In an ideal world, the essence of collecting sneakers might be to simply buy what you like, the benefits being purely intrinsic.
That said, it’d be naive to suggest the approval of others doesn’t matter, or even that it shouldn’t. It’s hard to deny the visceral thrill from sharing a subtle nod with someone who shares your love of the culture, or from putting a casual observer’s head on a swivel with something he’s never seen before.
In that sense, social media has become an integral accessory for the plugged-in sneaker aficionado, who no longer even has to leave the house to show off his collection to like-minded enthusiasts. Not to mention, thanks to social media-savvy brands and well-connected insiders, the first time you glimpse most upcoming releases is probably on your Instagram feed.
Instagram is also perfect for those inclined to partake in the proverbial “sneaker porn.” I’ve always loved checking out pictures of shoes I like, and with modern technology offering the tools to stoke our creative fires, certain Instagrammers have elevated their sneaker photography to an art form.
Of course, much like sneaker culture itself, not everything about Instagram is perfect. We all know the flood of general releases that pop up on our feed on a Saturday morning, or the people who strive for coveted pairs they don’t necessarily even want just to garner the fleeting fix of some E-props. And we’ve all seen people who, frankly, try way too hard.
For the most part, though, Instagram has been invaluable for those of us who tend to fully immerse ourselves in our hobby. And there are some people — celebrities, brand reps, athletes, notable collectors — who tend to set themselves apart in one way or another.
With the disclaimer that the following list is completely subjective, here are Champs Sports’ Instagram Sneakerhead MVPs of 2014, a baker’s dozen presented in no particular order.
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image via Ollie Millington/Getty Images