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The Serious World of the SneakerHeads

Updated on September 9, 2017
Stacie L profile image

Stacie L has been in the antiques and collectibles business most of her life.She learned from her mom, an antique dealer.

Shoe collectors

What is a Sneakerhead? This term refers to someone who collects the rarest names and designs in sneakers and the celebrities are paying big bucks for them.

To most of the public, the term would conjure an image of someone with a basketball sneaker for a head. But that's far from the truth. This phenomenon is one the the fastest growing secret collectibles of men ages 15-40. The new status symbol of acquiring the most detailed, unique and expensive sneaker is the goal of these collectors.

It's well known that women covet their special shoes and have many that they cherish, so to find out that guys do the same thing is surprising to me. The world of collecting unique sneakers has become more popular over the past few years among those in the sports and entertainment community. It's hard to believe that this hobby actually started in the late 1980s with the Hip-hop culture.

Each year there are sneaker collector conferences, get-togethers and summits. below is the latest convention of collectible shoes.

2017 Sneakerhead Summit

The Culture of Sneakerheads

Sneakerology 101

A Carnegie Mellon University basketball player actually taught a class titled, Sneakerology 101 . Elliot Curtis lead a credited class to teach about and possible explain the phenomenon of the sneaker collecting sub culture. I wonder if parents knew of and approved of their children taking this course? Curtis admits to scouring garage sales and store sales to find more for his collection.

Brands like Nike' s Airforce 1 design, AirJordans, Adidas, British Knights and Reebok were the main contenders. Nike recently celebrated their 25th anniversary in New York City, with Tinker Hatfield, one of Nike's leading designers. He leads the events and introduces his newest designs and along with Michael Jordan's endorsement, have pushed the company's sales and appeal over 800 million in Air Jordan's last year alone. Micheal Jordan has been Nike's spokesperson for 27 years and almost went with Adidas, but they couldn't match Nike's offer.

Chris brown-Sneakerhead
Chris brown-Sneakerhead

Sneaker Pimps Exhibition

Sneaker Pimps Exhibition in Atlanta ,Georgia
Sneaker Pimps Exhibition in Atlanta ,Georgia

Celebrity sneaker collectors

Adidas's Mark Echo designs limited edition shoes for collectors who pay premium prices and has a loyal following. Such well-known collectors like Rappers Reverend Run of Run DMC, Gwen Stafani, Jay-Z ,Chris Brown and Outkasts Big Boi.

But you don't have to be a celebrity or rolling in dough to buy these; ordinary citizens who can plunk down $500. to $2,000 per pair can have a rare collectible as well.

Some boast collections of over 200 in their collections. Some celebrities have whole apartments to store their pricey footwear!

At a recent Sneaker Pimps Exhibition in Atlanta, Georgia, the displayed one-of-a-kind creations were proudly hung on a fence like trash- very expensive trash! The exhibit travels with some shoe designed by companies such as Billionaire's Boys Club, Converse All-Stars, iPath Shearling and Reebok. Now high end fashion companies like Louie Vuitton, Prada, and Gucci are jumping in the area.

All these shoe and sneaker manufacturers cater to the high end clients that pay for custom designed, retro, vintage, limited-edition,artist-inspired and rare.

Miami Sneaker Convention 2011

Find older, popular sneakers

If you are a hardcore collector, then scouring thrift shops, garage sales, and dumpster may pay off for you.

The flea market is a good place to check for older sneakers, but you must be early to beat the competition. it's a good idea to study the characteristics of these highly sought after shoes before venturing out.

Go to sneaker resale and vintage shops. Get an education and maybe strike up a deal with the owner. Many will consign your items or pay a finders fee.

I've read some news articles about a few 12 year olds that have made $1200 in one day at the sneaker conventions.

If you are sharp,and business minded, a vintage sneaker business is a viable way to earn some extra cash.

Sneakerheads on CBS

Become a sneakerhead and make your own design

I don't know how people are affording these in this economic downturn but they are finding the money.

It's all about style, bragging rights and being unique in this male dominated fashion statement world.

It looks something like Beanie Babies or the Cabbage Patch Dolls craze, but since it has secretly been a collection frenzy since the eighties, I don't see it going away soon.

Online sites

If you are good at designs, then you can start a sneaker shop at the many new sites that allow that.

Who may start a new trend and a cult following.

Sneakerhead culture

Are you a secret sneakerhead collector?

See results

© 2010 Stacie L


Submit a Comment

  • Stacie L profile image

    Stacie L 3 years ago

    gamers prophet: You only have 4 pairs of sneakers? Are they collectibles? LOL

  • Stacie L profile image

    Stacie L 3 years ago

    yes peachpurple; men also like fashion,....some just don't want to admit it!

  • gamers prophet profile image

    steven fry 3 years ago from England

    I am well on my way :). I have 4 pairs of sneakers at this moment looking for my 5th.

  • peachpurple profile image

    peachy 3 years ago from Home Sweet Home

    I thought only females are sneskers keepers, never thought would too

  • Stacie L profile image

    Stacie L 8 years ago

    Thank you for your comments samsbr.

    I appreciate the feedback =)

  • samsbr profile image

    samsbr 8 years ago from USA

    I am always looking for your hubs. Again you are submitted most informative hub. Thank you very informative. Keep it up :)

  • Stacie L profile image

    Stacie L 8 years ago

    thanks for the comments BkCreative; actually there are other countries such as Australia and Indonesia that have the same interests .I am still finding information and may add it


  • BkCreative profile image

    BkCreative 8 years ago from Brooklyn, New York City

    Well this is new to me - so thanks for the information. I wouldn't mind a fun pair of sneakers. And isn't it interesting how a little creativity can create a whole following? I wonder if any other culture loves sneakers as much as folks in the U.S.

    Interesting hub - thanks again!