What do sneakers mean to you?
If you ask that question, I’ll give you the most dramatic, but honest answer. That is, to me, sneakers mean everything, and I mean that. There isn’t a thing I cannot tie a certain sneaker to.
And I’m not saying that just to say that I truly mean it. My earliest memories in life are of me as a toddler rocking Jordan 8s and being able to relate the design to Bugs Bunny. I’m talking me at 4 years old fresh as hell in AJ8s. It’s a wild image to remember because I truly don’t remember anything else at that age unless my mom recorded it. But that image of me in a baby windbreaker and some Air Jordan 8s walking down the stairs at my Aunt and Uncles house for a family party will never leave.
At that point, a monster was certainly created and my mom lets me know all the time she loves/hates that she built that in me lol. Crazy thing is my mom has always had fresh shoes. Not limited to just sneakers but she certainly had those to, so without question I got it honest as hell. So like I said, for as long as I can remember she made sure that my kicks were fresh.
Growing up and going through school I always was the kid with nice shoes, at that time it was more so Jordan Brand of course but see, I’m a basketball connoisseur and have tremendous respect for the history of the game from the actual art of playing to the shoes, outfits that the players wore. Outside of Jordan’s, you would certainly catch me in my favorite players shoes including Penny Hardaway, Allen Iverson, Pippen’s, hell Shaq’s, Barkley’s, Grant Hill’s and I could go on! There was no doubt that my love for sneakers stemmed from my love for basketball. And like that, before I could hold full conversations, I was engulfed into this passion for sneakers.
This passion continued to grow of course and at the time my fashion sense was more of full basketball outfits with the sneakers to match. A much more basic approach lol. But, the beauty of sneakers is it opens you up to a world of different things you had no idea about. So via collabs and the early stages of the internet brought the introduction to the now more so prevalent streetwear culture. Because my obsession with sneakers and wanting to know more about the what’s going on in sneakers, I was able to find out about these different streetwear brands. My style definitely is built from the ground up, I start all of my outfits with shoes lol. To some it may be a weird concept but like I said before, my shoes represent a lot more to me than just being fresh, they are actually my mood for the day.
The quests! The long searches! The building of bonds! One of the more under-appreciated arts of sneakers and the craze to attain them is how they bring tons and tons of people together, all for a common theme. It’s crazy the amount of people I’ve met and connections I’ve made with awesome individuals. Having to look into sneaker releases and see when and where releases might take place are some of the more enjoyable moments for me. Things are a lot easier to find out with social media and that part is love/hate because I remember you didn’t know unless you knew somebody. It’s a bit different now with the bot evolution and resale of sneakers being mainstream but I still enjoy it. And this quest never gives, no matter how rich you are or even your access I think there’s always a pair that you are hunting for and that’s the beauty of it all.
Personal brand building from sneakers is also a great highlight. Building a brand of self happens whether you are a known reseller or a Shoetuber or just have been known to talk cash shit at big releases and/or are a source for release information etc. etc. etc. Individuals such as Foamer Simpson and HesKicks are the reason I started watching YouTube for shoe reviews and it has grown to these individuals having tons of opportunities outside of YouTube. They aren’t the only people I watch but they certainly changed how review videos go. A reseller such as 23Penny is someone who is well respected and it comes from the footwork he puts in and some of the most fair after-market prices that you will see. I enjoy this because what often ends up happening is they release merch or introduce me to different brands that otherwise I would have overlooked. Hell, I rock Asics because of Foamer and they are now one of my favorite shoes.
This sneaker game has come a long way, both good and bad but I’m happy to be a part of it and look forward to the continued growth.