ARTICLE BY Minh Vuong

Being Into Sneakers Has Kept Me on the Straight and Narrow

Sneaker Freaker Minh Sneaker Collection 2013

It’s safe to say we grow up with a bunch of bad influences surrounding us, ready to wrap their terrible tendrils around us in an unescapable spiral. Unless you end up becoming obsessed with sneakers. Then you’re safe.

‘Son, I don’t care what you do with your life – just don’t do drugs.’ Those were the most insightful words my father ever said to me, and I’ve loosely interpreted it as approval of the sneaker habit I’ve been maintaining since I was a teenager.

Looking back on it, I suppose sinking most of my time and hard-earned cash into sneakers has kept me on the straight and narrow. In fact, it’s distracted me for long enough now that I’ve somehow made a career out of it.

For example, while my mates were spending Saturday mornings going to used car yards in search of four-wheeled beaters to rice up, I was at the factory outlets with my dad to look for new beater sneakers. It was our unique way of bonding I guess. And it probably saved me from a crash or two.

Undefeated Japan Store

While those same friends were grinding away and stacking shelves to burn their measly pay cheque on whatever vices they were into, I was working in a sneaker store. Guess where that $19/hour was going? Yep, straight back into my place of employment. It was a self-perpetuating cycle, but it kept me focused.

By now, you’re probably thinking I’ve led a boring life or missed out on some pivotal moments of my adolescence. I couldn’t disagree more – but, of course, I might be a little biased.

Being a sneaker nerd has also helped make me appreciate history. I might not be able to remember the exact sequence of events that caused a political maelstrom back in 2016, but I can certainly recall with vivid detail the camp-out lines (remember those?) for the adidas NMD.

Sneaker Freaker Forum

Plus, my heavy involvement with sneakers certainly didn’t render me devoid of social skills. The ,Sneaker Freaker Forum was my digital home long before the days of social media. There I learned to fight, at least with keyboards. But perhaps more importantly, I made plenty of friends who I’m still in touch with now, if not super close with IRL.

Nike Air 180 and Air Max 90

And I was able to bring sneakers into my romantic life, at least indirectly. Shoes are always a welcome gift to give and/or receive. My significant other gets the whole shoe thing – or at least tries to understand why shoes are such a big part of my life. I will draw the line at wearing sneakers to weddings though. That’s about as bad as wearing Nike socks with adidas shoes.

I often joke about quitting sneakers for good, but it would appear that I’m in it for life. It’s hard to imagine things otherwise. And I’m sure that’s the case for many of you too.

For more relatable sneaker introspection, check out the Real Talk section here.

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