#Sneakerhead Soundoff

Behind the scenes of the #FNsneakertakeover photo shoot, avid collectors wear their own favorite shoes and speak out on how they get their kicks.

DJ CLARK KENT, 48, music producer, brand consultant
On his singular approach: “I believe firmly that everybody likes sneakers. I call it a community. I am probably one of the very few who feel this way. There is no sneaker god. I just call myself a sneaker lover. I guess I am famous for having a lot of sneakers and a lot of really cool ones. They are just shoes to me. Because of that, there is a level of realness to me that people and brands connect to.”

VICTOR CRUZ, 28, wide receiver, New York Giants
On the enduring appeal of Jordans: “It has a story. People link the shoes to championships and a time in their lives. Culturally, it’s been everywhere and is still relevant, from Spike Lee movies to sports. In our community growing up, they were put on such a pedestal — that never leaves you. The energy you get from buying your first pair, you want to feel that again, that’s why people continue the chase.”

STACEY GRIFFITH, 46, senior master instructor, SoulCycle
On how her sneaker habit has evolved: “I’ve always been a #sneakerhead because I was an athlete — I had to have the newest and best high-top for basketball, the best cleat for softball and soccer. I didn’t get into designer sneakers until I moved to New York in 2006. Having access to stores like Barney’s and Bergdorf Goodman, which have such a vast variety, I was like a kid in a candy store, but with shoes.”

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MACHE, 35, sneaker artist, Mache Custom Kicks
On his work: “Give me a shoe and an idea, and I’ll do artwork. NBA players, NFL guys and rappers all wear my creations. I’ve been doing it for 11 years, but custom shoes have really come to the forefront recently as things like NikeID have become a big commodity. LeBron [James] has worn my shoes during games. It’s one of those ‘holy crap’ moments. I’m on pins and needles hoping the paint doesn’t scuff off.”

BRITTANY SKLAR, 27, violinist and teacher
On kicks and the classical music scene: “My [fellow] musicians don’t really understand, but they are very open since they’re super-artistic themselves. They think it’s cool that there is something different about me. I’ve worn Asics and Jordans under my performance gown.”

, co-founder, Team Epiphany, and his son, ELLINGTON CURTIS, 3
Coltrane on his passion: “The fact that my parents never allowed me to have a ton of sneakers and that I played basketball brought me closer to sneaker culture. Now that I can buy them on my own, I’m dedicated.”

@GIMME2Pairs, 25
, designer, sneaker customizer
On her advice to sneaker brands: “Quit doing just pink and purple for girls. Most of the sneakers I own are men’s because of this.”

Russ Bengtson, 43
, senior staff writer, Complex
On the changing sneaker market: “The paths between designer and street fashion didn’t used to cross so much. Now with the resale market, people have gotten used to spending upwards of $500 on a pair of shoes.”

Adam Gage @SoleyGhost, 31
, designer and owner, East Coast Boutique
On the impact of sneakers on his life: “I probably have 600 to 800 pairs. I started collecting 15 years ago in high school. It’s just my passion. I feel like sneakers are the thing that complete your outfit. When I get dressed, I actually start from the sneaker up. “

Abdul Fouzi, 38, IT strategist, and his daughter, Sophia Fouzi, 2.5
On continuing his #sneakerhead legacy: “In [Sophia’s] lifetime, she has had about 200 pairs. The infrared Nike Air Max 90 means a lot to me, as it was the first pair of sneakers I bought when I came to America. They recently released them in toddler sizes, and I bought her a whole size run. She’ll be wearing them till she’s about 8 or 9.”

@_Mayor_, 42, design consultant
On his collection: “I stopped counting at 2600 …”

, founder, LTD Media
On forgoing fads: “I wear what I like, not what the trends are. I don’t care what’s coming out next. A lot of the “new releases” I already have because they are basically retro reissues. I like classic stuff — I’d rather wear an old Jordan than a new style.”

, co-founder and publisher, Freshness Mag; publisher, Sneaker News; founder, Sneaker Con
On housing his kicks: “My sneaker collection is in the 1,300 to 1,600 range. I have a pretty big place in Brooklyn and I live by myself, so I turned my living room and dining room into a closet. It’s all sneakers.”

@DAMNNERICKA, 22, channel host and sales associate, YouTube
On sneaker versatility: “I love that you can wear them with anything. You can go super-girly and throw on a pair with a dress, or go comfy and just wear sweats.”

, designer and store owner, Sui Generis
On early sneaker memories: “I became interested in sneakers in the third or fourth grade. Then it was all about Air Jordans when you were playing basketball. I looked up to people like him and @_MAYOR_. Now, I probably have around 3,000 sneakers. I have a loft in Pittsburgh, most of them are there, and I also have storage. I try to wear them all.”


AIR KARINA, 32, manager, HypeFeet
On the next generation: “My son has around 200 pairs of shoes. He’s 8 and he thinks he’s the king of the world. He tells me LeBron [James] is his version of Michael Jordan.”

TARIK WEST, 40, VP of human resources, Penske Media Corporation
On statement-making shoes: “I started collecting around 20 years ago. It was a cultural thing, I grew up in the city. I went to private school for most of my life, and it was a way to stand out — you had your uniform on, but could throw a pair of sneakers on. I was all about Adidas and the Air Jordans — 1, 2 and 3.”

WENDY LAM, 31, founder, Nitro:licious

On her expanding arsenal: “I first started collecting Air Max 95, I had almost all the colors. Then I grew into Air Force 1 and Air Jordan. I have about 500 pairs of sneakers, and it grows by the day. Air Jordans are my favorites. It has a good history behind it, and they just go with everything.”

, employee, SneakerRoom 

On her influences: “I had five older brothers who played sports, which was a huge part of [becoming a sneaker collector]. My mom hated it. She wanted me to be a little princess, and all I wanted to do was play basketball. But now she loves and will go to sneaker events with me.”

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