Sneakerheads are sneaker-obsessed, and help keep the sneaker market growing and growing. Take our quiz to find out if you have what it takes to be called a sneakerhead.
Run DMC’s song "My Adidas" publicly displayed their affection for their favorite sneakers. It was Run-D.M.C that first turned this obsession into a business opportunity, after they made a video suggesting Adidas pay them a million dollars for wearing and singing about the shoes. It worked and eventually landed them an endorsement deal tied to their hit song.
Around 1892, the US Rubber Company designed comfortable rubber sneakers with canvas tops, called Keds. By 1917, these sneakers began to be mass produced.
Beginning in 1984, a total of 30 Air Jordan shoes have been designed and released by Nike (not counting color variations). The milestone 30th Air Jordan shoe was released in February, 2016.
The Nike name and the Nike Swoosh had been appearing on sneakers since 1972, but it’s original name – Blue Ribbon Sports – wasn’t officially changed until 1978. The name "Dimension Six" was Phil Knight’s idea, but it never stuck.
In 1991, on live TV in front of millions of people, Dee Brown took a few seconds to pump up his Reeboks before flying over the competition to win the NBA Slam Dunk contest.
"Sneakers" have been around since at least 1887, when The Boston Journal of Education observed, “It is only the harassed schoolmaster who can fully appreciate the pertinency of the name boys give to tennis shoes — sneakers.” In 1895, the term appeared in Funk and Wagnall’s Standard Dictionary referring to the shoes rather than the people. The name as been more or less popular ever since.
The New York-based creative visionary Vashtie Kola put a fresh twist on the classic Air Jordan 2, creating a sneaker with lavender and deep-purple colorway, silver undertones and a more feminine feel to the classic shoes.
1982's "Fast Times at Ridgemont High" introduced the world to Jeff Spicoli, the quintessential California surfer with board shorts and the soon-to-be-iconic checkerboard Vans slip-ons. Spicoli did more to push Vans to the general shoe-buying public than an entire decade's worth of ads.
Jordan Michael Geller is the biggest sneakerhead you’ll ever meet. Geller opened his Las Vegas “Shoezeum” in 2010 and housed the history of Nike in the form of more than 2,500 pairs of sneakers: from the first Nike prototypes to the Back to the Future-inspired Nike MAGs.
Adidas (@adidas) racked up 78.8 million likes on its account last year, likely due to the popularity of its collaboration with Kanye West. Nike, even across three Instagram accounts - @nike,@nikesportswear, and @jumpman23 (Jordan) brands - couldn't keep up with West’s popularity.
Sneakerheads will wait in line for hours just to get a pair of their favorite kicks. Sneaker makers learned to keep release dates to Saturday, so kids wouldn't have a reason (even a bad one) to neglect school.
Sneakerheads know their shoe designers and often buy only from the designers they admire. Hatfield was hired in 1981 as a corporate architect for Nike, but switched to sneakers in 1985. Fukiwara is known as the father of Harajuku style in Japan, and VanHook is on his way to being the next big Nike designer.
In 1948, shoemakers and brothers, Rudolf and Adolf Dassler, had an argument. Rudolf left the family shoe company and started his own. Adolf renamed his company adidas (a shortening of his nickname, "Adi Dassler"), and Rudolf named his Puma. The first, and longest-standing, sneaker rivalry was born.
By 1971, just two years after joining the NBA, Kareem Abdul-Jabbar was already a superstar. Drafted first overall by the Milwaukee Bucks in 1969, Jabbar scored 29 points in his first game and won Rookie of the Year. His second year he was named MVP. Adidas gave Jabbar his own signature shoe, setting a precedence for all sneaker makers to follow.
The Bata Shoe Museum in Toronto, Ontario houses all makes and models of shoes throughout history, including one of the most iconic sneaker collections on public display. In 2013, the BSM presented "Out of the Box: Rise of the Sneaker Culture," the very first North American traveling exhibition dedicated to sneaker history and evolution.
Japan used to be the only place in the world where sneakerheads could walk into a shop and purchase rare, plastic-wrapped sneakers hard to find anywhere else. In 2006, Flight Club opened in Manhattan and took sneakerheads in the U.S. by storm.
Michael Jordan and Nike seemed to be an iconic fit, but Jordan actually had his sights originally set on Adidas. Jordan only wore Adidas in high school before he attended University of North Carolina, and they were the brand he wanted to wear in the pros. When the time for negotiations came, however, Adidas didn’t make the same offer as Nike. In 1984, Nike “Air Jordan” was born.
It may not have been the very first (Fresh Out The Box in NYC was), but the H-Town Sneaker Summit has grown over the years to become the biggest sneaker gathering known to man. Held bi-annually, H-Town anchors NBA All-Star weekend and continues to attract both new sneakerheads and the heaviest of heavy hitters in the sneaker community.
A print magazine strictly about sneakers? Started in 2002 by Simon Wood, Sneaker Freaker still has a loyal readership, even in the age of up-to-the-minute blogging.
The website StockX.com tracks the sneaker market, including overall sneaker sales and ebay sales specifically for sneakerheads. Data includes how much is being spent on brands, price trends and sneakerhead significance (i.e. popular shoes among sneakerheads).
Contrary to what you've heard, Chuck Taylor did not invent the basketball shoe - or even the shoe that bears his name. Converse introduced the iconic "All-Star" sneaker in 1917 when salesman and semi-pro basketball player Chuck Taylor came on board in 1921. By 1932, Taylor's sneaker improvements had been implemented, and his name was added to the ankle patch he created.
A "hypebeast" is someone that only follows the hype around some sneakers than others. Technically, they only pay attention to more buzzed-about shoe releases because they’re "cooler."
Niketalk started back in 1999, just when blogs were beginning to take shape. Until then, sneakerhead talk was limited to chat rooms and message boards. Niketalk brought sneakheads for sneak peeks of new releases, release dates and more. It’s still going strong.
Fed up with skyrocketing hype -- and prices -- for sneakers, a growing number of sneakerheads on Reddit's "RepSneakers" page are going against the grain to find and wear counterfeit shoes.
Sneakerhead terminology not only tracks how shoes sell, but when they're sold, as well. "Retro" sneakers are models that sold out
Sneakerhead sales are tricky to track, since shoes are often sold and then resold. According to Forbes' latest data, sneakerheads made up about 5 percent of the total sneaker sales market - or, around $1.1 billion in sales out of $22 billion in sales total.
Nike paid Jordan’s $5,000 fine for each game he played wearing the black and red Jordans. It was the best investment Nike ever made, as Air Jordan's quickly became Nike's best-selling shoes of all time.
Alan Vinogradov co-founded Sneaker Con in 2009, when he and about 1,500 die-hard shoe collectors huddled in a small New York comedy club swapping sneakers and stories. The touring event expanded to 13 cities in 2015.
The second Nike/West collaboration was so highly anticipated that a pre-ordered pair was sold on eBay for a whopping $90,300 after 84 bids. The retail price for the Air Yeezy II is $245.
Back to the Future Part II was released in 1989, but sneakerheads had to wait until 2011 to buy Nike Air Mags 2011 - without the power lacing capability. However, a new version of the Air Mags was announced for 2016, with all proceeds of shoe sales going to Parkinson's Disease research.