The Stash: @Elitekicks_

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    @Elitekicks_

    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?

    Growing up, I use to see my older cousins have a lot of cool shoes like Air Max 95s, Jordans, and Air Force 1s and I told myself one day I’m going to have a lot of kicks like them. My very first pair of Jordans was the Laney XIVs that my cousin bought me when they first released. When I turned 15 years old, I got a job and that’s when I purchased my first pair of shoes which was the all-white Air Force 1 Mids. After that the only sneakers I would buy would be AF1s, Jordans, and Air Max 95s. Now my days of “collecting” shoes are over; I just cop kicks for casual wear now.

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  • @Elitekicks_

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

    Over a year ago, I downgraded my collection from around 300 pairs to 60-70 pairs which include designer sneakers as well. My favorite shoe is the Jordan Bred IV. It’s the only shoe I will keep at LEAST three pairs on deck and will keep buying. If someone asked me to showcase one shoe from my collection, it would have to be my LeBron X Champ Pack because the details are insane on those shoes and because that’s a pack my friend @TheRealShoeicidal1 got for me for retail. Not too many people will do that these days.

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    What are the most popular shoes among the community in your region right now?

    The most popular shoes are hands down are Retro Jordans. (Laughs)

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    @layne_jackson_flp

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

    A sneaker that I think gets overlooked by the mass right now is probably the D Wades. Just because it’s not a Jordan, Nike, adidas, etc., a lot of people overlook that shoe.

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  • Nike Dubpreme Dunk Low elitekicks_

    @Elitekicks_

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

    Instagram has its pros and cons when it comes to the sneaker industry. I came across great deals via Instagram but Instagram also builds up the hype on a sneaker. When pictures of the 2015 Doernbecher releases surfaced, my Instagram feed was full of pics for like 24 hours just building up the hype.

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  • Air Jordan 1 elitekicks_

    @Elitekicks_

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

    The cool things that sneakers enable me to do is to meet a lot of cool people from around the world and be able to receive sneakers from Champs Sports to review on my YouTube Channel.

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  • Nike Air Max 95

    @Elitekicks_

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

    For me, the hardest part of this hobby is getting sneakers that you really want for retail these days.

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  • adidas Ultra Boost elitekicks_

    @Elitekicks_

    If you could map out the perfect sneaker year in 2016, what would that include for you?

    If I can map out the perfect sneaker year for 2016, it would include the Air Mags, Jordan Bred IVs (if they retro them again), dope colorway adidas Ultra Boost, and some designer sneakers.

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  • Nike LeBron 10 Championship Pack elitekicks_

    @Elitekicks_

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  • New Balance Elitekicks_

    @Elitekicks_

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@Elitekicks_ wasn’t always a sneaker influencer. He didn’t always sport thousands of social media followers, or an entire contingent of fans waiting patiently on his next YouTube sneaker review, where he is about to reaching 45,000 subscribers.

At one point, he was just a kid like anyone else, growing up in Beaufort, South Carolina, wanting to be like his cousins.

“I use to see my older cousins have a lot of cool shoes like Air Max 95s, Jordans, and Air Force 1s,” he says, “and I told myself one day I’m going to have a lot of kicks like them.”

The 28-year-old ended up with all of that and then some. The curator behind the @Layne_Jackson_FLP Instagram handle (as well as @Elitekicks_) says that even after downsizing his ridiculous shoe collection, he stills has around 70 pairs of kicks. Among those, you can always expect to find at least three pairs of the “Bred” Air Jordan IV, a sneaker worn by Michael Jordan during a few of his most iconic moments. It’s @Elitekicks_’s favorite silhouette, a must-cop whenever it drops. One of his other favorites is the Nike LeBron X “Championship Pack,” a double-dose of one of LeBron‘s greatest signatures and the sneaker the King wore when he won his second championship with the Miami Heat.

A sneaker’s history plays an important part for everyone. From @Jumpmanbostic loving the Air Jordan VIII because of Jordan’s singular greatness in the 1993 NBA Finals to @Jefferrrson’s memory of the first time he ever opened a box of Kobe Bryant’s signature sneakers, it’s the memories that elevate sneakers from merely shoes to something more.

@Elitekicks_, who recently moved to North Bergen, New Jersey, has come a long way from where he began, and he’s hoping 2016 keeps him invested in the game as always. Hear more from him in the latest edition of The Stash.

Follow Sean: Instagram // Twitter

image via @Elitekicks_