years, although the brand name Timberland and its iconic tree didn't make an appearance until 1973 the brands roots really began in 1918 when Nathan Swartz started his training as an apprentice footwear stitcher in Boston.  By 1955 he had bought out the Abington Shoe Company and from there Timberland was born.  Timberland have the philosophy of 'Doing Well, and Doing Good' by making world class products and making a difference in the world community,  Timberland firmly believe in 'putting back' what they take out and their employees regularly volunteer in communities to 'help make a difference' to the world we live in.


A simple logo Gola use clean lines and what is now a 'retro' looking logo to emphasise their brand.  A UK company Gola were founded in Leicester in 1905 making sports wear, in 1972 the Gola bag was born and caused an international craze!!  Gola seemed to disappear briefly towards the end of the last century however in the early 00's they relaunched the Gola brand as a 'retro' style bringing back some of the best sellers like the Harrier and of course the bags.  Gola has an enormous bag range and I have heard many a parent buying them for their kids (who all want them at the moment) in the shop stating 'I used to have 1 of those' strengthening their branding through their original customers all those years ago.


Yep it's another animal! Yet another reptile, alot of brands seem to love they're animals for logos. El Natura Lista was only founded in 2001 and chose the frog as its logo as it is the symbol of 'a land made fertile by water' and 'the permanent fight against stagnation'.  They chose this as they believe it represents El Natura Lista values to align with the natural world.  They use as much as possible biodegradable and recyclable/recycled materials and use all natural dyes and materials avoiding toxic substances.


Ok so it is probably one of the most recognised logo's and certainly the most recognised welly logo, so why is it all the way down at number 9!?! Well although it is a very, very, very well known logo it is also boring.  Yes it gets the name and branding across easily and quickly but there is nothing that particularly stands out about it.  Essentially it is the word Hunter in a red box...boring, and no meaning behind it like with Nike.


Iron Fist, although not a boring logo it is still down a No.10, Iron Fist have so many variations on their logo it's difficult to pick just 1 out although this seems to be one of the most used.  Iron Fist are another recent company with their beginnings in 2001 with mens clothing, using funky, inspirational artwork they started to play with adding it to womens items and before long the womens line overtook the mens line as a best seller.  They're shoes use the unique artwork and stand out a mile, abbreviated to IF - they are made with love for a heartless world.

So thats it, our top 10 brand logo's for this year at least.  It all changes so fast!! :)  

Thursday, 17 May 2012

Hadrians Wall Expedition

Just got back from walking Hadrian's Wall with my cousin. 84 miles in 6 days - What an adventure! Truly awesome.

I used my trusty 'Brasher - Supalites', unlike my cousin who had a cheap pair. Check out his giant blisters - That'll teach him!

We walked from Bowness to Walls End (most people do it the other way) and for the last 15 miles its all along the River Tyne, mostly on roads (cyclepathes, disused railway paths).

I used my anchient Croc Shoes for this bit with no tread or straps left, but they were fantastic!

I met lots of great people on this walk and could almost feel a roman presence in the old forts and wall remnants which remain after almost 2000 years.

If you like people, history and the great outdoors, get yourself some good walking boots and do it. You'll not regret it.
Jon Giles
managing director