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Characteristics of a True Sneakerhead

Today vs. Yesterday's Sneaker Collector


Characteristics of a True Sneakerhead
Insoles of Jordans by ZIMAD

What is a Sneakerhead?

A sneakerhead is anybody who actively enjoys collecting sneakers. They love sneakers as much as a Star Trek fan loves dressing up as a Klingon and trekking to conventions. Sneakerheads have been around for decades, but there have been changes in the behaviors of sneaker geeks of the late 80s and 90s, to those that have sprouted in just the past 3 years. Here's just a few observations from the bench:

1.Change of Laces
Today's sneakerhead wants to know where to find all the up-to-the-minute trendiest sneakers that everyone is talking about, while yesterday's sneakerhead wanted to personally find gems nobody knew about.

2. Change of Value
Yesterday's sneakerhead shopped around for deadstock and exclusive finds that were a steal, while today's sneakerhead will deal or steal any which way they can to drop $500 on a pair of kicks. Back in the day, a sneakerhead would seldomly spend more than $100 on sneakers, unless they were a Jordan fan. Other than that, anything under $20-$50 was considered a sneakerhead's rubber dream.

3. Change of Cool
Yesterday's sneakerhead bought sneakers because the colors were cool, the style was cool, and they fit cool. Today, the driving force behind the sneaker craze is HYPE, not true coolness.

4. Change of Love
Today's sneakerhead buys primarily Nike, while yesterday's sneakerhead bought hip-hop and skate classics like Puma, Vans, and Adidas (Clydes, Gazelles, Shelltoes, Campus, Sk8 His). The old school sneaker collector started with those mentioned sneakers, or Jordans. While today's sneaker collector typically starts with Dunks, Air Max, AF1s - all Nike. Many of them look at their sneaker collections as investments, while yesterday's collector bought them to be worn.

5. Change of Purpose
Yesterday's sneakerhead stored their collections under their beds or closets. Today's sneakerhead stores their kicks in cases and personalized shelves. The old school sneakerhead also used to consolidate the usage of their sneakers down to ONE versatile pair, wear it out, then grab something else. They preserved to conserve, while today's sneakerhead has a sneaker for every divine purpose.

6. Change of Direction
Today's sneakerhead looks to see whatever Kayne West is wearing, while the old school sneakerhead used to look east to scour web sites and stores in languages they didn't understand just to get Asian market releases that were not avail in the west.

7. Change of Location
Today's sneakerhead has access to upscale sneaker boutiques with fine wood, glass and metal motifs. Yesterday's sneakerhead had the local shop that used to be a Chinese takeout or the athletic store in the mall. Back then, sneakerheads also scoured athletic catalogs like Eastbay, soccer trades, and CCS for all the cool discounted kicks in colorways the jocks didn't care much about -- unless they were in their "team colors".

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