Tell me about the one pair of shoes from your collection you could not live without
For me, it always comes down to a battle between the Jordan XI "Space Jam" and the Nike Presto, which I ended up choosing. We've been through a lot together - from the initial acquisition more then 5 years ago, to spilling white nail polish all over them in 2013 and then somehow restoring them to (almost) original condition. Do you know how hard it is to find a red Nike Presto in XXXS? I think that's when I realized how important these were to me, when I thought I lost them for good and could not find a replacement pair.
How did you obtain them?
I found them by complete fluke at an outlet store. I want to say it was in Buffalo, NY. My family used to go there pretty regularly and I looked forward to hunting for goodies I knew they didn't have in Canada. I had been wanting a pair of red Prestos for a while, but at the time, I didn't really know how to look for sneakers. It wasn't as easy as doing an internet search. Although NT, FSF and Ebay existed, the community wasn't as connected. Anyway, I was doing my usual walkthrough of the back wall and I spotted these babies in a XXXS. I know that sounds tiny, but they're still at least one full size too big for me. However, I knew that was as good as it was gonna get, so I grabbed them. I think I paid like $50.
What were some influences that led you to collect sneakers?
My Dad planted the seed really early. He was heavy into basketball and sneakers and I grew up during the Michael Jordan era. He was my idol for a really long time. I got my first pair of Jordans (the OG Oxidized Green XIVs) in the fourth grade when I joined the basketball team. Since basketball culture is so heavily connected with sneaker culture, it was a slippery slope that developed my obsession. After that, it was Vince Carter, so I grabbed a bunch of AND1s and then eventually the red VC Shox. They were $300 and I was only 12 years old, but somehow I convinced my pops to get them for me despite being two sizes too big. Music also played a big role, because I emulated people like Sporty Spice and Aaliyah - baggy jeans, sneakers and crop tops - which is not too far from how I dress now. When I was 16, I got my first job at Foot Locker and then moved on to Nike. Eventually, I branched out into more running and performance sneakers and really took an interest in the technology aspect. As I got older, I took interest in the media side of it as well so sneakers really built a lot of who I am today.
Walk us through your ideal collaboration
My ideal collaboration would be a minimal pack, which also happens to be a trend this year. I'm a huge sucker for a white midsole and a solid upper with a cool unexpected material. I'm a pretty simple person, I think. I like understated sneakers. I'm thinking maybe an AF1 mid. (This just gave me some NikeID ideas...)
Are there any sneakers that stick out in your mind from your childhood?
I wore a lot of sneakers as a kid. I wore red Nike Air Bakins and Air Maxes a lot - and always with Nike crew socks. My Sporty Spice phase started in the mid-to-late 1990s and never really stopped. The one pair that really sticks out in my mind is the silver Air Max 97. It's a terrible story but also kind of funny: I found them at the Nike outlet and tried to steal them. Actually, I managed to make it out of the store and around the corner but I felt so guilty that I smuggled them back in. Ironically, the security guard was watching me and in my mind I was like "noooo, I am not stealing them, I'm returning them!"
Don't steal, folks.
Was there a pair of sneakers you remember growing up that you were not able to afford?
I did okay growing up; my parents kept me laced. However, since I was a kid and not making my own money, I also couldn't get everything I wanted. I mean, I'm 26 now and making my own money and I still can't buy everything I want. One sneaker that stands out in my mind is the Jordan "Taxi" XII. My dad and I disagreed on them so he didn't buy them for me. For years I lusted over them. I came across resellers but just couldn't bite the bullet - even at $120. When they re-released in 2014 I made sure to pick up a pair. I've worn them once. In the snow.
What's your most recent pickup?
I don't pick up as many sneakers as I want to these days because a) adulthood and b) it's so hard to get the sneakers I want so a lot of times I don't bother unless I can walk into a store and just get them like that. I can't even remember the last pair I bought for myself. I think it was the triple white Huaraches. I know they dropped last year in Europe but I never saw a Canada release. I thought about making a pair on NikeID but I put it off for so long that I ended up not needing to.
What’s one grail that continues to elude you?
I pretty much own my grails (I don't have many) but I am missing a lot of stuff. I think right now, among all the sneakers I wish I had, I'm really fixated on the light pink adidas x Raf Simons Stan Smiths. I've been obsessed with them for months and when they finally hit Canada, they didn't come in my size. It's also not really a big reseller shoe so if anyone ever comes across a size 5, holla!