Sneaker Heads


photo by Alexis Madlang

Sneaker collectors are commonly known as “sneaker heads”. They are members of a community passionate about collecting and in some cases selling stylish name-brand shoes. Illustration by Alexis Madlang.

Walking into a closet full of her mother’s shoes, senior Amaya Estevez searches for the best pair to try on. But, instead of stumbling around in oversized wedges or heels, Estevez is tripping over the laces of vintage Jordans.
“Needless to say I was in awe and knew my collection had to look exactly like that,” Estevez said.
Estevez grew up surrounded by a sneaker-loving community and was inspired to start her own collection. Collectors are commonly known as “sneaker heads,” and Estevez started her collection when her mom passed down the sneakers she had as a teenager. She plans to carry this tradition on for her own children.
“Collecting sneakers is a passion of mine and brings me genuine happiness,” Estevez said. “I love that sneakers can often be conversation starters with other sneaker lovers and can lead to interesting discussions and debates.”
Although Estevez has inherited many pairs from her mother or gets them as birthday and Christmas gifts, her favorite place to get new shoes is online, especially since there are not many retail stores nearby.
Estevez takes to for most orders, but when she wants them cheaper, she has to be online as soon as the shoes drop. Sometimes websites or apps lag because a lot of people are trying to buy certain shoes, but as long as the window is not refreshed and she is early, a pair of those sneakers are almost guaranteed.
“When I’m really determined, I ask my mom and sister to all get on the website on their devices and try to get them if I was not able to,” Estevez said. “I always think about the clothes in my closet and what would match with those pairs before purchasing.”
Although Estevez has an endless supply of shoes for any occasion, she recognizes her passion comes with its fair share of controversy, from the inconvenience of limited space for all of her sneakers, to the high expense of her passion. Junior Sophia Leggiero has similar problems, including people hating on her shoes, but she has a response for the haters.
“Shoes are my interest. Some people enjoy collecting stuffed animals or magazines because it’s their hobby and something they love spending time on—same thing with shoes for me,” Leggiero said.
Over time, as sneakers cycle through being trendy, brands such as Nike Dunks and Air Jordan 1s can become very expensive. To aspiring sneaker heads, Estevez suggests to begin by tracking when sneakers will be released and get on the website at that exact date and time, such as on Nike’ SNKRS site. GOAT and STOCKX are the most popular to use among members of the sneaker community. Both sites have almost every shoe a collector might want. On STOCKX, collectors send and sell shoes to the company, then the shoes go under condition checking to see if they are eligible to put on the website and resell. From there, collectors can place bids on the shoes until they are sold. She also advises to save up money and do research on sneakers so the buyer does not regret the purchase later on.
Sophomore Justin St. John shares similar advice for new collectors. He suggests people start small with a couple pairs and not spend too much money in the beginning. He believes it truly takes time to grow a collection, even when buying sneakers is what he spends all of his money on.
“I bought a couple of nice pairs and I kind of fell in love with the culture and sneakers themselves,” St. John said.
While he has 75 pairs now, St. John still tries to wear every pair, but gets scared about wearing shoes that are still expensive. To supply his expenses, St. John sells what he already owns. He once sold $1,400 worth of football cards just to buy one pair of shoes.
“I spend so much money on shoes instead of anything else because I love to buy them, not just to collect but also to wear,” St. John said. “There is [nothing] much better than wearing a new pair of shoes for the first time.”