By Jalen Thornley
When the Nike Air Jordan’s were first released to the public in 1985, nobody knew if the shoes would sell, and in an effort to sugar coat the risks, Michael Jordan was given a deal that allowed him to void his contract if the shoes failed to make more than three million dollars in sales over the first three years. However, Nike made one hundred and thirty million dollars in just the first year, putting the Jordan brand in a position to revolutionize the shoe industry.
Since that first release, the brand has attracted fans from across the world to visit shoe shops in search of the newest shoes that Michael Jordan himself would wear on the court. Many people love these sneakers, but nobody has accomplished more in the collecting game than Portland-based sneakerhead, Jordan Michael Geller.
In the early 2000’s, Geller began buying and then selling sneakers online as a way to explore his love of sneakers. He has bought and sold more than 100,000 pairs of sneakers and in 2010 he opened ShoeZeum, “the world’s first sneaker museum.” Jordan Geller was also featured in the 2013 Book of Guinness World Records as the owner of the world’s largest sneaker collection.
In an email exchange, Jordan Geller wrote that he buys shoes for many reasons, but “mainly because they are cool”, and also because he feels that they are “the coolest way for guys to express themselves through clothing.” Why does the younger generation buy sneakers? The Dragon asked d.tech students, to find out.
Junior, Alex Kawamoto, stated that he buys shoes based on a player, specifically LeBron James, who, similar to Jordan, has his own sneaker line. Although the name brand is something that many self-dubbed sneakerheads look at, some people like Tim Gonzalez, also a junior at d.Tech, look for “comfort, and a minimal design” in casual shoes, but when looking at basketball shoes, look for a “herringbone traction pattern along with a flyknit like upper with flywire for a good secure lockdown.”
Other students at d.tech, such as Malakhi Martinez, Elian Mendoza Davis, and Tyler Chan, all stated that color was one of the most impactful if not the most impactful detail when buying the shoe.
Some sneaker fans, however, still share similar opinions with Jordan Geller. Juniors, Julian Waterwash and Lucas Wieser, look at details such as the “hype” around the shoes, and how cool they are. Waterwash stated that his favorite shoes are the ones that are stylish, and look good when he wears them.
The shoe game as an industry is continuously evolving, and according to Geller, “Sneakers have become a lot more mainstream in recent years… So many more people are into buying and reselling and collecting them than ever before.” Sneaker conventions are popping up around the globe, with events like SneakerCon gaining traction in the United States. In 2011, Sneaker Con opened for the weekend in Washington D.C. and attracted people from all over the East Coast, and according to sneakercon.com “an estimated 5,000 pairs of shoes” were exchanged over the course of the weekend event.
With all the new people joining the sneaker game, shoe releases are becoming huge online and in-store events, with students such as Chris Ung on the lookout for the newest releases. The sneaker industry has opened doors for many fans of shoes around the world to make money by buying and selling items that they love, and the industry continues to be on the rise.