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The Chicks With Kicks Sneaker Freaker Interview 1
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The World's Biggest Sneaker Collection Belongs to Three Sisters: The Chicks With Kicks

Date: March 08 2018

By: Matt Williams

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For most of our readers, sneakers are an indulgent hobby. For Ariana, Dakota and Dresden Peters however, it’s all part of the family business. Known online as The Chicks With Kicks, the sisters recently lifted the veil on their colossal collection. And we mean colossal! With over 6000 pairs of dynamite heat on deck, the Chicks are chock-a-block with one-off prototypes, unicorns, player samples and a few that don’t even technically exist according to Nike. We caught up with them in Boca Raton, Florida to find out how this is even possible.

The Chicks With Kicks Sneaker Freaker Interview 2

Ariana

We hear you’ve got a pretty big collection…
[Laughs] That is most definitely true! At last count there were 6000 pairs, but the collection has expanded a whole lot since then.

That’s insane! You’d be hard-pressed to find a bigger collection anywhere in the world.
We’re actually in the process of applying for the Guinness World Record. We’re still waiting to do the official count, though we have no doubt that we own not only the largest, but also the highest-quality collection in the world. Bye bye, Jordan Geller! [Laughs] Only kidding, we are friendly with him.

He needed to create his own ‘ShoeZuem’ just to house his collection. Where do you even store 6000 pairs?
To say they took over our home would be an understatement. It got to the point where we had to build an extension just to house all the sneakers! We now have a commercial building with full climate and humidity control to keep everything safe. It holds the entire collection, except for the Air Force 1s.

The Chicks With Kicks Sneaker Freaker Interview Nike Air Max 1 Og 1987

These Air Max 1s come from the very first production run in ’87 – complete with massive OG Air bubble!

Sounds like the Fort Knox of sneakers. Why aren’t the Forces stored there?
Our parents began the collection over 25 years ago and it all started with AF-1s. Our mother was an avid runner and our father a basketball player, so it naturally sparked an interest in sneakers. It didn’t take long before the purchases veered away from necessity and it became a full-fledged obsession! As the collection grew, the Forces always remained in our father’s closet. He expanded the space and, even still, the entire closet is footwear from floor to ceiling. It looks pretty cool though, so we decided to leave them there.

How did the three of you come in possession of the collection?
Sadly, our mother passed away many years ago, but our father continued to add to the collection as the years went on. While friends of his were spending their spare time on clubbing, cars and women, he would spend his on sneakers. It was his way of gearing down.

About five years ago, he decided it was time to retire and passed down both the collection and our family’s commercial development company. Although the collection is a passion and a pastime, it entails a lot of work. Between upkeep and sourcing new additions, maintaining the collection is a time-consuming process; it made sense for our father to pass it down and enjoy his retirement in full.

The Chicks With Kicks Sneaker Freaker Interview Kanye West X Reebok Sean Carter Low 3

Kanye West x Reebok Sean Carter Low (2008): ‘This set brings together two of hip hop’s biggest names: Jay-Z and Kanye West. We have four different colourways, each accented with the bear from Kanye’s debut album, The College Dropout. On each pair's OG box, the label reads “CUSTOM MADE FOR: KANYE WEST.” These are very different from his newer stuff with adidas – they don’t resemble anything in the marketplace right now. We actually have two sample sets; it would have been interesting to see the response if they were released.’

The Chicks With Kicks Sneaker Freaker Interview Kanye West X Reebok Sean Carter Low 2

Kanye West x Reebok Sean Carter Low (2008): ‘This set brings together two of hip hop’s biggest names: Jay-Z and Kanye West. We have four different colourways, each accented with the bear from Kanye’s debut album, The College Dropout. On each pair's OG box, the label reads “CUSTOM MADE FOR: KANYE WEST.” These are very different from his newer stuff with adidas – they don’t resemble anything in the marketplace right now. We actually have two sample sets; it would have been interesting to see the response if they were released.’

The Chicks With Kicks Sneaker Freaker Interview Kanye West X Reebok Sean Carter Low 1

Kanye West x Reebok Sean Carter Low (2008): ‘This set brings together two of hip hop’s biggest names: Jay-Z and Kanye West. We have four different colourways, each accented with the bear from Kanye’s debut album, The College Dropout. On each pair's OG box, the label reads “CUSTOM MADE FOR: KANYE WEST.” These are very different from his newer stuff with adidas – they don’t resemble anything in the marketplace right now. We actually have two sample sets; it would have been interesting to see the response if they were released.’

The Chicks With Kicks Sneaker Freaker Interview 3

Dresden

Has the focus of the collection changed since you all took over?
We have always had a deep appreciation for prototypes, samples and vintage sneakers so there’s a strong focus on those areas; we’re the largest cash buyers of those types of sneakers in the world – although, the vetting process is extreme.

I can imagine. Did you have a passion for sneakers before inheriting the collection?
Absolutely! Just as many people have art accenting their home, we’ve had sneakers. We have sneaker cases in our home featuring rare pairs on decorated shelves. Our father appreciated sneakers as an art form, so we grew up with that same appreciation. Whenever he would purchase a new sneaker to add to the collection, we were always involved.

Back in elementary and middle school, our father would dress us in Air Force 1s. We wanted to wear ballet slippers and sandals, but our father insisted we rock the latest Nikes! [Laughs]

The Chicks With Kicks Sneaker Freaker Interview Nike Air Force 1 X Dunk SB Rayguns

Nike Air Force 1 x Dunk Sb ‘Rayguns’ (2004): ‘These are the pairs that have probably stirred up the most curiosity in our collection. They feature the uppers from the ‘Rayguns’ Dunk SBs fused with Air Force 1 sole units. We were offered $9000 for the set and still turned it down!’

The Chicks With Kicks Sneaker Freaker Interview Nike Air Force 1 X Dunk Sb Rayguns 2

Nike Air Force 1 x Dunk Sb ‘Rayguns’ (2004): ‘These are the pairs that have probably stirred up the most curiosity in our collection. They feature the uppers from the ‘Rayguns’ Dunk SBs fused with Air Force 1 sole units. We were offered $9000 for the set and still turned it down!’

The Chicks With Kicks Sneaker Freaker Interview Nike Air Footscape 2 Cheap Trick Sample

Nike Air Footscape 2 'Cheap Trick' Sample (2001): ‘This is a one-of-one sample designed by Steven Smith, who now works on the adidas Yeezy line. They were made together with Rick Nielsen, the lead guitarist for Cheap Trick. They ended up running with a checkerboard Presto instead, and only ever made a handful of pairs.’

Can’t say I’d be complaining! What's your attitude towards wearing the shoes?
We have almost every brand and every size imaginable in the collection. We even have a six-foot long PUMA Suede! That said, any pair considered part of the collection is strictly off-limits for wearing. We each have our own personal collections of a few hundred kicks that we do wear.

When our father started the collection, he was buying up two or three pairs of a sneaker he really liked, so he’d have one to wear and always have a spare. As the years wore on though, some pairs just became so rare and valuable that he couldn’t do that any more. Some of the pairs, like the prototypes, are irreplaceable. It changed his perspective on sneakers. He began to see them less as items of clothing and more as pieces of art.

So many sneakers! How do you keep track of it all?
Back when our father started the collection, he would write down everything in a little black notebook. He was very meticulous, he operated it like a business – except only with stuff coming in, not going out. He would keep notes on where the sneaker was purchased, the price he paid and any rare features. When we took over the collection, we began to transfer all that information into a database. It took us a year to convert the bulk of it and we are still working on converting all his little hand notes for each pair. Wish us luck – it’s a pretty finicky task!

The Chicks With Kicks Sneaker Freaker Interview Nike Mark Parker

Nike Lunarfly+ 1.5 For Mark Parker: The Chicks are tight-lipped on how they came into possession of this pair made specially for Nike CEO Mark Parker!

The Chicks With Kicks Sneaker Freaker Interview Nike Mark Parker 2

Nike Lunarfly+ 1.5 For Mark Parker: The Chicks are tight-lipped on how they came into possession of this pair made specially for Nike CEO Mark Parker!

The Chicks With Kicks Sneaker Freaker Interview 4

Dakota

I don’t think you’re going to find that info out any other way. Can you tell us how you’ve acquired so many insanely rare pairs?
If we told you we would have to kill you! [Laughs] The Nike archives contacted us wanting to know where we got some of the stuff. They’ve been trying to piece together how some of these prototypes left Nike headquarters and they can’t figure it out. Even some of the designers themselves have contacted us through Instagram, because they know some of this stuff is one of a kind and made for specific people.

One pair we have was made for Sandy Bodecker. Nike were completely puzzled as to how that one got out. It is missing the insoles, so it looks like it was intended to be destroyed. Sandy contacted us and was like ‘Applause to you guys!’ He hadn’t seen that pair in years – even he didn’t know where it went!

The Chicks With Kicks Sneaker Freaker Interview Nike Air Force 1 Shox 2009

Nike Air Force 1 Shox Prototype (2009): These may look like a stock-standard Air Force 1 at first glance, but look again. This AF-1 switches out the model’s traditional Air bag for Shox cushioning from toe to heel. Not only is the support system visible through the translucent midsole, but Nike even went so far as to replace the signature ‘AIR’ lettering with ‘SHOX’. Guess this makes them a Shox Force 1?

The Chicks With Kicks Sneaker Freaker Interview Converse Dr Js Og

Dr. J Cons: ‘This pair of Cons was made for Dr. J (Julius Erving) himself back in the 80s. They look like they were made only yesterday, that’s how good the quality is.’

The Chicks With Kicks Sneaker Freaker Interview 2005 Nike Air Force 1 Croc

Nike Air Force 1 'Croc' (2005): ‘These Uptowns feature genuine croc leather and are way pricier than the uber-exey Italian-made LUX AF-1 from 2007. Forty-eight pairs were made, with all but one gifted to A-list celebrities. The remaining charity pair was auctioned off for $5000!’

You did a pretty good job of keeping the collection under wraps until now. What made you decide the time was right to reveal your collection to the world?
Our parents were very private people but my father understands that the world has changed. We weren’t intentionally keeping the collection under wraps, but we also didn’t purposefully expose it either.

In an attempt to reorganise, we began taking pictures of the sneakers. On a whim, we decided to post some pictures to Instagram. Up until that point, most collectors would show off their collection, so you instantly had all these people asking ‘Whoa, who are these people? Where did they come from?’ They couldn’t believe it. The response was incredible, so we continued to reveal more of our collection, and the rest is history.

The Chicks With Kicks Sneaker Freaker Interview Nike Air Force 1 Le Bron James Snl Pe

LeBron James x Nike Air Force 1 'SNL' PE (2007): ‘These Air Force 1s were specially made for LeBron when he appeared on Saturday Night Live back in 2007. They are in his size and still unworn. They also made a matching promo pair of SNL-branded Air Force 25s. An all-black AF-1 was given out to all the cast and crew of the show that night.’

The Chicks With Kicks Sneaker Freaker Interview Nike Air Force 1 Stash Future Friends And Family

Stash x Futura x Nike Air Force 1 Low ‘Friends & Family’ (2006): ‘These ‘Friends & Family’ Air Force 1 Lows feature laser-engraving at the heel and Futura’s signature embroidered at the toe. Some people say there were only 10 pairs of this special version released, some people say 25. We have come across two other pairs, but never another deadstock pair.’

The Chicks With Kicks Sneaker Freaker Interview Nike Air Force 1 Mark Smith Laser Sandy Bodecker

Nike Air Force 1 by Mark Smith: One-of-one laser-engraved Nike Air Force 1 designed by Mark Smith for Sandy Bodecker. Even Bodecker doesn't know how the girls managed to get their hands on this pair!

The Chicks With Kicks Sneaker Freaker Interview Nike Air Force 1 Feng Tay Sample

Unreleased Nike Air Force 1 Feng Tay sample: This unreleased Nike Air Force 1 sample is signed by Chou-Hsiong Wang, the CEO of Feng Tay Group – the company that creates all of Nike’s high-end samples.

The Chicks With Kicks Sneaker Freaker Interview Nike Dakota Zoetrop Studios George Lucas Francis Ford Coppola

Nike Dakota (1980): ‘Notice the inscription on the Swoosh – Zoetrope Studios. That’s the studio founded by Francis Ford Coppola and George Lucas. These were specially made for them to give to the crew that were working at the studio at the time. These were obtained from a camera operator who worked on Coppola’s film One From the Heart. They have never been worn and are believed to be the lone survivor.’

I can imagine you were hit up with pretty serious offers for some of your pairs.
To this day, we have refused to sell any pairs. We’ve been contacted by the who’s who of the sneaker game at one time or another asking about the collection and wanting to purchase pairs. Every time we post up a Jordan, we get a ton of offers, but we haven’t taken any of them yet.

Do you see yourselves ever selling?
That’s actually what we are looking at with our next venture. We will be opening a one-of-a-kind interactive sneaker store down here in South Florida. When the store opens next year, it will showcase our entire collection, all of which will be available for purchase. We wanted to hold out and make it all available at once. It will be a multifaceted store. We will also offer consignment and a station dedicated to customisation. We are also planning to integrate a dedicated cleaning and restoration department.

The store is still in pre-construction stage, but it will have a real-life bank vault to house all of our rarest and most coveted pairs, as well as a state-of-the-art camera system live-streaming the store’s day-to-day operations online. This will allow customers and enthusiasts alike to have full visual access to the store and inventory 24/7.

The Chicks With Kicks Sneaker Freaker Interview Bad Boy Entertainment Nike Air Revolution

Bad Boy Entertainment x Nike Air Revolution (2002): ‘In 2002, Sean Combs reached a deal to buy back the 50 per cent stake in Bad Boy Entertainment held by Arista, making him the sole owner of the label. It is said that these Air Revolutions were made to commemorate the occasion, complete with Bad Boy branding at the toe.’

The Chicks With Kicks Sneaker Freaker Interview Nike Air Yeezy 1 Pre Production Sample

Nike Air Yeezy Pre-Production Sample (2008): ‘This is a sample of Kanye West’s first collaboration with Nike, made by the Feng Tay Group in Taiwan. Unlike the released version, this sample features a blue inner lining. We’ve never seen another like it!’

The Chicks With Kicks Jeremy Scott Adidas Roundhouse Banned

Jeremy Scott x adidas JS Roundhouse Mid ‘Handcuff’ (2012): ‘When the design for this sneaker was previewed on adidas’ Facebook page prior to release, controversy arose, with people claiming they resembled shackles and glorified slavery. Shortly after, adidas defended Jeremy Scott’s eccentric design, but decided to destroy the entire inventory and not move forward with the release. While you can find pictures on the net, we have never come across another pair in real life.’

The Chicks With Kicks Nike Air Jordan 1 Deja Sample

Air Jordan 1 Deja Wear Test Sample (2010): Despite their best efforts, the Chicks haven’t been able to uncover much about this unusual AJ1 sample from 2010. With its one-piece rubber upper, blinding colourway and ventilation throughout, was this Jordan Brand’s attempt to cash in on Crocs?

The Chicks With Kicks Sneaker Freaker Interview 5

L – R: Dakota, Ariana and Dresden

Does this mean you’re selling up for good?
This won’t be the end of The Chicks with Kicks! The entire collection will be available when we launch the store, but it’s not like we will sell 6000 pairs all at once. We will still continue to buy and expand the collection, so we will always have something exciting in store. This will simply give us a chance to open it up to a wider audience. We are so excited to bring this to life and showcase our entire collection for the first time, as well as become a part of the retail experience. This is something we’ve never done before and, because we are so involved in the sneaker culture and community, we know it’s needed – especially in our area. We don’t have a Flight Club or RIF down here and none of those places will touch vintage like we do. Recently, we bought 300 pairs of deadstock PUMAs from the mid-70s and we asked the seller if he had been approached by anyone else and he responded that there’s simply no one else looking to buy this much vintage product in bulk.

I guess you won’t be stocking all the latest Yeezys then?
Not that we have anything against them, but they’re not really art in the same way as the stuff we collect. They’re streetwear. Anyone can find a pair of Yeezy BOOSTs on eBay, look at the price and accept that’s what they are trading for. It doesn’t take knowledge. When you start talking vintage and prototypes, you can’t always just jump on Google and look that stuff up or look at Flight Club to find out what it’s worth. We probably have about six to seven hundred prototypes all up. You have to learn the market with that kind of stuff. It takes expertise.

Yeezys are hot right now, but they are making thousands upon thousands of them. They don’t have the same depth of history that, say, an original pair of 1985 Air Jordan 1s has – and they can be had for pretty similar money. You also have all the counterfeits, which just works to degrade the brand and dilute the market. You can barely even tell the counterfeits apart from the real Yeezys nowadays.

The Chicks With Kicks Nike Air Force 1 Jay Z All Black Everything 3

Jay-Z x Nike Air Force 1 ‘All Black Everything' World Basketball Festival Pack (2010): ‘Consisting of five different all-black Air Force 1s – representing Brazil, China, France, Puerto Rico and the United States – just two of each make-up were created, with one of each auctioned off specially for charity. The Chicks own both the ‘China’ and ‘Brazil’ pairs, as well as a look-see sample of the ‘France’ make-up.’

The Chicks With Kicks Nike Air Force 1 Jay Z All Black Everything 2

Jay-Z x Nike Air Force 1 ‘All Black Everything' World Basketball Festival Pack (2010): ‘Consisting of five different all-black Air Force 1s – representing Brazil, China, France, Puerto Rico and the United States – just two of each make-up were created, with one of each auctioned off specially for charity. The Chicks own both the ‘China’ and ‘Brazil’ pairs, as well as a look-see sample of the ‘France’ make-up.’

The Chicks With Kicks Nike Air Force 1 Jay Z All Black Everything 1

Jay-Z x Nike Air Force 1 ‘All Black Everything' World Basketball Festival Pack (2010): ‘Consisting of five different all-black Air Force 1s – representing Brazil, China, France, Puerto Rico and the United States – just two of each make-up were created, with one of each auctioned off specially for charity. The Chicks own both the ‘China’ and ‘Brazil’ pairs, as well as a look-see sample of the ‘France’ make-up.’

The Chicks With Kicks Sneaker Freaker Interview Adidas The Kobe 1 Sample

Adidas 'The Kobe' Sample (2000)

True. We look forward to the store opening. It’s been terrific to see such female-driven growth in the market.
It is no secret that men largely dominate the sneaker industry, but we are thrilled to be at the forefront of women’s involvement. Today, it is important that women showcase their passions regardless of whether they’re deemed appropriate or traditional. We love sneakers just as much as the men do!

We are often asked how it feels to be women so involved with sneakers and our answer always seems to be the same: we don’t think about it like that. We love sneakers, we collect sneakers and we are very knowledgeable on the subject. The fact that we are three women doesn’t matter, however, we are excited to be an example and to make women feel comfortable sharing their own unique passions, collections and interests.

Photography: Craig Litten
Additional Photography: Daniel Fortune



Originally published in Sneaker Freaker Issue 39. Get your copy here!

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