As a belated birthday celebration for Charles Barley lets remember one of his early classics, the Alpha Force II.

76’er edition. OG release in 1988. 2009 and 2015 retros produced with stunning accuracy to the original.

Low (to the ground), strong, bold, durable, just like Barkley. The league listed him at a generous 6’6 and players still couldn’t deal with his tenacious effort. In 1988 Chuck put up a stat line of: 28.3ppg; 11.9rpg; 3.2apg; 1.3spg; 1.3bpg

Bark v. Bird. via

Don’t let Draymond Green fool you, there’s no comparison between Dray and a focused Chuck. Barkley’s popularity as an analyst and celebrity have warped our memories of his playing days. Chuck could generate a ton of force for being a little guy; he would either back you down, face up and attack you off the dribble, or score off of offensive rebounds. Young bull to the fullest… when he tried, Chuck was notorious for being disengaged throughout his career. BUT that doesn’t change the fact that Barkley is a top 10 all-time forward. Too many NBA fans base careers

lateral view of Alpha Force II
medial side, Alpha Force II.

Tech breakdown via 1988 Nike catalog:
– Upper: full-grain leather.
– Sole unit: polyurethane contoured footbed with encapsulated AIR-SOLE unit in heel. solid rubber outsole with stitched forefoot.
– Design: forefoot stability strap and ski-lock heel; number 34 branding on heel.

The split view above shows a double padded tongue; now-a-days it’s rare for a shoe to have an independent tongue at all. You can see the divots where the Air unit fits in, and the heel padding/ sockliner thickness too. There’s something beautiful about the frayed leather, the bulk brings us all back to a time before synthetic, light-weight, upper constructions. These had character… a certain presence. Nike Basketball designs from the 1980’s as a whole remain in popular because of the simple construction, timeless look and overall ‘badass-ery’ of the athletes in the shoes.

The deconstructed Alpha Force II was provided by Portland’s Deadstock Coffee. They’re a group of dedicated people truly doing it for the culture of streetwear, coffee, music, art and community. Their shop is full of vintage sports and shoe memorabilia, give them a follow HERE.