We've featured some serious heavy hitters over the years, but there aren't too many that can go 12 rounds with Ric McCallister aka Chitown Air. With close to 500 pairs of the rarest and dopest kicks of all time, Ric rocks the Windy City like no other. From ?uestloves to Tiffanys to MF DOOMs to Air Yeezys... this dude has it all! And while you thought you were ahead of the game scoring your exclusive Stash AF1s from the One Night Only event, Chitown Air had long ago snatched up a pair of the OG TKOs from 2003! But the best part of it all is that he isn't afraid to stomp the streets in each and every one of his gems. No freezers needed here! We caught up with the man himself to get an inside look at his monster goldmine...
Yo Ric! Let's get straight into it… What sparked your collection?
I don't really consider myself a collector per se. I would definitely have to say my love affair with sneakers started with the Air Jordan I. I've always been a fiend for the new Jordan release going all the way back to the beginning.
Did you always dream of having acres of kicks?
Nah, the sneaker boxes just seem to accumulate over the years. I never dreamed that I would ever need to worry about having an entire room dedicated to just my sneakers.
Life's tough… How many pairs have you racked up?
I presently have between 400 and 500 pairs of sneakers.
Wowzers! Does your collection focus on any one thing?
It seems to go in phases for me. A couple of years ago I was heavily into SB's. This past summer was an Air Max summer. It's a great summertime sneaker. No matter what though, it still seems I'm a Jordan Head, that just doesn't change.
So you're definitely a Swoosh man then...
Yes, I'm definitely more of a Nike man. I seem to gravitate to the Swoosh… I do own other sneakers though… adidas, PUMA, Reebok, Converse, Vans and Bape. I love all hot sneakers. I don't discriminate.
Spread the love! So how do you find your shoes?
I try and buy from the local shops whenever I can… NikeTown Chicago, St Alfred, Snyx, Uprise, Leaders, Beau Monde, P&J, House Of Hoops. Plus I do a lot of Internet sneaker hunting. I've made a lot of friends worldwide through the sneaker networking sites. It seems like I'm always looking for something.
What’s the craziest thing you’ve done to get a pair?
Craziest thing? It's probably no crazier than many others have done. I've been out for hours in the winter cold and record breaking summertime heat, flown across the country to other states and missed work just to stand in line for my opportunity to get that hot pair of sneakers. As we speak I'm gearing up for the Doernbecher release. It'll be an all night camp out on Michigan Ave and they're forecasting 3-5 inches of snow! Today, this may be the craziest. Tomorrow could be something else all together.
We see you have a tagged Stash box… Did you score that at the AF1 25th Anniversary party?
No, my Stash AF1s are the OG TKO's from 2003... Number 169 of 500. They're not the One Night Only pair from the AF1 25th Anniversary party.
Respect. The Stash’s won Greatest AF1 Of All Time at that event… agree?
I would have to agree that the Stash AF1 is the greatest AF1 High. In my opinion, there are also some very dope AF1 Lows. Two that come to mind are the PlayStations and the Vibes.
What’s still out there on your wishlist?
I still have a few things on my wish list (I'm a size 10 for anyone who's reading!):
Hyperstrike Orange Homegrown Air Max 90's
Purple Denim Patta Air Max 1
Black/Luck Green Patta Air Max 1
Air Jordan Eminem IV
Air Jordan Undefeated IV
The Undefeateds are crazy! On a more serious note… What are your thoughts on the sneaker game today?
I think the sneaker game is flooded with too many releases. Every other week it's something different. I think they could be spread further apart so that people can really look forward to a new release.
Seems like it’s one retro or fusion after another. Do you ever hanker for something completely fresh?
Fresh is all in the eye of the beholder. The things that I may like could be the very things the next man may not. Sometimes what comes out as 'fresh' is so totally out there, it's hot for a second and then nobody cares. Then again, you can get something like the Air Jordan Titanium XXIII, which becomes an instant classic. So I guess the answer is yes, but I may not always be interested in what everyone else calls fresh.
Has your taste changed over time?
Oh yes, it seems like everything I've been liking in recent years comes with a big price tag as well! I remember being able to go to the local shopping mall and easily finding a pair of sneakers that I liked. Now it's all specialty boutiques and online sellers…
Is there stuff you have from back in the day that really doesn’t do it for you anymore?
Of course, I've been doing this for a long time… I think that most people that have a lot of sneakers have things they don't wear anymore. Some sneakers I've outgrown in actual size and some I've outgrown in taste.
The word seems to be that the sneaker craze is past its prime. Do you think the scene will ever die?
I don't see that happening… too many people seem to like wearing them. On top of that, they've become so mainstream they're even being considered dress shoes as opposed to athletic shoes only. There may be some fluctuations as to how the scene is perceived, but as long as new sneakers keep coming out, someone is going to buy them.
That about wraps it up, Ric! Thanks for your time!