Jacksonville, Fla., has never been a sneaker hotbed, so you can’t fault The Infader, a 36-year-old collector with one of the game’s best collections, for being surprised by what he found at an area mall.
It was late 2005 and The Infader was making the rounds, checking out what sneakers were available, when he peeked in on one display and saw a pair of Nike Dunk Low Pro SB Tiffanys. Five or six months after the initial release, the shoes were selling for $500-600 — nowadays, they’ll run you closer to $1,000. The Infader, convinced he was seeing things, discovered they were his size. An employee came out with the other shoe, rang him up at the register, and handed over what would become one of the most sought-after Nike SBs ever. For $99.
“I picked it up, walked out with it and I was still looking around like ‘Am I getting punk’d or something? This can’t be real,’” he laughs.
Yet as rare as those Tiffanys are, they aren’t even one of his favorites. He has his Paris Dunks, his OG Jordan Is, his Amsterdam Air Max 1s. He loves his Stash Air Max 95s, his black/cement Jordan IIIs “because those things are the best daily beaters ever.” He even loves newer shoes like the Nike Roshe and the Jordan Future. The Infader loves his kids, too, and so he loves the sneakers associated with them: the Cinco de Mayo Dunks because his daughter was born on Cinco de Mayo (“Every time she comes over she wants to see them and make sure I still have them.”); the Coraline Dunks because it’s one of his daughter’s favorite movies; and the “ParaNorman” Foamposites because he actually won them with his kids.
Then there are the UNDFTD/Undefeated Jordan IVs. One of the rarest Jordans, The Infader has somehow owned three pairs in his life, as well as the Ballistic samples. At one point, a pair of his went from Jacksonville to Belgium (for around $9,000), back to Texas, and then back again to Jacksonville. “I couldn’t seem to let them go,” he says. “They just keep coming back to me.”
And unlike some collectors, The Infader actually wears his shoes. On a trip to New York City, he wore his size-10.5 Wu-Tang Dunks, drawing heavy double-takes. He wore the Paris Dunks to Vegas once, too, and walked right into the DXC during the middle of a sneaker battle. Then he stepped onstage and won.
That attitude started as a child, when the Infader’s parents bought him a pair of Bred IVs in 1989. A record collector and DJ, he felt the pull of icons like Bo Jackson, Andre Agassi, and Michael Jordan when the music industry turned to MP3s. Eventually, his sneaker collection reached 400 pairs, and even though he doesn’t have as many anymore, the self-described hoarder believes it’s all about quality over quantity.
“As long as it’s my size,” he says, “I’ll wear it.”
Follow Sean on Twitter at @seanesweeney
In above image:
-Air Jordan OG Chicago Is,
-Air Jordan “Encore” IV
-Nike LeBron “Championship Pack” 9
-Nike LeBron “Graffiti” 4
-Nike Amsterdam Air Max 1
-Nike ueno Air Force 1
-Nike Paris Dunk
-Nike Michael Lau Dunk
-Nike “What The” Kobe 8