The Stash: @sneakerfandan

  • sneakerfandan

    @sneakerfandan

    Can you remember the first sneaker you got that changed your approach to shoes? Where you went from wearing shoes casually to being a person who actually loves and collects them?

    First grade, 1995. Those Concords, man! Love at first sight. My parents were into sneakers. I always had kicks. When my dad would cop a pair for himself, he would cop a pair for me.

    1 of 10
  • @sneakerfandan

    @sneakerfandan

    How many pairs do you have? Do you have a favorite right now? If someone asked you to showcase one shoe from your collection, what would it be?

    Ballpark: 400 pairs of shoes. My favorite shoe of all time are the Playoff Jordan XIs. One shoe I would showcase would be my Nerf KD 4s. I’m not a fan of low-cut sneakers, but I thought the concept of those were great. And they’re pretty rare.
    2 of 10
  • @sneakerfandan

    @sneakerfandan

    Where do you store everything?

    I have a room dedicated to sneakers, but right now that’s under construction.

    3 of 10
  • @sneakerfandan

    What’s a sneaker and/or line in your collection that you feel gets overlooked/underappreciated by the masses?

    Most of my higher numbered Jordans are highly underappreciated, in my opinion. I think the lack of retros have something to do with that. Most “sneakerheads (newbies)” only know Jordans 1-14.

    4 of 10
  • @sneakerfandan

    @sneakerfandan

    Have you had any crazy release day stories?

    LOL. No crazy release stories. Most of my kicks were copped easily, during my high school years, before the hype. Only thing that I can think of is that in late 2011, mid 2012, I was fortunate enough to win raffles for the Nerf KD 4s, Galaxy Foams, and Solar Yeezys.

    5 of 10
  • @sneakerfandan

    How have things like Instagram changed the sneaker industry over the past few years?

    I honestly think that Instagram has done more harm than good in the sneaker industry. I believe that Instagram is what creates all the hype for upcoming releases and makes obtaining kicks more difficult. People are literally competing for attention, (in the form of likes) on a free app, and I don’t get it. I think we were fine with just Sole Collector forums and Niketalk lol.

    6 of 10
  • @sneakerfandan

    @sneakerfandan

    What cool things has your love of sneakers enabled you to do?

    My love for sneakers started with my parents and my love for Michael Jordan. So, I guess the best thing that has ever happened to me because of that love would have to be when I had the opportunity to meet the man himself at his camp in Santa Barbara, CA in 2005. I even had the chance to get my pinstriped Bulls jersey signed. Best day of my life.

    7 of 10
  • @sneakerfandan

    What’s the hardest part of this hobby/maintaining your collection?

    Things get so cluttered during the week because I never know what pair I wanna wear. So, cleaning them up and putting them back in boxes is my biggest struggle with my kicks.

    8 of 10
  • @sneakerfandan

    What were the highlights of 2014 for you in terms of the sneaker industry and in your own collection?

    I purchased four pairs of shoes all 2014. It just wasn’t an exciting year for me at all. I just didn’t see the innovation and the urgency to participate, like I have in the past. Too many retros that I already owned released, and it seemed as though 10 pairs of shoes were releasing every Saturday. Overkill.

    9 of 10
  • @sneakerfandan

    @sneakerfandan

    If you could map out the perfect sneaker year in 2015, what would that include for you? 

    The perfect sneaker year for me would be absolutely no Jordans releasing. But instead, Nike releasing their top basketball kicks from the ’90s and early 2000s. I grew up playing basketball and most of the Nike basketball kicks that I had from that era are long gone because I hooped in them. I would love to have them back. I don’t think that people appreciate how great the kicks that released during that era were.

    10 of 10
  • sneakerfandan
  • @sneakerfandan
  • @sneakerfandan
  • @sneakerfandan
  • @sneakerfandan
  • @sneakerfandan

The 1995 return of Michael Jordan to the Chicago Bulls changed a lot. Not only did it secure a new era in the NBA, holding off the anticipated Generation X for just a few more years, it also birthed a new regime of sneaker collectors. For many young people during the mid-90s, Jordan was it. He was everything. There was so much hype around his return that, as a young kid who couldn’t comprehend much about the game, it was easy to hone in on the best, most stylish, most popular player, a guy who was literally larger than life once he came back and climbed back to the mountaintop of the NBA while wearing one of the greatest basketball sneakers ever made.

Those shoes were the Playoff Air Jordan XIs, a masterpiece of a sneaker that’s generally considered one of the hottest Jordan kicks ever made. They are also Danielle Simms’ favorite shoe of all time. Simms, who goes by @sneakerfandan on Instagram, is a longtime sneaker collector with over 400 pairs, many of them classic Nike and Jordan Brand silhouettes from those illustrious years between 1996 and 2005…long enough ago that they count as grails for many of today’s younger fans and yet young enough that most haven’t been retroed yet. That makes @sneakerfandan’s collection special. It’s what makes you envious too.

In 2015, sneakerheads come from everywhere. You can find them in Hawaii. You can find them in Detroit. You can find them in Jacksonville. Go anywhere in the world — not just New York City or London or Los Angeles — and you’ll find people obsessed with shoes. It’s more than a fad or a trend at this point. For many of the collectors that we’ve featured in The Stash, it’s a way of life.

“My parents were into sneakers,” Simms wrote to me via email. “I always had kicks. When my dad would cop a pair for himself, he would cop a pair for me.”

That’s often how it starts. It’s almost never how it ends though. Let @sneakerfandan tell you what she’s been doing over the last two decades.

Follow Sean on Twitter at @sneakerfandan

all images via @sneakerfandan