Hi, my name is Mathew, and I have an addiction.
I have over 150 pairs of sports footwear. I have running shoes, but I hate to go jogging. I have hiking boots, but I don’t go on real bushwalks. I at least play Basketball, but c’mon man, do you need that many pairs of kicks? 2 new pairs in the past fortnight? (Hyperdunk 2012′s and Jordan IV Fire Red, thanks for asking.)
Well, yeah. Yes I do. Why?
Growing up as a Hoops fan you lust after those kicks, man. Jordans. Flights. Pumps. Even when I got my first ‘real’ Ball shoes (Reebok BB 4600, you ALWAYS remember your first) I still wanted more. I’d see those ads in those months-old US magazines for the Jordans, or those pictures in Street and Smiths of Bird in the Converse ERX-400 or Stock in those Avia hi-tops; even then I knew all the brands. Then you start Ballin’ and your folks spring for some shoes. You wanted the Forces or the Jordans but you got the Reeboks. Damn. That all came good when I got those Dominique Wilkins Pumps for my 16th. You thought they were expensive over there! FOUR HUNDRED CLAMS, man, and I’m still thankful to this day. Wearin’ them to school, everybody wanting to pump them up. Still got em; sole’s have perished, but I can’t part with ‘em. Because.
So, when you play Ball you tend to get new shoes on the regular. If you are lucky you could keep them for Court Only; carry them in your bag, lace ‘em up in the change rooms, carry ‘em home afterwards, clean them every week. Then when you got a new pair, like those white Jordan VI’s, your court shoes became a pair you could just wear. Next thing I knew me and my boy Riz were regular faces in the sneaker shops, asking about new models – we knew the new J’s came out in February so we kept going in and looking. Sometimes a local spot would be the last stop on the Rep’s tour, so they would get a heap of Size 9 samples of ill shit that wasn’t out for 6 months; I remember to this day holding a Jordan VII and the Huarache BB in October and going ‘wow’ – imagine that in this Instagram-Twitter-controlled leaks age? We used to get to see the catalogues too, and you knew you had made it when you saw the ones without the redacted prices, and you knew what Futures and At Once meant.
Around this time I started working, so I could spend my own money. Shit got SERIOUS then. I still remember getting my Concord XI’s on release day so I could play in a Grand Final that night. Cats in the shops asked me and my homeboy Riz if they should get an extra 11 and 13 in particular models. I was still Ballin, and I had a major Jones for Nike releases with all the technology. Air GO – the first crazy lightweight hoops shoe. Boom, hooked; all the lightweight models had to be mine. The one constant I had while I matured into a man was my Kicks; my lifestyle changed, my hobbies and interests waxed and waned but I always had the kicks.
I’ve kept playing Ball; I still run every week and I’m in my late 30′s now. And yeah, I still get new kicks all the damn time so I’m rotating through Nike lightweight Basketball shoes; I’ve got 9 pairs of Hyperdunks in 4 years. But why the rest? Well, the shoe companies got smart a few years back; they worked out that people like me who grew up in the 80′s and 90′s now have disposable income and will buy replicas of those shoes we had and wore out, or lusted after and could never afford. Sure, they aren’t perfect replicas, but I’m not going to be like every other jerk in a comment thread on Sole Collector and moan about it, because I’m just thankful that I could get another pair of those Air GO again. And all those Jordans I missed. And those Twilight Zone Pumps. Oh, the AI Questions. Sorry, where was I?
Oh yeah. All that and I haven’t answered the question.
Well, the geek in me loves the innovation in athletic footwear and is always dying to try out the newest tech (someone get me some Flyknits, dammit!) The 17 year old inner me (come on now, we all have one) loves that I can FINALLY get those Infra-Red Jordan V’s that I picked up off the shelf about eleventy brazillion times in 1990. And let’s face it; they can’t transplant feet yet, so you gotta take care of the ones you have right? Right? And as my boy Riz says ‘a man has to have a hobby!’ (He’s got over 300 pairs. Serious.) I love talking about the biz, why the companies do what they do, what shoe is hot and why this one sucks. There’s plenty of sites that show releases, leaks and even reviews, but there’s not many people out there giving analysis and opinion of the shoe game; there’s no real Grantland, no Daring Fireball, no Crikey. I think it’s time that should change.
I’m a sneakerhead. That’s why.
Find me on Twitter: @Texas. Yes, really.