Written by: Rabica Reyes
When I first met my (now) husband, my sneaker collection consisted of one pair of green low top Converse (because they were Jets colours), two pairs of Under Armour sneakers to workout in, and one pair of old school, not even remotely cool enough to be considered 'throwback', all black New Balances from 2001. I still own all these kicks, but they never make it into my weekly rotation.
Six months after dating my husband, Christmas was upon us. I won’t front and say I wasn’t totally feeling this man – I was definitely into him and therefore wanted to make an effort to get him something he would really enjoy. Knowing his love of sneakers, I decided this would be a great time to get him a pair. At this time the Air Jordan Black/Varsity Red-Cement Grey 3s had just released so these were on my shopping list (side note: these are now in my top three favourite sneakers!). I figured go to the mall, buy a few gift cards, stop by Victoria’s Secret, go to Foot Locker to pick up these bad boys and shopping done! No, not that easy. I learned a lesson that holiday season that I would remember in my sneaker shopping years to come – sneakerheads are raging, ruthless shoppers and not your casual, shoe enthusiast. They do not play nice and clearly, sneaker shopping is not a game or recreational. After searching online, calling every Foot Locker, Foot Action, and every other sneaker store in NY, I was able to find a pair in another state, Texas. Seeing the excitement in his face when he opened his gift was all worth it though. Feeling like an accomplished shopper however, was a natural high feeling in itself. So I thought to myself, I beat them! I got the sneakers! But in retrospect, I didn’t beat anyone. I paid way over retail and was a novice at this game.
Soon after I picked up a friendly contact on eBay who lived in Las Vegas who would help me get sneakers I was looking for. Holidays, birthdays, and any other special occasion would all be new opportunities for me to gift a pair of sneakers. I still paid over retail, but I didn’t know any other way at this point. My next big sneaker escapade, and the second to last time I paid over retail (the last time was for the Fighter Jet Foamposite) was for the Air Jordan 11 Concord release (also in my top three favourite sneakers). This time I thought I was smarter. I called work to let them know I would be in late, woke up at 4am and went to the mall to wait outside of Foot Locker. These were pre-tickets and pre-sneaker lottery days so I literally had to wait in line and just hope they had the size I wanted and enough pairs when you got to the front. I arrived at Foot Locker, feeling exceptionally proud of myself for being on top of this release, chest out and confident that I would be leaving with a pair to go home and wrap – wrong again. There was already a line outside the store and I wasn’t even close to the front. It was 4:30 am – I didn’t get it. Did these people stay the night? How did they even get in? Confused, I waited around anyways. Around 9am the store was supposed to open but didn't, due to fighting and chaos. The local police decided the store would not be allowed to open. Disappointed, I left for work and I was not able to get these sneakers for him that Christmas. Don’t start to feel too bad for him though because in February, for Valentine’s Day I was able to hunt down his size on eBay and surprised him with the kicks – for about the price of a pair of Gucci shoes.
During all of this, I was becoming more involved in the sneaker world. Not only was I buying sneakers, but I was receiving them. There is no way my husband would have me rock something from my original 'collection' (if you even want to call it that) while he kicked back in the freshest pairs around. Slowly, my sneaker closet began evolving. I read more, learned more, started reading sneaker blogs, and following sneakerheads on Instagram. I picked up sneaker terminology such as DS, heat, beaters, B-Grade, retro, Holy Grail, Hypebeast, NIB, etc. I learned about colourways, the difference between Breds and Cool Greys, what Foamposites were, and the many types of Air Jordans. I devoted my days off to go into the city and sneaker shop, visit Flight Club in NYC and attend sneaker shows, where I always left in awe. I started taking pictures of my sneakers and Instgramming them with the hashtags #chicksinkicks and #KOTD. I started picking out my wardrobe with what sneakers I would wear first and when my husband said he was going to wear Air Jordan Platinum 11s at our wedding (the final addition to my top three favourite sneakers), I didn’t blink an eye. I changed from a woman who only thought of sneakers as something you wore for the gym or to run errands with. I couldn’t believe it! Who was I? I'd become a sneakerhead’s wife... and a sneakerhead myself.