Collecting sneakers in our size has become a practice in futility. Our wages aren’t increasing, yet RRPs keep getting higher. We’re no longer strolling into our local on a Saturday afternoon to pick up the latest Air Jordans. We’re crying salty tears onto our phone screens as we take another L from an international retailer’s sneaker raffle. Our living spaces are getting full of old, crumbling shoes, and our loved ones are sending applications for us to be on the next episode of Hoarders or My Strange Addiction. It’s looking very bleak: we can’t keep living like this.
So, how do we change our footwear-enriched lives for the better, while still preserving our shoe-purchasing habits?
It’s time to collect baby shoes. They’re more viable than adult ones, in so many ways. In short: they’re cheaper, easier, save space, and still provide plenty of fun.
How much does it cost to raise a child these days? A 2017 study shows it costs an average of $233,610 to support a child’s first 17 years. That’s nuts. Of that, six per cent goes towards clothing. Arguably, the sneaker-minded parent is likely spending proportionately more of that $233k on shoes compared to other sensible parents. So, in theory, by the time the child is 17, they would have unknowingly amassed quite the impressive shoe collection.
However, it’s definitely still much less than what the adult-sized editions would cost. Let's take a look at 2019 prices. For example, adidas Superstars in adult sizes cost $80. Newborn crib sizes are a measly $36, and infant ones not much more at $45. How about something more limited? At time of writing, the Yeezy BOOST 700 V2 ‘Vanta’ in infants sizes fetch about $260 on StockX’s resale marketplace – not much more than their $180 retail. Compare that to $440 versus the adults’ $300 retail. Black Off-White Air Max 90s ask about $200 for toddler sizes, yet an adult’s size has you coughing up at least $650. Feeling the sting yet?
Now that it’s quite clear baby sneakers are cheaper than adult ones, regardless of retail or resale, let’s also be reminded how much easier they are to cop. Ain’t nobody lining up a week ahead of the release date for baby ,Air Max. Hell, there aren’t even really release dates for kids shoes (with the exception of the really limited stuff) – they just quietly become available in-store and online at any given time, ready for tiny feet.
Now that brands are manufacturing releases in sizes for the whole family, you are afforded a second, sometimes even third or fourth, chance at copping this week’s release that you so desperately wanted. Are you ready to cop an L on the new Yeezys? That’s all right, scoop an infant’s pair as consolation. Size 9 Jordan 4s may be sold out everywhere, but toddler versions are in abundance. Think of any key release for the rest of the year, and odds are there will be kids sizing for a good handful of them. Brands and retailers have prepared for the increased uptake in baby sneakers. Nike have over 500 different kids shoes to choose from at the moment. There are dedicated Kids Foot Locker stores carrying only childrens’ shoes. And they’re all ready for you. No need to join the rat race.
Yes, the examples above are ready on the shelves for copping, but there is some truly rare baby-sized heat out there for those all about the thrill of the chase. Enter Jeff ‘Busy’ Leung, a Hong Kong–based sneaker collector with an incredible stash of toddler shoes that we featured in Issue 37 of our magazine. Best known for his vintage Baby Jordan collection, Busy’s rarities extend to other genres, particularly Nike SB which is enjoying yet another wave of popularity. It matters not to Busy – he’s been doing this for years. Just try and find another pair (or multiples in his case) of what he has.
With all the talk about Marie Kondo and throwing out anything that doesn’t spark joy to de-clutter, collecting baby shoes helps you cling onto your hoarder tendencies. An average adult’s shoebox fits at least three to four pairs of baby shoes in their boxes – and that’s a conservative figure. Look at busy: he fits six pairs of baby sneakers inside a large ziplock bag.
In Issue 37 of our magazine, Busy had over 200 pairs of vintage baby sneakers crammed into a tiny Hong Kong apartment, along with the rest of his shoe collection. Bonkers! In theory, an average shoe collection of 30 adult-sized pairs could take up the same space of an equivalent of up to 120 toddler pairs.
It’s so easy to hide kids shoes anywhere and everywhere. Wardrobes, shelves and drawers, under the bed, pantries, the shed. The list is endless. Hide kids shoes inside adult shoes. It’s that simple. Does a baby spark joy? Sometimes. Does a baby-sized shoe spark joy? Yes, definitely.
You don’t even need to have a baby to collect baby shoes. If you have a dog or other fur-baby, stick some shoes on them! Protect your precious pet’s feet, and stunt on other animals at the park, with last week’s release that you couldn’t get your size in. No pets? No worries. Throw out the dusty fluffy dice dangling from your rear-view mirror and stick on Chuck booties. Accompany your now-vintage childhood Tech Deck collection with some shrunken SBs. The possibilities are endless.
So, there you have it, just a handful of the plethora of reasons why collecting baby shoes is much more viable than adult ones. You’ll save money, space, sleep, and everything else that is vital to a productive life. Brands are only going to keep making kids shoes, and you can either be stuck in your ways signing up for the next raffle to lose, or embrace the bundle of joy otherwise known as baby shoes.