There are a variety of sneakerhead types in the sneaker community, each with their own philosophy and take on the subject. But none are realer or more animated than the OG types. Ask them about their favorite kicks and brace yourself for a history lesson as they wax nostalgically about a single pair the way lovers poetize about romance. It doesn’t mean they’re jaded about the current sneaker climate. Rather, they remember simpler times, way before the abundance of releases that currently make the market.
In this edition of The Stash, I called in and spoke to 34-year-old Ryan Vidal aka “Papi Shoelo,” headmaster of the Instagram account @therealshoeicidal1, which boasts nearly 25,000 followers. He is one of those OG-types who boasts a not-for-profit love for sneakers. Good luck trying to egg him on getting a pair of sneakers that doesn’t move him or have a meaning to him in some way or another. Vidal has under 100 pairs in his collection “for the first time in a long time”–mostly due to fatherhood–but at one point, his stash numbered over 250, with so many different silhouettes that some of them were literally sitting unused for years.
“Now, I would say my collection has slowed down as of late because it’s different now,” he says. “There’s a lot more stuff coming out. I’m a little more choosey about what I buy and I like to buy sneakers with meaning behind them these days than just picking up random stuff. Honestly, these days I probably buy more old releases than I do new releases. When I say old, I’m talking OG stuff or stuff that isn’t on the map for any kind of retro anytime soon.”
When I asked Vidal what he meant about meaning, he was quick to mention the “Shattered Backboard” Air Jordan I as an example, saying, “Some people call it a stretch that Nike went back that far to make a shoe that signified something that old but to me, I appreciate that. To me, that’s better than just throwing a cereal box color on a shoe and saying these are the Fruity Pebbles or something.”
Vidal insisted that he meant no shade on LeBron James and went on to add, “Nike went back to a significant moment in Jordan’s career and put out a dope shoe in relation to it. The quality was good, the details were good on the insole, and it had some meaning. And I guarantee you that YouTube video never got more hits than when that sneaker came out.”
The same goes for his most heralded kicks: OG pairs of the Reebok Kamikaze I and II.
“Growing up,” he remembers, “when I was in the eighth grade, Shawn Kemp was in the pinnacle of his career and he was one my favorite players. I still have pictures of me in those sneakers, playing in middle school. The OG Kamikaze I is probably my favorite shoe in my collection because of the age and the memories they bring back to me as a kid.”
Originally from Hollywood, Florida (north of Miami), and currently residing in Gainesville, Vidal admits that with the University of Florida bringing in so many different personalities from around the country, the area’s sneaker community is hard to gauge. At home, he rarely sees vintage or exclusive heat as most of the population sticks to general releases and runners.
Looking at his Instagram feed, though, you’ll notice the versatility he employs in his rotation. LeBrons, Jordans, KDs, the Yeezy Boost 350, Huaraches, ASICS, and Sauconys to name just a few…
“I would say there are a couple of us out here that have a pretty good lineup,” Vidal says when asked what separates him. “I honestly would have to say, and this isn’t tooting my own horn, but I try to keep it as versatile as anybody out there. I don’t stick with one brand. One week, I’ll rock Jordans all week and the next week, I’ll rock ASICS.”
Every sneakerhead has a crazy story about the furthest they’ve ever gone to secure a pair of kicks. For Ryan Vidal, it involved the craziness surrounding the 2011 NBA All-Star Weekend release of the “Galaxy” Nike Foamposite in Orlando.
“The day before those sneakers dropped,” he says, “I was actually working two jobs at the time. I went to my full-time job and then I went to my second job and got off at 11 at night, drove to Orlando, and I ended up camping like 38 hours with one of my buddies. My buddy and I were first and second in line so it worked out but that was the longest I’ve gone without sleep to get a pair of sneakers.”
images via @therealshoeicidal1