Tuesday, June 14, 2011

Johnny Bagel's Lamest Sneakers of All Time: LA Gear Catapult

In the 80s and early 90s the sneaker landscape (particularly basketball sneakers) was dominated by three companies, Nike, Adidas and Reebok, and those three giants of the industry have been at the top ever since. And then there were those other sneaker companies. If your mother couldn't afford a pair of Jordans for you to wear on the first day of school, or you wanted to stand out in the crowd a bit, there was always the big 3's competitors to choose from. Of all of these lesser known companies, maybe none was as lame as LA Gear. Probably best known for their sneakers that pointlessly lit up when you walked, these corny kicks (not by any means perp shoes) were primarily worn in 1989 by 10 year old Asian girls and Karl Malone. In an effort to keep up with the big boys, LA Gear attempted to join the modern basketball shoe world with their LA Tech line, in particular the Catapult. The name itself was kind of cool, as you picture putting them on and being immediately propelled 10 feet in the air to ram the ball down the throats of all those kids that laughed at you for trying to wear Paula Abduls to third period gym class (It's not a shoe it's a machine!). Unfortunately, they didn't help your leaping ability anymore than they helped the Mailman's street cred.

An obvious rip off of Nike Air and Air Max as well as the Reebok Pump, the Catapult was worn by approximately 3 people during gym class in 1991 before being pulled from the market. Karl Malone went on to a hall of fame career yet not one championship. Is it the shoes? Probably.


  1. I was wearing the Catapults in 5th grade when I dunked in gym class.

  2. LA Gear also had those annoying shoes with the lights in them for a while.

  3. I had these in '91, these were very cool. I used them for basketball. With jeans/baggy pants I wore BK Dymacel at that time.
    In '92 I bought the newer version of Catapult that was black nubuk with some white.