Nike makes over 2.5 billion dollars in sales in one year alone, just from selling its Jordan brand sneakers, according to Esquire. Known as sneakerheads, lovers of shoes share their stories of what makes a true sneaker collector.
Danny Aki, a Kahuku local, said he felt sneakers were a big part of everyday life. When asked what he felt makes a person a sneakerhead, he responded, “I feel sneakers are in the eye of the beholder. Some people collect shoes, while others just love the fun of trying to get that one dream shoe they love. Whatever it may be, it’s about doing your thing.”
Josh Meyer, a student from Mililani, Oahu studying art, said, “Expensive shoes are not important to me. Especially here in Hawaii, they will get dirty too fast and they aren’t worth the hassle. To me it is not much of an investment and doesn’t serve a great purpose.”
Others, like Marcus Nguyen, a sophomore from the Philippines, said sneakers to him are not just shoes people wear around, but they help to show an expression of someone’s personality and uniqueness.
They serve more than a purpose of walking and showing off, instead he thinks of them as “pieces of art that require an artist (often times called a designer) who uses both experience and creativity.”
Many sneakerheads have different influencers and people they look up to when it comes to buying a new pair of shoes. Some people like to create their own unique style, while others depend on the celebrities or athletes to let them know what is cool.
Aki said, “The definite influencers for me are athletes. For all sneakerheads they play a big part in the industry and the culture. My personal biggest influencer is Kobe Bryant and his basketball shoes. To me they are the best of both worlds in regards to comfort and style.”
The sneaker game is all about bringing your own style and your creative spirit to your own sneaker collection. It’s not just about how many shoes you have or if you have the most expensive pair, said Ethen Waka, a freshman from Hawaii. “It is about just someone who appreciates a fresh pair of kicks. Being a sneakerhead can also be just you being a collector of shoes that bring nostalgia.”
Along with the sneakers being a part of art, it is also about the history of the shoe and the stories that have come as people wore them. Micheal Jordan wore the Jordan 1 Retros in the 1998 Slam Dunk Contest. This not only solidified the greatness of the shoe, but it also created a story behind the sneaker forever.
“One of my favorite pairs of shoes of all time is a tie between my Kobe 9 Colbalt, and my Kevin Durant (KD) 5 Team Orange,” said Aki. “The reason for this is because the Kobe 9 Colbalts are the most comfortable shoes I have ever had, and the KD 5 Team Orange are the first shoes I ever dunked in.”
Waka explained, “One of the best days of my life was when I was finally able to buy myself a pair of Space Jam 11’s. Since I live in Hawaii, it’s a lot harder to get shoes with all the shipping and taxes. Finally, I was able to get a pair and at the time the sneaker was going for about $400. Since they were used, I got them for $300, it was the best day of my life.”
As for these sneakerheads, they said anyone can get into the sneaker lifestyle. For those who may be starting, Waka explained, “It is not just about copping kicks. It can also be about knowing the brand or type of shoes.”
Aki added, “For those people who are not in the sneaker world, I would suggest to buy what you like. You don’t need to go and buy every shoe in the world to be considered a sneakerhead.”
Sneaker Head Terms:
Kicks: Another term for shoes or sneakers.
Cop: To acquire a pair of sneakers, or to buy.
Heat Check: When someone admires another individual’s pair of shoes, and they feel their own shoes are just as nice.
Icy: A pair of sneakers is very nice sometimes termed as hot, spicy, clean, or fire.
Colorway: The colors/pattern used in any particular shoe.