PF Flyers Made in the USA Center Hi – $95.20 w/ BEFIRST ($150)
Note: More sizes/colors are available direct through PF Flyers, but they’re pretty pricey over there.
Before the summer cinema season was nothing but CGI monsters, or CGI robots, or CGI monster robots blowing up every damn thing in sight… Hollywood used to tell stories.
So yes, if you’re of a certain age, you might be initially attracted to these sneakers on sheer nostalgia. And no, they’re not the all black versions that Benny the Jet wore, but they are made in the USA. Yes really. And they are also a massive improvement over the regular Center-Hi, as well as other classic court style sneakers from other brands.
Made in Massachusettes.
The description goes like this: “The Made in USA Center Hi merges retro athletic style with the lush comfort of a contemporary running shoe through.” Yeah. Sure. As comfortable as a running shoe? Anyone who’s ever put on classic canvas sneakers has wondered “how the hell did they used to play in these things?” Shock absorption is usually average at best. But these absolutely live up to the description.
They’re downright squishy. Cloud like. Whatever they did with the insoles/footbed/etc? It’s an immediately noticeable difference to cheaper options. No, I wouldn’t suggest running a 10K in them, but the difference is immediate and tangible. Sizing seems true too, with a 10.5 fitting my normally 10.5 D feet out of the box quite perfectly.
Pigskin lined interiors. And check out that red white and blue ribbon detail.
The extra attention to construction and use of quality materials is also hard not to notice. Instead of the usual raw canvas interiors, they’re lined in soft pig skin. The toe cap is leather instead of rubber. The eye rows are also reinforced with strips of tonal leather. And the quiet use of a red, white, and blue ribbon inside the shoe is a brilliantly subtle, patriotic detail.
No guarantees that these will help you steal home. Or, outrun an English Mastiff.
List price is a steep $150, but if you can find them on sale, and then stack another code on top (as is done with the extra 20% off sale items code BEFIRST via Guideboat), then many will understandably consider making the step up.