By Luis Lua
I am a proud sneakerhead.
Sneakers, or as some call them, ‘sport shoes,’ are stylish, expressive and collectable. I know some people think, “Whatever, they’re just shoes,” but to me, sneakers are more than just shoes, they’re a way to put your individuality on display for the whole world to see.
I fell in love at the age of 10. It was with a pair of BRED Jordan 1s. These shoes were the first pair of sneakers in my collection. The ‘BRED’ stands for the colors of the shoe, which are black and red. In the ’80s, these black and red shoes were worn by Michael Jordan in his rookie season. There is a sneaker myth that says these sneakers were banned from the NBA because they didn’t look like the simple black and white shoes most NBA athletes wore at the time.
For that reason the BRED Jordan 1s came to stand for individuality and a rebellious spirit.
When I tell people I like sneakers, they tend to give me a weird look. “Why?,” they ask. “Why not,” I reply to them. Some people like collecting antiques, others even collect stamps. Well why can’t I collect sneakers?
If you ask other people why they started a particular collection, they might tell you, “It’s the idea of owning something rare that others don’t.” That’s what I would say about sneakers. I get excited when rare sneakers are shown to me. Ranging from the Jordan 1s to the Nike Air Mags. A huge smile appears on my face and my full attention is on the sneakers. There are so many different color-combinations, and tons of different designs. And then there is the option to customize your own sneakers to match your personality, which is what most intrigues me.
I’ve tried my best to customize and to keep my sneakers in great condition. I’ve bought special shoe paint by Angelus to customize my shoes. I’ve also purchased special sprays to keep my sneakers waterproof.
But sneaker collecting can get expensive. The options in the Eastern Coachella Valley are limited, and because I don’t have a debit card or credit card to shop online getting the shoes I want can be tough.
I currently have six pairs of sneakers, ranging from casual wear to hiking. My personal favorite are a pair of SFB Boots that resemble those regularly used by the men and women in uniform.
But in the Eastern Coachella Valley, starting a sneaker collection or building on one isn’t easy. Sneaker collections are not common among a lot of young people here.
Finances are tight for a lot of families, and the $100 plus price tag on most sneakers is beyond what many can or want to pay for. Plus, there are no local sneaker shops here. Yes, you can always buy shoes online, but it’s not the same as when you can simply go to a store and pick out the sneakers you really want.
Many times, I wish sneaker culture would become more popular in the east valley. I only know of one other student at my high school who collects sneakers. Some larger cities host sneaker conventions. The biggest sneaker convention I know of is SneakerCon in Los Angeles, which draws thousands of people all of whom share a passion for sneakers. Lasting friendships have been made at these conventions.
Hosting something like that here in the ECV would give people, young and old, a reason to come together and celebrate their shared interests while maybe also celebrating their individual rebellious spirits.
About the author:
Luis Lua is currently a senior at Desert Mirage High School in Thermal, Calif. Luis joined Coachella Uninc. in September and enjoys learning about video production. He said, “I personally think journalism is a way to exercise our rights,to express ourselves and to help change the way people view our community.”