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The Blue & Gray Press | February 18, 2018

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Not Just Pumped Up Kicks, Passion

By BRETT WYNN

It’s a beautiful autumn day, and I decide to do something I’ve reserved for the best weather imaginable. I open my closet and pull out the unopened shoebox that has been waiting years for this momentous occasion.
I crack open the box, and I am greeted by the smell of suede and leather as I gaze upon my “One Time Only” edition Nike Air Max 90/360 Hybrid. I have not worn these sneakers since I bought them in 2006, and, considering only seven pairs were made in my size, I would be killing my chances of selling these for a hefty profit if I wore them.
However, for a “sneakerhead” like myself and many others, it’s not about the money. It’s about something more.
The sneaker craze started around 1988, when the Tinker Hatfield-designed Air Jordan 3 hit the shelves. Backed by a marketing campaign that featured director Spike Lee, the iconic subdivision of Nike took the world by storm.
Michael Jordan’s sneakers didn’t catch on right away. When they were first released, the NBA banned the sneakers because of their bold black and red color scheme. Nike decided they would pay the fine for $50,000 to let Jordan wear their shoes. The rest is history.
Fast-forward to 2012, with people queuing up for days to purchase re-releases of sneakers worn by the greatest basketball player ever. With resell values on eBay reaching double, or even triple, the value of retail prices, what else is it that draws people to these designs?
Senior Chris Jordan, who is majoring in environmental science, boasts a sneaker collection of over 90 pairs.
“Jordans have been an addiction of mine for my entire life,” Jordan said. “I idolized Michael Jordan since I was a kid. Shoes just complete how people view you while playing sports.”
From the simplest pair of “Chucks” to the $2,000 Nike Air Yeezy designed by Kanye West, sneakers are an integral part of our culture. Just ask any sneaker enthusiast. As Spike Lee would say in his commercials, “It’s gotta be the shoes!”