Over the last couple of years I have observed the tellings of a sneakerhead through my interactions with friends as well as current and past colleagues. Their membership in the historically exclusive club is exhibited in varying ways and intensities depending on their age, location and involvement. Their is however a list of timeless similarities between these connoisseurs of product.
Let’s get our definition straight to first see if you might qualify for this honored title. A sneakerhead, in my experience, is someone whose appreciation of sneakers is exhibited by their knowledge of the industry, collection of personally or widely valued product and extra effort to obtain such footwear. What separates them from people who just like sneakers is the continuous dedication to product. Their obsession does not come and go like a flashing fashion trend, but keeps growing and evolving.
A sneakerhead of any sort curates a network of others like themselves and people in the business. The latter might include buyers from sneaker or footwear stores, designers or individuals within particular brands, all united by their love of product. Now a days such interactions occur online, offline or even in line. Events like Sneakerness, trade shows like Bread & Butter or local store gatherings round off some of the key touch points, supplemented by a little Instagram or other life sharing platforms. Many, of course, are just unalloyed friends and colleagues, with lunches or drinks easy to arrange in between the normal routine. In any case, a network like this allows for discussions around product, opportunities to trade or acquire sneakers or having a genuinely good time.
The knowledge any sneakerhead has about a brand’s histories and current innovation is as in depth as an anthological examination of a nearly extinct civilization. They are walking Wikipedias not by degree, but self-motivation. Every product they choose is with an informed precision considering brand history, available colorways and product storytelling. Sitting down and chatting with any sneakerhead over a coffee or a cold one will only increase your appreciation of sneakers. So much so, in fact, you’ll want to call your closest university to make them faculty member and pioneer of the “History of Sneakers” course. Typically sneakerheads acquire at least one coffee table sneaker book to supplement their knowledge, like Sneakers: The Complete Limited Editions Guide or Art & Sole, and read multiple global and local blogs daily.
The buying, selling, trading, gifting and monitoring associated with the sneaker market might seem something like Grand Bazaar meets stock market. Though some might spend, if necessary, larger amounts on sneakers than your stomach might handle, they are just as keen on smartly selling sneakers as well. I’ve been impressed by the small business skills some sneakerheads have acquired monitoring and participating on EBay, old school but still good school, and more current sneaker selling sites like Kixify. There is something to be said about their attention to market demand, product availability and overarching culture.
Behind the network, knowledge and business savviness is also a genuine personality. A nerd of sorts, like we all are with some chosen subject. The best part is that their love of product and its complete storytelling makes you believe in the idea of consumers once again. For a sneakerhead is not just someone with a collection of sneakers, but wealth of knowledge, drive and passion for product. Go grab yourself a sneakerhead, if you’re not one of course, and get schooled on one of the most engaging product histories you never knew about.