I’ve been a sneakerhead as far back as I can remember. Even before I could actually afford sneakers, I was totally enthralled with them. The designs. The concepts. The stories. I made it a point to learn everything that went into making a sneaker come to life, and searching for opportunities to add my own fingerprint on the culture.
And as I got older, and I began engaging, and participating, in the sneaker community more and more, I realized that not only did we all share this same trait, but we also shared similar experiences. This is what connects us while also making us individually unique.
I remember when it was cool to wait in line for a sneaker release. One of the fondest aspects of standing in those lines was the story swapping between those of us waiting to secure that day’s sneaker release. It’s those stories that add to the nostalgia, and gives each sneaker that sentimental value attributed by it’s owner. And so, it is within that vein that I attempt to recreate that essence, and bring that part of sneaker culture back to life.
This first story, of many to come, was sent by a good friend of mine on Instagram, @BuckeyeCitySole. It reads…
“I was in the 4th grade, and my parents had recently split. In an effort to cushion the blow from their impending divorce, both of my parents began buying me things to pacify me. My mother loved–and still loves–going to the mall. She dragged me to damn near every mall in northern Ohio.
Now, I had had Nike shoes before, but not $85.00 Nikes; which is what children’s Air Jordans were going for at that time. And before that–in the interest of full disclosure–my mother had bought me a pair of knockoff Air Jordan 4s from Kinney Shoes. Lol, I think they were called Stadia’s. Anyway, about a week later, my mom drags me to the mall and we stop by Foot Locker. And when I say Foot Locker, I mean the old school Foot Locker with the hoop and backboard in the store.
I picked up an Air Jordan 4 that was on display, and jokingly asked my mom if I could get them. Now as I mentioned earlier, I had just gotten a pair of shoes the previous week–albeit a knockoff, Stadia pair of Jordan 4s–so even though I asked, I didn’t think there was a chance that she’d say yes. To my surprise, she responded with ‘See if they have your size.’ THEY DID!! And I got them.
Fast forward to the very next day, I had to wake up early to do a report on Michael Jordan–ironically enough–that I had procrastinated writing. ALL OF A SUDDEN, the fire alarm goes off downstairs. My mom tried to put the fire out, but couldn’t. She instructed me to get out of the house and head to my neighbor’s. As I fled, I made sure to grab my Jordan 4s on my way out. I made it to my neighbor’s house in time to watch the fire department extinguish the fire at my home.
Our whole laundry room was torched, and there was smoke damage throughout our house. But I had my Js, and my mom was safe. This is why the ‘Black Cement’ Air Jordan 4 is so sentimental to me, and why they are my absolute favorite sneaker of all time.”
I love hearing stories like this, minus the family home almost burning to the ground. But I would be remiss if I didn’t point out a couple of things from his story. One, that despite his home being on fire, and the impending threat of injury or death, he had the presence of mind to rescue his Air Jordan 4s, and yet, was willing to just let those Stadia knockoffs burn into oblivion. Two, as he’s looking back on the fire damage, and he’s counting his blessings, his mother seems like an afterthought to the safety and well-being of his Air Jordan 4s.
If you have a story centered around a pair of sneakers that you love, submit them to me via email at [email protected], or by following me at @afrikan_caesar on Instagram, and sending your story to my DM. I’ll post the best one each Friday right here on Sneaker Bar Detroit, and I’ll read it on-air on an episode of The Sneaker Box Podcast.
And also, remember to send a corresponding picture along with each of your sneaker stories. I look forward to telling them soon… #sneakerhead