The Stash: @tylerjblake

  • Bin Air Jordan Collection

    @tylerjblake

    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?

    For me it was the Bin Jordan VII. I just turned 22 so, five years ago I was 16 going on 17 and had started working a job. I finally was able to start buying my own sneakers and clothing. Before that, it was Kirkland Signatures from Costco, $19.99 for a triple white pair. I started working and began getting “mall Jordans,” the type of shoes that would sit for a week until I got a paycheck.

    I had a friend at school who wore the Bin Jordan VII one day, and it was so different looking than anything I’d seen and I was really curious to learn more. Turns out, he had a collection of 200 pairs and took me over to show me and from that moment I was hooked. Listening to him talk about the stories with each shoe really got me excited and I started reading up on blogs to learn about upcoming releases.

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  • Doernbecher Air Jordan Collection

    @tylerjblake

    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?

    Right now I have a little under 100 pairs. I used to say I’d never have more than 50, but I find it’s hard to keep the collection down especially when you start getting easier access to product. I’d like to get back down to 50 but it’s difficult to narrow down the choices. It’s hard to play favorites, but right now I like the Ultra Boost. I have a pair I cut the cage off of so its fits like a sock, and another regular pair. Both are crazy comfortable. When I have guests over, I usually show them my Doernbecher Jordan collection since I feel they tell an awesome story. The Doernbecher V in particular is one I love to showcase since it has a powerful design.

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  • New Balance shoes

    @tylerjblake

    What’s the sneaker culture like from where you’re from?

    While I grew up in Connecticut, I’ve lived in MA in and around Boston for the last five years as I’ve moved about. I identify with the Boston area culture the best. I love the younger kids in the culture, and feel Boston area has some of the best boutiques in the country. I have a ton of memories camping out for Concepts releases in particular. There’s a huge retro running culture here, and I like that brands like New Balance or Saucony can be just as cool as the latest Jordan Retro.

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  • ASICS sneaker collection

    @tylerjblake

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

    Regionally it’s hard to speak on. I think state to state you see a lot of differences. I see a lot of people gravitating more towards in-line running sneakers. Not sure if the price hikes in Jordan retros are the reason, but definitely see a lot more low-key running sneakers being rocked.

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  • Tom Sachs x Nike Nikecraft “Mars Yard”

    @tylerjblake

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

    I have a pair of the Tom Sachs x Nike Nikecraft “Mars Yard” sneaker in my collection that I think is really overlooked. I’ve posted them before and rocked them, and lot of people comment that it looks like  a whack Roshe Run. That sneaker to me, the more I attempt to wear it, really makes me feel it’s more art than functional sneaker. Some part of it falls off or breaks a bit each time I pull them out. Its an awesome sneaker though with crazy packaging and extras. I’m really happy to have picked them up.

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  • Riccardo Tisci x Nike Air Force 1 RT

    @tylerjblake

    Have you had any crazy release day stories? 

    I have a few. The most memorable release day story was at the When Pigs Fly Concepts release. Concepts is near Harvard, and some organization must have been out doing some sort of ritual. There was all these kids in suits walking around close to 1 a.m. in the morning. Few hours later one of them wandered into a corner store just completely out of it, and we watched him pee himself as he was in line checking out a sandwich. Definitely something I won’t be able to un-see.

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  • @tylerjblake

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

    I don’t think Instagram has particularly changed the sneaker industry. For sure social media has been a way for companies to market product and advertise to their following, but it’s difficult of course to measure that impact. Social media is an awesome tool since there are such low barriers to entry, anyone can start a page to share their love of sneakers, or expose their brand to an audience. I think brands have had to become savy with this reality, but there’s no one social media outlet that’s going to make or break you. I’d like to see social media go back to less flexing and a bit more community and engagement. There’s a lot of un-social people on social media.

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  • Air Jordan 3 Black Cement

    @tylerjblake

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

    My love of sneakers have really opened some amazing doors for me. Most recently I was invited out to San Francisco to speak at Ad:Tech and Tec Summit, and was invited out to Tokyo, Japan, to speak on product marketing later this summer. I’m most proud of those accomplishments because they came directly from the work I’ve done for my personal brand and others, and it’s the things un-sneaker related that have come from my passion that make me most excited. Sneaker related, I held an event at Gillette Stadium for the New England area, which turned out to be the most well-attended event in the area ever. I was really stoked to have been able to create a premium sneaker experience for the guests that day.

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  • @tylerjblake sneaker collection

    @tylerjblake

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

    For me the most difficult part of maintaining the collection is exercising self-control. I used to make a lot of impulse buys, and still do, but working to really pick and choose my releases is something I’ve been working to get better at. I’ll set non-sneaker related goals for myself to keep my priorities in check. At the end of the day having a car and apartment was more important to me, so this year in particular I cut back on spending to make sure I got those goals taken care of.

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  • @tylerjblake

    What were the highlights of 2014 for you in terms of the sneaker industry and in your own collection? And if you could map out the perfect sneaker year in 2015, what would that include for you?

    2014 highlights for me in terms of the sneaker industry were the introduction of adidas Boost technology. I’m excited for adidas to gain more relevance in the “energy” segment of the sneaker market, and I think it’s good to have all brands be in a more competitive space, rather than it be full Nike dominated. Collection-wise, I added the Bin Jordan V, VII, and XIII to the collection, which were huge for me.

    Mapping out a perfect sneaker year in 2015 is tough, but I’d like to be able to get the next Doernbecher Jordan for retail, and I’m really hoping to see a sample Yeezy 750 Boost colorway be released to retail. Only time will tell though!

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  • Bin Air Jordan Collection
  • Doernbecher Air Jordan Collection
  • New Balance shoes
  • ASICS sneaker collection
  • Tom Sachs x Nike Nikecraft “Mars Yard”
  • Riccardo Tisci x Nike Air Force 1 RT
  • Air Jordan 3 Black Cement
  • @tylerjblake sneaker collection

There’s nothing better than grabbing that first pair of sneakers with your own money. The paycheck comes in. You drop it in the bank and suddenly, for the first time in your life, you have some money to play with. After that, going to the mall is a must. I remember the first time it happened for me–went right to the mall and copped the Reebok Answer V and the AND1 Skip to My Lous. (I HAD to have that AND1 Mixtape Vol. 5.) For longtime sneakerhead Tyler Blake, @tylerjblake on Instagram, it was the Bin Air Jordan VII that started him down this long road of collecting sneakers. Then once a close friend introduced him to a collection of over 200 shoes, it was on.

“Listening to him talk about the stories with each shoe really got me excited,” Blake wrote via email to me about his friend, “and I started reading up on blogs to learn about upcoming releases.”

Collecting sneakers has gone mainstream in 2015. Everyone is doing it. But there were some collectors who were knee-deep in the game long before this year. In our ongoing series called The Stash, we’ve spotlighted many of them, from collectors who fill an entire basement with Jordans to cats who have been doing this since, most likely, before you were even born, to folks across the Atlantic Ocean. In this latest edition, a man with over 40,000 Instagram followers lets us get a behind-the-scenes look at his collection, from his incredible Air Jordan Doernbecher collection to his love of brands many wouldn’t label as mainstream.

This is The Stash, and this is how @tylerjblake gets down.

Follow Sean on Twitter at @seanesweeney

all images via @tylerjblake