Sneaker Theater: Juice

Starring Omar Epps, Samuel L. Jackson, and Tupac Shakur, Juice is a classic ‘90s flick that follows the tale of four teenagers whose stickup kid dreams go awry and all hell breaks loose. Backed by a booming soundtrack that features the likes of Eric B. and Rakim, Naughty By Nature, Cypress Hill, and Big Daddy Kane and shot in a gritty section of Harlem, New York City, Juice is one of the quintessential hip-hop-inspired flicks of all-time.

As Quentin (played by Omar Epps) chases his DJ career, Bishop (played masterfully by Shakur) becomes more and more menacing and threatens the livelihood and future of Q. As the film unfolds, ‘Pac shows his skill as an actor and gives a memorable performance that is capped by one of the best-delivered lines in film history. (“I am crazy, but you know what else…I don’t give a f*ck.”)

Being that Juice takes place in early ‘90s Harlem, the on-screen styles of the characters mirrored the streetwear culture seen in hip-hop at the time. Dressed in baggy clothing, hoodies, crew sweatshirts, overalls, bucket hats, and snapback hats cocked in every direction, Bishop, Q, Raheem, and Steel (a.k.a the Wrecking Crew) doubled as fashion icons for viewers. Featuring plenty of Nikes and Reeboks, the young core of the film obviously had their finger on the pulse of what was hot in the streets and brought it to the big screen.

Juice will always be remembered for Tupac’s portrayal of a frustrated inner city teen, and rightfully so because the rapper stole the scene nearly every time he was on screen. But ‘Pac and the Wrecking Crew were tastemakers long before the term was profitable and the film’s impact on hip-hop culture by putting artists like Queen Latifah, EPMD, and Fab 5 Freddy on the silver screen is undeniable.

While Juice doesn’t have the heavy sneaker rotation of White Men Can’t Jump, He Got Game or Above the Rim, it does feature one of the more iconic sneaker scenes in history and has a different look than the basketball-centric films previously mentioned. Check out a few of the kicks featured in the film in this edition of Sneaker Theater.

illustration by Marcus Allen/@marcusallen

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Q Changes Shoes In Opening Sequence (Pump Twilight Zone, Omni Zone Pump, The SXT and Nike Baltoro Boot)
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Selected as one of the “50 Greatest Sneaker Moments in Movies” by Complex, Q’s medley of kicks seen in the opening montage of Juice gives a glimpse at how important it is for a guy to pick the right joints before stepping outside for the day. After cycling through three different pairs of Reeboks, Q, with the help of his little brother, finally settles on the Nike Baltoro Boot before skipping school and running the streets with his boys.
BUY NOW: $91.99
Reebok Pump Twilight Zone

Timberland 40 Below — Bishop
A certified classic boot, the Timberland 40 Belows were a staple amongst the hip-hop community back in the ‘90s. Popular with NYC hip-hop groups like the Boot Camp Clik and the Wu-Tang Clan, the 40 Belows are one of the most identifiable Timbs ever put on the market. ‘Pac wore them expertly in Juice and looks every bit the part of an Uptown NYC teenager. In 2014, Timberland hooked up with the A$AP Mob for a 40 below collab to ring in the 40th anniversary as the relationship between hip-hop and the famous boot company continues.
Timberland 40 Below

Nike Cortez — Q
Whether it’s Forrest Gump running across country or Q running through the streets of Harlem, the Nike Cortez is equipped to handle it all. To match his outfit, he rocks a very fresh suede green pair of the Cortez when he meets up with Steel and Bishop. The “Gorge Green” Nike Cortez resurfaced this year and hit retail back in the spring.
BUY NOW: $69.99
Nike Cortez black

Nike Air Force One — Q
Easily one of Nike’s most popular sneakers of all time, the Air Force One has been making appearances in movies, music videos, and on basketball courts for over two decades. Q is rocking a pair of AF1s when the movie takes a turn for the worst and the crew holds up a liquor store. From there, things take a turn for the worse as Bishop completely loses his mind. It’s comforting to know that the Air Force One is a choice of sneakerheads to this day and likely will be until the end of time.
BUY NOW: $89.99
Nike Air Force One High

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