Getting to the sole of the matter

in Athletics

Shoes aren’t just for kicks, they are a form of self-expression

In the world of athletics, there has been a subculture that has been growing and expanding outside of the world of sports: sneaker culture. Sneaker culture first started in the ’70s but went into a larger demographic in the year 1985, when the first Air Jordan came out. This changed the sneaker world forever with the biggest sports star being the face of the campaign.

This birthed a generation of sneakerheads that paid $125 for a pair of shoes in the year 1985.

As sneakers have continued to grow in style, color wave and price, we can’t help but wonder what makes people want to buy so many shoes.

According to the Guinness Book of Records, the person with the most shoes, weighing in at 2,504 pairs of shoes, is Jordy Geller of Las Vegas. Some people have a tough time believing that one could own so many pairs of shoes and others ask the question, “What pairs does he have?”

We look at students on our campus and think, “Do we have any major sneakerheads on this campus?” The answer is yes, and you may come to realize you are a sneakerhead to a different degree.

The first place we went to look for sneakerheads was on the court and what we saw were some amazing kicks. Nike dominated the court with these pairs and we wondered what the coaches thought of their students wearing their own kicks on the court.

“It’s a fun way to express yourself and show some individual style”  Tim Beauregard, FPU Women’s Basketball Coach, said.

The student athletes have shown their style and it has been noticed on Twitter. The FPU Basketball Teams have a sneaker cam on twitter that is used to show off the pairs that our student athletes are wearing on the court. The #SunbirdSneakerCam is on twitter and was started by our very own Matt Mazzoni, Assistant Athletics Director for External Relations. Mazzoni began the sneaker cam because it is something that was started by the Los Angeles Lakers digital media team that later made its way to the whole NBA.

“Shoes allow them to express their style and promote their personal brand on the court, so I wanted to highlight them for something other than just how many points they scored that night.” said Mazzoni.

This has been reaching not only basketball players but baseball players as well and has made its way to FPU alumni. With so many athletes here on campus having strong shoe game, we can’t help but wonder if it stops there.

Playing a sport or not, there is a confidence that comes from wearing a pair of shoes that you’re comfortable in.”

We meet Isaiah Vega who is a sneakerhead here at FPU. Vega is a junior, communication major and cannot fit all of his shoes in his closet. Vega lives in an apartment and with 38 pairs of shoes, has three shoe racks in his room. Not all of his shoes are basketball shoes; there are also indoor soccer shoes, Vans and converse.

Vega has multiple ways of describing a sneakerhead, “A sneakerhead is someone who doesn’t care about someone else opinion when they buy shoes, they think about what’s cool to them and what they want on their feet”.

The individuality of the sneakerhead is show through the shoe regardless of what others think about them. People collect a certain type of shoe with every colorway. A colorway is the color, art or style on a specific type of shoe.

Vega also talks about the nature of sneakerhead. “The shoe is a statement and when you get to be about 18-19 years old, your foot stops growing and you will be able to have this shoe for years and years and years. You can’t say the same about shirts or pants.” said Vega.

The longevity of a pair of shoes is a part of what makes a sneakerhead a sneakerhead. As many people go through a pair of shoes every six months, sneakerheads like the challenge of making a shoe last a lifetime. “You know you’re a sneakerhead when you get a scuff on your shoe and you instantly get down and try to rub it out.” said Vega.

Like Vega said before, the shoes make a statement and that is a feeling all sneakerheads can relate with. The shoes make you feel a certain way and Vega said, “When players are on the court, they feel confident with what they have on their feet. They shoot the three and look at their shoes. Its the shoes that make you powerful.”

When talking about his first pair of Jordans, Coach Beauregard said, “ I just remember putting them on my feet and I just became better at basketball. Going into my driveway and shooting and dunking on a low hoop, and feeling like those shoes did it all for me. Playing a sport or not, there is a confidence that comes from wearing a pair of shoes that you’re comfortable in.”

Macklemore has a song called “Wings” that resonates with sneakerheads. “I started out, with what I wear to school. That first day, like these are what make you cool. And this pair, this would be my parachute. So much more than just a pair of shoes”

The shoes that make you feel confident is what being a sneaker head is.”

These shoes do not have to be basketball shoes; they can be boots, flats, heels and sandals. The shoes that make you feel confident is the way a sneakerhead feels.

The sneakerhead goes beyond sneakers. One could own 20 pairs of Vans and be considered a sneakerhead, one could own 20 pairs of heels and be considered a sneakerhead. It all depends on what your niche is.