Tell us about the one pair of sneakers you couldn't live without?
My style and tastes have evolved over time, but all of my sneakers represent a part off who I am. To choose only one, I would go with my 2008 New Balance SNE577 "Erik" from Sneakers n Stuff. The shape, the fit, the materials, the colourway, the limited pairs...it puts this pair on another level.
How did you come across them?
Around 2008, sneaker blogs and magazines were gaining popularity, so I probably saw them on the internet or in an issue of Sneaker Freaker magazine. From the moment I saw them, I was always thinking about them. There are not many sneakers that have that effect on me. But you know, here in Canada, I knew there was no chance I could come across them. One or two years later, there was a size 10 (my perfect size fit for a 577 made in England), on a facebook group or a "buy it now" on ebay, don't remember. The price was "affordable" at that time, so with no hesitation, I paid the full price, plus the international shipping. When the shoes arrived, I was a little nervous! This was my grail, but I had no idea about the actual fit, the real material, the real colourway... the only thing I could refer to was a picture on my computer screen. When I opened the box, felt them, walked with them... my reaction was priceless!
What led you to sneaker collecting?
I've been collecting stuff since I was a young kid. I think it all started with my childhood toys from the late 80's. Hockey cards, marvel comics book, sports jerseys and then baseball caps, etc. Sneakers always took a big place as a child too. The first sneaker souvenir I had was in 1st grade, during my gym class. Probably the only thing I remember clearly from that period of time. When we were sitting on the gym floor, I remember looking at the dope sole of my shoe; that sneaker had a multicoloured sole that resembled a pile of melted crayons. There was no brand, no hype, no influence, just an all black sneaker with a crazy sole. Three years later, in the middle of primary school, I became more aware of sport fashion. I was also growing in this 90's sneaker culture and branding was something I was learning day to day. The day my foot stopped growing, around 16 years old, I decided to buy more shoes so I could have a rotation and avoid destroying them as I did when I was younger. That was the start of my sneaker collecting and I still have some shoes from my highschool years - 18 years ago now.
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 already design some sneakers with the help of "ID" programs available and my choice of model and colourway will change according to how I feel during this period of time. I could say that my go to style is: classic colourway, premium suede and leather with a gum sole. If I had to choose a model now, I might go with a Nike Icarus or my favorite 90's pair, the Patrick Ewing MID KEY. These shoes need more love and a proper retro!
Tell us about the most memorable sneakers from your childhood.
I have many memories of sneakers from my childhood growing up in the 90's. Of course the red and grey Ewing Mid Key was the most memorable sneaker from my childhood and I was excited to find a pair of size 10.5's on eBay a decade ago. The green Air Max Trainer 94, the green Reebok Pump Blacktop, Jordan 7 Bordeaux, the LA Gear neon Sky Fire, some ACG, some Nike Agassi... all of these shoes bring back memories. But I must tell you a little story; I was going back home with my Mom from a sports stadium one day and then I saw, out of nowhere, in the hallway a used pair of Nike Air Tech Challenge III Agassi neon OG's! I looked at my Mom and I still remember her face when she told me, "don’t even think about it! You won't bring those old shoes back home!"... I don't know if I was really going to pick them up or not, but I knew there was no chance, so I didn't argue with her. This white/black/blue/teal and yellow neon Agassi model was probably my holy grail at that time - a pair of shoes over 100$ that I couldn't afford. But guess what, I have 2 OG pairs now!
Were there any sneakers you couldn't afford growing up?
Too many! I would never ask my parents for more than $100-120 for a pair of shoes. Except for the OG Nike Minot, but that's another story! Now with the help of eBay and many sneaker groups, I can dig up some old shoes that I couldn't get in my childhood. That's always a nice feeling, even if I know that they are fragile and un-wearable. Like I was saying before, many Agassi models, many Air max and many Jordans.
What is your biggest sneaker pet peeve?
The more you know about shoes, the more you look at the details: quality, shape, history, price, boxes, insole, laces. Right now, the thing that bugs me is how they destroy OG models by doing some cheap-ass retro version. The biggest example has to be the Air Max 1 from the past vs the latest version. The old rocket shape vs the new bulky square toebox. Even New Balance are reshaping their toe box. The 576 is another bad example. At least some brands like Asics or Saucony are doing a great job with proper retro collabs. Maaaan, people are now reshaping their newest shoes with an iron! I just don't understand why Nike, or any other brand, would change the shape of a perfect shoe!
Tell us about your most recent pickup.
The Reebok classic leather "Oktoberfest" pack. I got one, but will get the two others if possible. Beer and shoes, just a perfect combination for me! Cheeeeers!
What pair of sneakers continues to elude you?
With eBay, I've missed auctions quite a few times and when a local shop only has one pair of your size, it's always hard to get your hands on every pair you want. There are some classic shoes that I will get one day or another: a Nike OG Pegasus, OG Adidas Country forest green stripes made in France or Germany, some New Balance made in the UK from around 2000 and many vintage Nikes like the Sting. It's a never ending quest!