Maybe it’s playing for Utah. Maybe it’s the fact that he’s relatively distant as a public figure compared to other players. Maybe because he never signed a sneaker deal with Nike. The Mailman has always been a polarizing player when it comes to fans. Regardless, owning a pair of the Karl Malone APEX Mailman shoes, the kicks he wore for the epic battles with Dennis Rodman and the last dance Chicago Bulls, would be bucket list material for any sneaker collector.
Speaking of collecting, my friend B-Rich from Sole Collector once write about the APEX deal with Utah Jazz power forward Karl Malone and revealed that the brand, which had gone out of business sometime in the early ’90s, was revived by KRP Sports in 1996. Part of their big plans to bring APEX back to relevancy was signing Karl Malone to a 5-year endorsement deal. Part of Malone’s deal included being appointed to the Board of Directors for Ryka, a publicly held company that would go on to merge with KPR and become Global Sports Inc. And of course, that Karl Malone would wear APEX shoes during the 96-97 season and get his own Mailman signature shoe the following season.
Between his WCW appearance and winning gold at the 1996 Olympics, you might think Karl Malone and APEX were onto something special. Clearly the publicity was there. He led the Jazz to back-to-back NBA Finals appearances in 1997 and 1998, so the shoes definitely had their share of airtime. That said, the Karl Malone APEX Mailman shoes never lived up to their potential. Throughout the years, a handful of these have shown up on eBay, or on auction house sites selling game-worn and signed memorabilia, but typically they sell for well beyond what sneaker collectors would be willing to pay.
The deadstock APEX Mailman pair seen here, however, can be had for $300 on eBay right now.
Nick Engvall is a sneaker enthusiast with over 15 years of experience in the footwear business. He has written for publications such as Complex, Sole Collector, and Sneaker News, helped companies like Eastbay, Finish Line, Foot Locker, StockX, and Stadium Goods better connect with their consumers, has an addiction to burritos and Sour Patch Kids, and owns way too many shoes for his own good.