For Dan Levy, sneaker collecting is a way to make up for lost time.
The 29-year-old standup comedian, a regular on E!’s “Chelsea Lately” show, has been collecting shoes since 2003 with an eye toward finding kicks that he couldn’t buy as a teenager. “Sneakers are very nostalgic,” Levy said. “They bring me back to when I was in high school and seeing everyone else wearing all their cool sneakers, while I only had one pair for the whole year.”
Now, with almost enough kicks to fill up a room in his apartment, Levy always makes sure to check out the local sneaker spots while on his comedy tour. For instance, during an off day in Portland, Ore., recently, he had the opportunity to tour Nike’s world campus, an experience he described as a “gym rat’s dream.”
“It was everything I hoped it would be. The buildings are all about fitness and exercise,” he said. “People literally step out of their office to go running.” Levy added that the best part of the visit was shopping the employee store, where he walked out with eight pairs of sneakers.
Currently on tour with fellow comedian Aziz Ansari, Levy is also about to release a comedy album this spring titled “Congrats on Your Success.” Footwear News caught up with the sneaker buff to talk about his best lines.
Pairs owned: More than 200
Brands owned: Jordan, Nike, Puma, Reebok, Salvatore Ferragamo, Tretorn
Best shopping spots: Flight Club, Niketown, Sportie LA, Undefeated
First pairs owned as a teenager: Nike Diamond Turf, Nike SC Trainers, Reebok pumps
Favorite pair: Air Jordan V in white and grape. “I remember being 10 years old and seeing someone wearing these as a kid, paired up with denim overalls, looking like he was part of the group Kris Kross, and thinking it was the coolest outfit ever.”
Shoes to wear onstage: “I have a nice pair of black Ferragamo dress shoes I wear with a suit. I also wear black Puma boots. Those are the only non-sneaker shoes I have. There is also a pair of Tretorns I have that aren’t really dress shoes, but they’re dressier than sneakers.”
Most paid for a pair: “Almost $500 for an original pair of red-and-black Air Jordan 11s.”
Most difficult pair to get: “I had to wait in line for a pair of Jordans in Inglewood, Calif., and there were people in line with guns. I thought, ‘Maybe I should just go on eBay and not get shot in the street over sneakers.’”
On shoe hoarding: “I travel a lot, so picking out sneakers when I have to go on the road is stressing. I always want to bring shoes I can look cool in but also wear to the gym. I also want to bring shoes that get me respect from other sneakerheads when I’m walking down the street.”
If I could only wear one pair: “I would probably wear the Nike Air Trainer Max 91s because those are shoes that I could wear out every day, but I can also work out in them.”
Best shoes for a workout: Nike Air Max 95 or Nike Free
Philosophy for a good get: “It’s always worth picking up a hot release as soon as it comes out because [consumers] in the sneakerhead community will always jack up the prices right after, which is insane.”
Dream job: “I’d love to be the first comedian to endorse a sneaker brand.”