Tell us about the one pair of sneakers you couldn't live without?
Air Jordan XI Concord samples from 2001. They are extra special to me, because I got married in them at the Notre Dame Basilica (the same church Celine Dion got married in) and have amazing memories attached to them. The fact that they are samples makes them quite rare and they differ from the official retail release. They are in phenomenal shape, with no yellowing of the outsoles or the uppers. They looked amazing with a suit on and were comfortable all day and night long. I put them on at 8am, got married in them at noon and then partied until 3am at the reception. I remember hooping in them back in my University days at Concordia. One of my favourite basketball shoes of all time. What's even crazier is that I own two pairs of these samples.
How did you come across them?
My original pairs that I wore in University to hoop in were bought at Athlete's World. But the two pairs of samples were bought from a local Jordan Rep who sold them to me for $50 each. When I picked them up, I knew that the day I got married, I would have them on my feet.
What led you to sneaker collecting?
It was actually a natural progression from the love of sneakers I've had since I was a little kid. Growing up, I was into breakdancing and everyone would rock fresh Puma Clydes and Adidas Shelltoes. Back then, you bought sneakers for stylin' and eventually their intended use and didn't stock them for collecting or investments. You bought Jordans to hoop and Air Maxes to run. I can actually say that I've hooped in every original pair of Jordans from 1-15. They were always my preferred shoes to play basketball in. I started DJ-ing and collecting records, and kicks were not far behind.
If given the chance to collaborate on one sneaker design, which brand and model would you choose? What would the finished product look like?
If I were to collaborate on a sneaker, it would probably be the Air Max 1. I'm a huge fan of all the Atmos AM1 releases and they always grab my attention. The colourways, details, materials and quality were always premium. I would gather some inspiration from the Atmos releases and draw some influences from the Nike HTM designs. Finally, I would try to convince my friend Mark Ong aka SBTG to work on it using camouflage and premium materials with proper accessories and wooden box.
Tell us about the most memorable sneakers from your childhood.
As a youngster, with little to no money, I always tried to work to make extra cash in order to buy shoes. Doing paper routes, cutting lawns and working odd jobs was the norm. Here are some of the sneakers that impacted me growing up: (way too many to name) Son of Lava Dome lows Escape Edition, Adidas Ewing Artillery highs & lows, Huarache Flights (Fab 5), Air Talaria Tennis Ball, Air Trainer 1 Chlorophyll (Bo Knows). The list goes on and on.
Were there any sneakers you couldn't afford growing up?
Growing up in a large family of five kids, money was always tight. I was not able to afford a lot of the sneakers I wanted growing up. The one pair that really comes to mind was the Air Pressure basketball sneaker. It was priced way out of my league and had a crazy design and awesome shoebox.
What is your biggest sneaker pet peeve?
It has to be that everyone and their and grandmothers are sneakerheads these days. Being a collector for over twenty years, I've come to realize that you can't always get the pairs you want. Especially today with all the line-ups and camp outs. Sneakerbots and resellers have also made it really difficult to get shoes. Some more peeves include "limited edition" when we know they aren't. Collaborations that just don't make sense or have no meaning. Everyone is a sneakerhead. Everyone is a reseller. I'll stop there so I don't sound like a bitter old man.
Tell us about your most recent pickup.
Actually, I've decided to retire from the sneaker collecting and buying to pursue business opportunities and realize life-long dreams. I've opened a Filipino eatery in Griffintown Montreal called Junior (shameless plug). I'm also a co-owner of Club Peopl in Old Montreal (another shameless plug) and I finally bought my dream car, a Porsche 911 Carrera 4S Convertible. I sold four hundred pairs to pay for the car. But retirement hasn't been easy with moments of relapses. A few pairs I've picked up cuz "I JUST HAD TO HAVE THEM" include two pairs of the black Supreme Air Jordan 5s, Air Jordan 1 Shattered Backboards, Yeezy 350 boosts black pirate, 3 pairs of Chicago Air Jordan 1 OGs, red Fragment AT1s, and a few more. I guess retirement takes a while to get used to, so I've been taking baby steps.
What pair of sneakers continues to elude you?
To be honest, I've pretty much acquired every pair I ever wanted when it comes to sneakers. If I had to choose one pair it would have to be the AF1 Stash High London release. Two hundred and fifty pairs released with a suitcase. Voted the best Air Force 1 of all time and I definitely agree.