Memories of a Bedford man who was a world expert on trainers are to be immortalised by Nike.
Former Biddenham Upper School student Gary Warnett died unexpectedly last year at the age of 39.
Known as the greatest of all time sneaker writers, he wrote ad campaigns for Adidas, Converse, New Balance, Nike, Puma and Reebok, as well as documenting music and sneaker culture worldwide.
Now, on what would have been Gary’s 40th birthday, Nike have produced a special shoe in his honour – with the initials GW on the heel.
They will release just 40 pairs of the trainers, which are a replica of the Nike Air Span favoured by Gary’s late father Richard.
Nick Schonberger, global editorial communications director at Nike, told the T&C: “We’re privileged to have known and collaborated with Gary.”
He added: “His passion, source of endless knowledge, authenticity and friendship will always be sorely missed. We’re proud to celebrate his family and his memory.”
Gary’s mother Wendy Warnett, his brother Ian, and many other members of his family still live in Bedford.
Friend Par Singh said: “Bedford is where Gary discovered all of his interests and, ultimately, where he was first introduced to trainers. He was always loud and proud of his hometown.”
Gary, who owned hundreds of pairs of trainers himself, died in September last year. The news of his untimely death prompted a flood of tributes on social media about him and his working the sneaker industry.
One tribute read: “While Gary left us too early, his written output – vast and varied – remains.
“Indisputably he was one of the sneaker culture’s most significant commentators. Heralded as the G.O.A.T (Greatest Of All Time) sneaker writer (an acknowledgement which made him shudder), Warnett’s acumen for unpacking the nuances of cool, a very complex equation, made him an impeccable ally to the brands he loved.”
Gary’s career in cool footwear spanned two decades and he built up a reputation as one of the most trusted individuals in the industry. He acted as consultant and copywriter for almost every brand in the business.
“He was considered as one of the few go-to-guys for unfiltered, unbiased analysis of sneakers,” said a fellow writer.
Gary was also closely associated with a popular sneaker forum called Crooked Tongues.
In an interview with the Guardian, Gary said social networks had turned a niche pursuit into an industry for trainer collectors.
He said at the time: “Social media has blown up this world and exposed it to a new audience. What used to be myriad of subcultures has become mainstream, with a lot of desire focused on six or seven silhouettes, like Yeezy, NMD and Air Jordan. Kanye West’s influence on the young buying public is massive. Some people make a good living. The concept of reselling has become mainstream: even peers who aren’t into trainers are aware of their value. But it’s like any kind of speculation – if you don’t flip them in time you may as well be wearing them.”