Tell us about the one pair of sneakers you couldn't live without?
I couldn't live without my Air Jordan 1 Bred (2013). I grew up watching Michael Jordan and the Chicago Bulls so the iconic red and black colourway holds a special place in my heart. To me, these are everything that makes a great sneaker just that — they have an interesting back story being that they pretty much pioneered sneaker marketing with the whole "banned" debacle; they have character and yet they are timeless. I wear these shoes all year with everything from jeans to shorts to dresses and they always look great. I also think it's kind of dope that these sneakers first came out the year I was born and yet they are still so stylish and relevant today.
How did you come across them?
The first time I saw these shoes was on a poster of Michael Jordan when I was a young kid. I'll never forget how cool MJ looked with his Breds and gold chain; I definitely wanted to #belikemike. I started really getting interested in sneakers around 2006, so the 2013 release was the first chance I had to own them. I was living in Calgary at the time and I contacted every store to see if they'd be getting GS sizes and nobody was. I had pretty much begrudgingly accepted the fact I would have to try my luck with online releases, but then Anna (@atothebed) actually helped me with getting these! I'm pretty sure she camped out at some random store outside of Toronto for them; forever grateful to her for that!
What led you to sneaker collecting?
I always had an interest in sneakers because they were prominent in many of the cultural pockets that I was interested in as a child, namely sports and music. My older brother also used to skateboard, so reading his skate magazines is how I learned about brands like Converse, Vans and Nike's SB branch. Things were a lot different back then and things like sports and sneakers were seen as very "masculine" interests. It seems ridiculous now, but that's really how it was, especially being from a smaller and more conservative city like Calgary that didn't have a lot of urban culture and wasn't very fashion forward. It wasn't until the explosion of blog culture in the mid-00s that I really started realizing that "sneaker collecting" was a thing—I used to read The Hundreds and HYPEBEAST just like everyone else—and that there were lots of females who were into it as well. I really credit Married To The Mob, the Brown Babie$ and even Lily Allen for inspiring me to be unabashedly interested in sneakers and start collecting. The first "hype" pair of sneakers I bought were the De La Soul Dunk Lows which now seems really appropriate because it was a marriage of sneakers and hiphop, two of my lasting loves!
If given the chance to collaborate on one sneaker design, which brand and model would you choose? What would the finished product look like?
I don't like shoes that have crazy colourways or too many colours (my tastes have changed since I bought those DLS Dunks lol). Two colours is the maximum I like on my feet. I love the Air Max 90 but don't own a pair because I've never been able to find a colourway I like. The recently released "Beach" colourway was actually pretty dope, so maybe it would be cool to do an AM90 pack of tan/white (similar to the "Beach"), grey/white and all black. I'd like to do them in a super soft suede, which is my favourite material for shoes even though it absorbs dirt and liquid like crazy. And they would definitely have to have a gumsole. I'm a sucker for a good gumsole.
Tell us about the most memorable sneakers from your childhood.
This is going to sound hilarious, but the most memorable pair was definitely these Airwalks that I had when I was in Grade 6. They were these patent black ones with thick white laces. That was totally the start of my awkward/ugly duckling phase. I had frizzy hair and super thick eyebrows and my style was so weird. I listened to a lot of Bush and Blur and bands like that. I was really into wearing baggy jeans and I had all these different barrettes to hold back my frizzy ass hair. My self confidence was really bad back then but I remember when I wore those Airwalks I felt like I looked good!
Were there any sneakers you couldn't afford growing up?
My family was fairly middle-class but I also had four other siblings, so we definitely didn't have a lot growing up. We would usually get one new pair of shoes for back to school and that was it. I remember I wanted this pair of Puma Mostros so bad; I'm pretty sure Puma still makes those shoes and they were/are really ugly! I couldn't get them for whatever reason (probably had maxed out my new shoe quota for the year at one pair) and I was so disappointed. Thank god because I'm now saved from the regret/embarrassment I would probably feel looking back.
What is your biggest sneaker pet peeve?
I think all females probably give the same answer but not getting all the shoes in small enough sizes is frustrating. Sometimes it can be a blessing because when a shoe is released in GS sizes it can sometimes be easier to get them, but overall I think we still miss out on a lot. My feet are quite small even by women's standards (I wear a women's 6.5) so that's a big challenge. I own and wear a lot of Jordans because they are usually good about releasing them in GS.
Also the over-hypedness and reselling can be super annoying too. The fact that things like bots even exist is mind boggling to me. It's super unfair to people who just want to buy the sneaker to own and wear them. I've thought a lot about how to combat that whole phenomenon and have yet to come up with a good solution or a system that would protect and enable real life buyers.
Tell us about your most recent pickup.
I haven't really bought a pair of shoes in a while actually. I have less storage space now so I try to be really selective about what I get. I think my newest pair are the Jordan Cement IV's but I got those from Jordan during All Star Weekend when I was DJing some of their events. I think the most recent pair that I actually bought was a re-up on some adidas Stan Smiths. In my closet those qualify as a dressier sneaker; I rarely "dress up" but if I'm going to a meeting I'll wear dress pants with Stan Smiths and throw on some jewelry and that's my best effort at dressing like a grown up.
What pair of sneakers continues to elude you?
Jordan 11 Space Jams, but I'm hoping that will change this year. I'm also so sad I missed out on copping the Air Force 1 Mid Vachetta Tans; ugh I still get upset thinking about it. And it seems almost faux pas to say this but the Yeezy Boost 350s! I think they're a great looking, every day shoe. The turtle doves and moonrocks are on my grails list, but I'll probably take anything I can get at this point. Who got the hookup!?