I Got 33 Problems, But My Kicks Ain’t One
Hey guys, hope everyone is doing well this week. Before I get started, I just wanted to let you know that this is going to be one of the most in-depth and fun blogs that I will write. The topic of my shoes is something that I am really passionate about and I will admit, I am extremely addicted. So let’s get it started!
For the past 3 years, I have been collecting shoes of all kinds that appeal to me. But that’s not when I first began being interested in shoes. I can vividly remember being in 3rd grade and Zach Fritts, my friend’s brother, having the Nike Shox BB4. It was the newest of Nike Basketball’s top shoe line and I had to have that shoe. Zach’s best friend also had this shoe but in another color and I was determined to find them. However, my shoe size was still that of a kid and I could not wear the adult sizes that the BB4 only came in. I was so upset, almost heartbroken, because I had seen this shoe on numerous athletes including Vince Carter and various college basketball teams in the early 2000’s. So I guess you can say the Nike Shox BB4 started my addiction.
Let’s fast forward to my 5th-6th grade years when I was at the peak of my basketball career. LeBron James was arriving in the NBA at this point and I wore his first signature shoe, the Nike Air Zoom Generation, for my basketball games. Also at this point in time, my dad was traveling overseas to China for work and he would tell me how cheap the shoe prices were in the city. I begged him to return with shoes for me, as the kicks ranged from $10-20. Adding all the trips together, I can remember my dad bringing home the Jordan II, Jordan XX, Nike Shox R4, Nike Shox NZ, and multiple other Nike shoes. I was so excited about having all these shoes, even though their prices added together were probably cheaper than one pair from the U.S.! However, as I began to learn more about the shoe game, I realized that these shoes from China were all fake and were not as coveted as I thought.
So let’s fast forward one more time to the summer of 2008. I had various shoes that I wore for basketball or casual wear but I found a website on the internet that attracted hours of my attention. The site was called Nike Talk, and is home to one of the largest shoe-based message boards out there. I started reading the different topics people discussed on there and some of the terms were very familiar, while others such as Concord, Foamposite, and OG seemed to be in another language. So I convinced my mom to buy me a pair of Jordan VIII Aquas and when they arrived, I knew that I would not be able to stop my shoe addiction. I studied Nike Talk day in and day out, hoping that I would learn more about the sneaker community and to find more shoes. Over the past 3 years, I have acquired a total of 33 (and counting) pairs of shoes that I consider part of my collection. Other shoes not in my collection include shoes I wear daily, flip flops, and baseball specific shoes. I have ordered shoes from online, in store, and over the phone. I have waited in line for hours at a time and also been unsuccessful in acquiring certain kicks. Today, I am familiar with most employees in the Hanes Mall Footlocker/HOH and some days I will just walk in the store to chat it up with these guys. Well let’s get to the stories of some of the shoes that hold the most value (not $$ related value) to me.
Jordan VII “Hare” – I purchased these in the fall of 2008 from the South Chicago Nike Outlet over the telephone. I was looking on Nike Talk and found that these were available at the outlet as B grades. B grades are shoes that have a minor flaw that are not sold to the public and are normally sent to Nike Outlet stores. When I received them, there were only minor flaws so I was thrilled with my purchase!
Jordan XI/XII Countdown Package – Christmas 2008. This was one of the craziest releases I can remember. I stayed on the computer for 4 hours before the online midnight release of these shoes, and once the clock hit midnight I frantically attempted to order them. However I was unsuccessful and was forced to try my luck at the mall the next morning. I got up at 6 and went to the mall where I was once again shut out. My size, 13, is not highly produced as some sizes, but is in high demand in many southeastern states. But, I overheard a phone call stating that the Footlocker at Northridge Shopping Center had one size 13 left and another kid and I were going for it. My dad and I raced to our car and beat them to the store by a couple of minutes and copped (bought) the last size 13! I know that kid and his mom were mad, but that’s part of the game.
Jordan XI “Space Jam” – Christmas 2009. Another highly sought after shoe because Michael Jordan wore this model in the movie Space Jam. This shoe was releasing at midnight at the Four Seasons Mall Footaction and I called the store at 7:30 PM to see if anyone was waiting in line. About 15 people were already there, so my dad and I raced to Greensboro. When we got there, he went to Finish Line to wait in line where he was 7th and I went to Footaction where I was 20th. After 4 hours of waiting in line, my dad was able to get the coveted size 13 for me, but I was unsuccessful in my line. I did, however, buy a size 12 and ended up selling them to a friend and made $60 extra bucks.
Kobe VI “Grinch” – Christmas 2010. This shoe was made popular for its bright green/yellow color scheme and was worn by Kobe Bryant in his Christmas Day game. On December 24th at midnight, I attempted to buy these from nike.com. However, they sold out within 5 minutes and I was left to either phone order from Eastbay on Christmas morning or try my luck at HOH in the mall on the 26th. I tried the Eastbay method, and at 8:00 AM on Christmas morning, I used 4 cell phones to try and get through the busy Eastbay lines. After 85 minutes of being on hold, I finally got through and ordered my size 13. All sizes were sold out by 10:00 so I was very lucky.
Jordan I “Banned” – May 2011. This release was more different than any other shoe release in Nike history. This shoe was originally set to release with features that ended up being scratched, however many pairs of the Banned I’s were already produced. So Jordan Brand decided to release these at select Nike Outlets across the country, a first for the company. Being my last semester of high school and nothing going on at school since AP Exams were over, I convinced my parents to let me skip school and stand in line for these shoes. Some sneakerheads started waiting at midnight, but I arrived at 7:30 AM for the 10:00 opening and I was around 35th in line. I was able to get my shoes and this was one of the most fun releases that I have bought.
As you can see, shoes are a passion for me and something I enjoy greatly. Some girls like to collect pocketbooks or guys collecting video games, but shoes are for me. You might wonder how I am able to afford these shoes. I have saved money from past Christmas and birthdays that I have used to invest in my kicks. My parents have also rewarded me for certain actions and successes and I want to thank them for everything they have done for me. I hope to continue collecting shoes and as I add new shoes to the collection, I will update this post. Thanks for reading and stay tuned for the next blog post!
P.S. – My dad still has a pair of original (OG) Air Jordan I’s from 1985. 26 years later and these shoes are still in his closet and in wearable condition.
Shoe Collection Stats
15 pairs of Jordan’s (I, II, 2 III’s, 2 VII’s, VIII, 3 XI’s, XII, 2 XIII’s, XXI, 2009)
17 pairs of Nike’s (3 LeBron’s, 3 Foamposites, 2 Kobe’s, Griffey’s, Pippen’s, Air Maxes, and various other retros)
1 pair of New Balance
= 33 pairs of shoes (1 not pictured)