Goodbirger: Archivist, historian, digital thrifter, creator… many terms can describe him but I arrived at, “The Detective”.
Combing through our DM’s on IG, I first got to know Goodbirger on 5 May 2021 when I posted the Kentucky Wildcats Player Edition custom. I woke up and saw a photo in my DM that made me jump out of bed: It was an old picture of the Kentucky coach back in 1985, at a press conference holding those shoes.
Today we are gonna find out more about him.
So hey Goodbirger, (or can I say, ‘Detective?’) can you tell us where you’re from and what you do?
Sure! My name is Caleb and I live in Southern Illinois. I work for Nice Kicks, running @nicekicksvault on Instagram. I’m also a stay at home dad, teaching my daughters homeschool during the day!
I’m gonna say that you have a special set of skills which you do this better than most: vintage sneaker forensics. Would you describe your process and how are you able to dig so deep into something most people can’t?
While I can’t dive exactly into the specifics, or give my searching secrets away, I can say that what I do can be done by anyone. But as with any profession, it’s something I’ve improved on over time and I’m still discovering new techniques, as well as sources for information. My wife was a librarian for quite some time and introduced me to the microfiche at her work. I really started diving into it one day, and I’ve never really stopped. It’s an endless source of information that’s been missed by many in the past!
Do you have a vintage collection and if so, what kind of curation? Pics?
I have amassed a small arsenal of shoes. But in July of 2013, our house was broken into and 75% of my collection was stolen. The took pretty much anything that could be worn, left some of my oldies which I’m somewhat thankful for. My current focus has been on the Nike Air Strong and Air 2 Strong TB sets. I’m a Nike Team shoe junkie! It’s not very exciting, but much more affordable than chasing down Jordans from ‘85! (I have a couple of those too.)
OK big question here, do you think the AJ1 silhouette was made for Jordan or was it a pre-existing shoe that they branded for MJ after signing him?
I think the idea of the shoe was solely made for him. They wanted him to represent a specific model and that’s the one given to him. But as we know, the AJI is mashup of multiple shoes of that era into one. Nike very well could have been designing the shoe prior to signing him, because many sneakers are planned 12-18 months in advance.
We made a pair of the WILDCATS dunks for Virgil. We saw you post that you guys chatted a bit and he was a man for the people. What did you guys chat about?
Often it is was just sharing one of my posts, and talking about the subjects in it. He loved the obscure, and that always seemed to grab his attention. He told me the information that I find for IG is an important aspect of sneakers and regularly encouraged me to always keep sourcing. I am in no way claiming to know him well at all, but I’m thankful that he wanted to follow me and the work that I do. I was obviously a huge fan of his, and the work he did. So for him to know who I was, and to be a fan of the ‘work’ I do as well…is something I’ll hold close as long as I’m here. He didn’t have to take time out of his day to respond to my stories, but he did. He inspired so many people and always had time for everyone, even us little guys.