What is it with Euro cats and their stellar vintage collections? We'd thought we'd seen it all in Issue 12 of Sneaker Freaker, but dig deeper into the backrooms of Spain's sneaker treasure troves and you'll find Jumi and his ridiculous crate of fire. Whether you love Jordans, Nike running kicks, Converse, adidas or Reebok, Jumi has you covered - head to toe in OG boxes and flavours. We spoke to the circus-slash-sneaker-freak about his killer collection and got his thoughts on the old retro vs vintage debate. Read on and hit our Limited Editions article to see more.
Waddup Jumi, how's things these days in Spain? You guys seem to have a pretty healthy sneaker scene jumping off over there!
Hi there! Well, the sneaker scene in Spain has been growing up over the last couple of years. As time passes, more and more people jump on the sneaker train. There are lots of young people fostering the sneaker scene such as the Spain Kicks crew. But it can't stop here, I think everyone needs to reinvent this game, creating new ideas to improve sneaker culture development.
What is it with you Euro cats and your killer vintage collections? Is there a massive stockpile of old school runners over there that no one is telling the rest of the world about?
Haahaha, I wish! Japanese hunters did a good job showing us where to cop many years ago. I've found many places where they bought whole stocks of vintage stuff.
I ask because most of the heads we interview are based in either the UK or EU...why do you think the European collectors get so serious about their vintage game?
It's true, there have been large findings of vintage kicks and there are lots of crazy collections here. In my case, I have found some old sporting goods stores where I get most of my grails, and what moves me trying to find those jewels is love, 100% pure sneaker love.,
How did you get into collecting?
I've been crazy about sneakers since I was a kid, and thanks to my mother I used to rock fantastic kicks by that time. But above all the rest, three kicks have constantly stayed in my mind - the Nike Air Jordan 1 Metallic Blue, Converse All Star Celtics and the Nike Air Alpha Force II. But it wasn't until 1999 (more or less) when I decided I wanted to find a pair of Air Jordan 1s again, as it had been my favourite model since 1985. By that time I didn't even know that anyone else was into collecting old sneakers. I used to think I was the only crazy man doing it. To tell you the truth, back then I only thought about getting the kicks I had years before. But as the time passed I wanted more and more and more till now...
Is your collection strictly vintage?
Yes and no, although as I look back over my time searching for vintage sneakers, I'm now more open-minded and I don´t say no to new designs and technologies. I also own and love new running kicks such as Lunars and Pegasus or different fantastic new collaborations - but I don't consider them as a part of my collection, so yes it's strictly vintage.
You've said that every sneaker in your collection has a story... and with over 600 pairs you could write a book! Tell us about some of the more exclusive or rare kicks in your crate and how you eventually stumbled across them...
Right, I have lots of stories... some of them are quite funny. Five years ago I was working for one of the biggest circuses here in Europe: Gran Circo Mundial. We used to visit many different cities during the year. By the time we reached our Canary Islands' stop, we had to take a ship to get there. My car was full of vintage sneakers I had found that year and when I was ready to pass the Police's control, they stopped me asking me to remove all the boxes out of the car. Then they started examining the manufacturing data and they accused me of trading with fakes as they didn't know they were old kicks and they had different tags than those produced nowadays. I spent hours explaining to them that it was old stuff I had found in the cities the circus had visited during that year.
Haha, awesome! Doesn't it kill you that you can't wear pretty much wear any of your collection? How satisfied are you with them lying in their boxes in your room?
That's not exactly what I do. I mean, most of them are deadstock and I feel really good when I open the boxes and see they are in perfect condition and they still smell as they did the first day they dropped. But that doesn't mean I don´t wear any of them. Whenever I want to wear a pair I do it. But to be honest, I enjoy both - rocking and stocking.
Fair enough! With so many reissues hitting shelves these days, do you find yourself torn between searching for the OG while the retro is so easily available?
If you don't want to spend your time searching for the OGs it's not a bad option. Also it's good for those old ones you can't wear, for example last summer I got the Air Mariah - it's cool to be able to wear that particular model as the OGs are not wearable anymore. But for me, there's no comparison between old kicks and the reissues of these old classics: the leather, the laces, the tongues, the cushioning...
Exactly right. Have you noticed the demand for vintage waning now that retros are dropping like flies onto the scene? Are people still interested in searching for shoes they could eventually never wear over a replica they could rock with no probs?
Sure, as time passes, I find more and more people interested in vintage sneakers. It´s a kind of fetishism or a feeling to be able to go back to the past owning a piece that had a special meaning for someone 20 or 30 years ago.
What are your thoughts on the retros that drop, like the AJKO (we notice you have an original pair!) and the AJ 1 Metallics (those blue bangers must have cost a small fortune!)
My question is, why did they place the AJ1 sole in the AJKO? And why is the Jumpman on the tongue instead of Nike? Everybody knows the answer to these questions - it's the same for the AJ Metallics. There are many other reissues where they have been faithful to the original piece. So, not all is negative.
Are you like most vintage heads and go equally bananas over the OG boxes? What is it about the boxes that get you excited?
It's not only the boxes, but also the papers inside the boxes, the leaflets, everything was made with special care. Just take a pair of Nike Pegasus GX and examine that black and gold box, with the black and gold paper inside. Look at that booklet with silver letters on the cover. And what is more exciting, it´s still intact after 25 years. No need for more explanation!
Right on! Tell us about the time you bought over 300 pairs of sneakers in the one haul...
I found an old store that was closed for 12 years. There were around 380 pairs, out of which I was interested in not more than 120-130. But the only option the owner gave me was to buy the entire stock, so I got a big van and took them home. After examining all of them I made a kind of market at home selling like 200 pairs in one week...
Were you able to sell the others off quite easily?
Yes, more than I thought. There were only a couple of problems with disintegrated soles, but as I sold them at really cheap prices nobody complained.
Do you think you'll eventually let go of the entire collection, or will you be buried with your vintage treasures!
You never know, but I don't think I would ever sell my entire collection. Nevertheless I don't think too much about the future, but it would be fun to have a big grave full with all my treasures so I´ll have kicks for my next three lives...
What's the next grail you're after... and the one that got away?
As for vintage, there are some pairs I'm really interested in: Hawaii, Black Toe, Mieka... in fact, there are lots. My last acquisition was the Skyforce Hi Patent, but there´s something else hidden waiting for me somewhere in Spain - you know, Fernando. Oh and can I say hi to my Mother and brother, Isa and friends???
Thanks to our good mates at Spain Kicks for the info and heads up on Jumi!