Many of you may be familiar with ‘Flashback Friday’s’ on social media, where you post a photo or video from a while ago. I thought I’d do a series where every Friday I’d tell you guys a sneaker story from my past.
For my first Flashback Friday I thought I’d tell you about the release of the Nike SB x Diamond Supply Dunk High “Tiffany”, which was the first time I realised that there was a craving for limited sneaker releases in Cardiff.
One of the first things I did when I moved to Cardiff in September 2013 was find the hottest sneaker spots in town. Walking around the city I noticed the Size? store on Queen Street, which was right next to the Foot Locker.
I was really happy to find that there were actually some places I could go for my sneakerhead needs and even happier to find that more often than not there was more supply than demand for some of the more limited releases. For example, I was able to pick up the LeBron XI ‘King’s Pride’ at Foot Locker weeks after they had sold out everywhere.
Over that summer a had started taking an interest in Nike SBs so I was really eager to find a Nike SB Quickstrike account in Cardiff. After a bit of research and asking around I found an independent skate shop called ‘City Surf’ located in the High Street Arcade. I saw that they still had a Nike SB x MIA Skateshop Dunk Low left and started talking to Mike, the guy behind the counter, about Nike SB. One of the things he suggested to me for the Quickstrike releases was to ‘just get parlay with whoever owns a skate shop.’
When Nike announced that they would be releasing the ‘Tiffany” Dunks as a high top I knew I had to get myself a pair, because I just loved the way they looked and I preferred the high top Dunks to the lows. At the time Nike didn’t announce a release date for them so I took Mike’s advice and checked in with the City Surf crew regularly to find out when they would release. The date was pushed back multiple times but the shoes would finally release on the 29th of March 2014.
I had already planned to go to the store early in the morning to make extra sure that I could get a pair. And since I couldn’t see that many people being interested in getting a pair I figured I could take my two flatmates Tomi and Fabien with me to pick up an extra pair for a friend of mine back in Germany and another to sell on and make my money back.
When the release day came around I got up at 5:30 AM and woke up my flat mates. We left the house at 6 AM and headed to Starbucks, where I bought the guys some to make up for me dragging them out of bed that early on a Saturday. I thought we had plenty of time, since I doubted anyone would show up that early, not in Cardiff. So I was very surprised to find that there were already six people queuing up on High Street waiting for the Arcade to open up…
It turned out that the first few people had already shown up at midnight. Words could not describe the disappointment I felt when I heard rumours that City Surf would only be getting six pairs. Tomi’s schadenfreude was unbearable, mocking me for being so naiv. He said that there was no point in staying and suggested that we go back home so he could go back to sleep.
Fabien on the other hand was very optimistic, suggesting that it couldn’t hurt to stick around until the shop opened up, because who knew? Maybe Nike sent out enough pairs for everyone (yeah right…) Regardless, we put our names on the list at 8, 9 and 10.
I had thought of a back up plan: Nike was releasing the Tiffanys online as well. I gave my friend back home, whom I would have given my second pair if I managed to pick up more than one, access to my Twitter and Nike account so he could try his luck with the Twitter release. Simultaneously all of us waiting in line at City Surf tried to win the lottery that was a Nike Twitter release on our phones at precisely 8 AM. It was no surprise that we all struck out. The demand for the shoe all over the world was just overwhelmingly high.
Then came the next setback: The Arcade finally opened the gates shortly after 8 AM and we proceeded to City Surf’s front doors. They had left us a message on the door saying there were only 4 pairs available. My chances of getting a pair now looked next to impossible. But Fabien told me to remain optimistic.
It was a good thing that I remained optimistic, because before the Arcade opened up another queue had apparently built on the other side. There was some confusion regarding the integrity of the list and consequently City Surf’s owner ‘Evo’ decided to give three pairs to the three guys that had already queued up at midnight and raffle the remaining pair. Seeing that there were so many people and not enough shoes he decided to raffle a fifth pair. Everyone got five tickets but Tomi refused to take part, because he didn’t actually want the shoe that bad and there were plenty of others that did.
I don’t remember what number Evo pulled out of the hat, but I know that I had missed the number by just one. I felt my heart drop into my stomach, but then I Fabien in the corner of my eye with his French guy smile and his hand up in the air holding the winning ticket! I tried really hard not to smile and inconspicuously told him to choose the size US 10 and handed him my wallet so he could pay (I wasn’t inconspicuous at all. It’s hard to convey sarcasm in writing…).
So yeah, we managed to walk out of the store with one pair of the Nike SB x Diamond Co Dunk High “Tiffany” that none of us had any business of getting our hands on and headed off to Weatherspoon’s for a celebratory breakfast of champions.
I felt a little bad for the way I got them, but sometimes you just have to be ruthless in order to get the hottest shoes. This whole experience changed my view on everything. Fabien’s optimism inspired me. The experience also opened my eyes to how Nike screws over the little guys with their small supply that never meets the demand. It also turned me off reselling. I vowed to never again buy a pair of sneakers with the sole intent of reselling them.
But the story doesn’t end here.
About two weeks later, when I was back in Cologne I was supposed to meet up with that friend of mine, whom I was going to give that second pair to. But he told me he was going to be late so I just randomly walked around the city to waste time and ended up at my local skate shop ‘Pivot’. I don’t know why but I went inside and asked the guy whether they got the Tiffanys back when they released.
He asked me: “What size are you?”
I answered: “US 11. Why do you ask?”
“We actually just got a restock in from Nike! It’s only one pair and it’s a US 11.5. I was just about to post on our site that we got them in and the first to come here can have them.”
And there I was. I couldn’t believe my luck! The US 10s I had were just a little bit too tight for me, as I am usually a US 10.5 and ideally a US 11 in SBs. Ironically I was wearing my too small Tiffanys that day, toes bleeding and all. And now I had the chance to pick them up in a size that I could actually wear without torturing myself.
Maybe it was some good karma going my way after I struck out on the What The Kobe’s (maybe a topic for another Flashback Friday) and the Red Octobers. Needless to say I bought them, and I sold my US 10s to the friend that stood me up. Kinda funny how things work out sometimes, huh?
Have you ever gone through so much trouble for a pair of shoes and struck out? Or have you ever had a lucky pick-up that you weren’t expecting?
Let me know in the comments below.