Sneakerheads pay big bucks for rare kicks (Nikes)

Joined Dec 20, 2008
OutKast's Big Boi is a junkie,has been for years.
The multiplatinum rap star got his first shoe fix back when he was better known as Antwan Patton, a busboy at Steak and Ale. He saved up his paychecks andrushed to a dealer to cop the only thing that could cure his jones -- a pair of British Knights tennis shoes.

"I've actually been into sneakers since I was a little kid," Big Boi, 34, said backstage before his concert this month at the Sneaker Pimpsexhibition in Atlanta. "You can really tell a lot about a person through the shoes, so I always like to keep me a fresh pair."

Sneaker culture has thrived for decades, but shoe companies have increasingly capitalized on the demand for one-of-a-kind kicks. Collectors, known assneakerheads, have lined up to pay hundreds, even thousands, of dollars to ensure few people are wearing the same shoes.

"Coming up, my mom got five kids so there wasn't a whole lot of stylish tennis shoes around the house, so I used to want a lot of sneakers,"Big Boi said, explaining that he started making up for lost time -- and shoes -- long before OutKast's 1994 debut,"Southernplayalisticadillacmuzik."

Juan Castaneda, 27, also grew up in a family of modest means and longed to don the fresh kicks he saw his peers wearing.

"When I got money to buy them, I started catching up," said Castaneda, who works at a nursing home in Hendersonville, North Carolina.

He estimates he owns about 200 pairs of sneakers, including a pair of Nike Air Jordan XIs with patent-leather trim called "Space Jams." They costhim $500.

It's supply and demand at its simplest, said Elliott Curtis, a former Carnegie Mellon University basketball player who for two semesters taughtSneakerology 101, billed as the first accredited class on sneaker culture.

Shoe companies create a limited number (say, a few hundred pairs) of shoes -- even if it's just an old model with new colors or materials -- and demandautomatically spikes.

"It's like a status symbol. If Nike is selling a shoe for $2,000, they're not expecting to sell that many," the recent graduate said,adding that sneakerheads are drawn to scarcity.

"If they've got money, they can buy coolness," Curtis said.

Curtis goes to garage sales and mom-and-pop stores seeking rare and retro sneakers for his 75-pair collection, but he concedes he's waited in line forlimited editions and paid as much as $250 for a pair.

Sporting an ultra-rare set of blue-and-red "Bugs Bunny" Nike Air Jordan VIIIs, Big Boi said he today boasts at least400 pairs of sneakers, but he rarely pays for them because shoe companies send him pairs.

His most expensive, a pair of crocodile-skin Nike Air Force 1s, sell on various auction sites for up to $1,800. Big Boi has never worn them, but he plans ontaking them out of their Nike lockbox this summer so he can wear them in a video for his upcoming solo album.

To Peter Fahey, the mastermind behind Sneaker Pimps shoe shows, Big Boi's enthusiasm is typical.

Sneaker culture got its start in New York in the 1970s, mostly among playground streetballers and practitioners of an emerging genre of music calledhip-hop. Over the next three decades, rappers and basketball players -- most notably, Run DMC and Chicago Bulls legend Michael Jordan -- would play integralroles in boosting the popularity of rare kicks.

"Run DMC were probably at the height of the whole movement. It was the first time music and sneakers crossed like this," Fahey said of thegroup's 1986 hit, "My Adidas."

Today, Adidas, Nike and Puma compete with luxury brands such as Chanel, Prada and Gucci. The major sports shoe companies also allow customers to designtheir own shoes. Upstarts such as San Francisco's JB Classics and Japan's Madfoot and KKOK have snatched up market share as well.

Shoe companies realize hip-hop's influence and work hard to get "a fresh pair of steps" on a rapper's feet. Earlier this year, Conversereleased a line of its iconic All-Stars in tandem with Chicago rhymesmith Lupe Fiasco. Nike has issued two versions of the Air Yeezy, inspired byrapper-producer Kanye West. Louis Vuitton also has teamed up with West.

Some lines, such as the Yeezys, quickly become collectors' items. Die-hard sneakerheads keep them in their original boxes like "Star Wars"action figures and ferret them away in closets, their soles never to be scuffed by a sidewalk.

Bryan Lyle, 22, of Stockbridge, Georgia, said he recently camped out three nights at an Atlanta boutique to get one of the shop's eight pairs of AirYeezys.

Lyle paid $300, a small fortune for shoes, but Castaneda said the price more than doubled within days. He got a pair of Yeezys from an eBay merchant in HongKong. The damage? $700.

Melissa Bailey of Hendersonville, North Carolina, takes photos at the Sneaker Pimps show.Castaneda's girlfriend, Melissa Bailey, 26, said Castaneda actually bought three pairs. He found two online and paid someone to camp out for the others. Castaneda's modus operandi is to buy three pairs of his favorite shoes -- one to wear, one to store for later and one to sell or trade, she said.

"He will not walk through grass. He will not walk through dirt," Bailey said.

Fahey held his first Sneaker Pimps show in Sydney, Australia, in 2003, but only 200 people showed up. Soon, however, tens of thousands would attend shows inmore than 60 cities. A 2006 show in Jakarta, Indonesia, drew about 13,000 sneakerheads.

The shows now feature between 1,000 and 1,500 shoes. Some are rare. Others are signed by celebrities. Hip-hop acts are a staple, as is artwork -- on bothkicks and canvas.

At this month's show, hundreds of sneaker enthusiasts filed through Atlanta's Tabernacle with the decorum of museum patrons, stopping to admire theshoes displayed on swaths of chain-link fence.

There were novice sneakerheads, such as Chris Shepherd, 20, and Charnelle Cook, 20, an Atlanta couple who marveled over the DC Comics and Transformerssneakers.

Asked about her multicolored hightops, Cook said, "I couldn't tell you what these are called. All I know is they're Reeboks, and they'refly."

There were seasoned collectors, such as Kyle Self, 35, of Decatur, Georgia, who said he had about 25 pairs, some of them still in their boxes, includingthree pairs of $400 low-top Pradas,which he called his "everyday sneakers."

There were even female collectors, such as artist Estasha Goodwin, 23, who modeled a pair of shimmering gold, winged -- yes, winged -- hightops made byAdidas and designer Jeremy Scott.

She complained that shoe companies too often focus on the male market and ignored female aficionados.

"When they do cater to us, it's always bubblegum pink. They don't even make them in our sizes," she said. "I know women who know moreabout sneakers than any dude out here today."

Incidentally, her favorite of the 15 pairs she owns were made for men -- the Nike "Ace of Spades" Dunks, inspired by the Detroit Tigers'high-kicking pitcher, Dontrelle Willis, who is prominently featured on the black-and-aqua shoe's hightop.

Asked why she shelled out $250 for them, she gave a familiar response: "It's a feeling you get when you know you're the onlyone that has something. Even if you're not, it's the way you walk it."
Joined Feb 14, 2003
Well golly-gee-willakers, I guess you couldn't tell by the ransom that some kicks go for on eBay huh?? It's a good thing you posted that article ornone of us would've known!!! Thanks buddy...
Joined Dec 20, 2008
i forgot everyone on NT is a genious and knows everything ....... to many followers on NT one smarta** reply turns into 3. I posted the story for a goodread...... dont get ur panties in a bunch.
Joined Sep 12, 2008
Originally Posted by Swerv1n

i forgot everyone on NT is a genious and knows everything ....... to many followers on NT one smarta** reply turns into 3. I posted the story for a good read...... dont get ur panties in a bunch.
C'mon man, I was just teasin'. You know my eyes are hella-tired from staying glued to these boards today.

Anyway, it doesn't take away from the fact that you were trying to post a good read. Thanks anyway, homie.

Originally Posted by RockDeep

But the joints in the picture are fake.....
Joined Mar 24, 2009

You always have good intentions... But at the same time your threads always seem to fail...

Can't knock you for trying. lol
Joined Sep 12, 2008

Last week Big Boi took the stage in his hometown of Atlanta to perform as the headlining act for the traveling sneaker show Sneaker Pimps in a pair of sneakers that raised some eyebrows in the crowd and later online. CNN covered the event and spoke to Big Boi in his one-of-a-kind "Bugs Bunny" Nike Air Jordan VIIIs.

Big Boi boasted to CNN that his collection stacks 400 pairs deep and that he rarely pays for his shoes as shoe companies send him pairs.

No official word has been released from Jordan Brand or Nike regarding their relationship with Big Boi, but I have a feeling that this pair of suspicious kicks did not come from Beaverton...


Joined Dec 28, 2002
Yeah.. my intent was not to bust out Swervn.. cause thats my man...

But I do know those Jays are as real as my relationship with Billy Hoyle..
Joined Dec 20, 2008
Originally Posted by The Game is a Foot

You always have good intentions... But at the same time your threads always seem to fail...

Can't knock you for trying. lol

but your trying to knock me.....dudes like u make NT a joke fa real. Dudes just bored wit no life waiting for a new thread to come in an talk sh** to gettheyre ego boost for the day. I think your replys always seem to fail. Maybe u guys get mad get mad cause u cant read....IDK.....
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