Flashback Friday #4: Origin Story: Rite of Passage

To conclude my origin story I am going to tell you about my rite of passage to sneakerhead status: the first time I camped out for a shoe.

David knew that I was a huge Kanye West fan and back in 2012 he pointed out that he had designed a shoe for Nike, the Air Yeezy. I had only heard about his designs for Louis Vuitton but I started doing a little research and found out that he was set to release his second signature shoe soon.

That was how I started to really get in to the sneaker game. I would check multiple sneaker blogs several times a day to see what was new and if there were any updates on the Air Yeezy 2. The first time I saw the shoe I knew I had to have them. They would release in two colourways: Wolf Grey/Pure Platinum and Black/Solar Red. I really wanted the latter.

Sean Pecas mixing and matching both colourways

It was a good thing that David worked at The Good Will Out. They had released the original Yeezys back in the day and he confirmed to me that they would be one of three stores in Germany to get the sequel. So as soon as a release day was known he let me know.

I remember the release date for the shoe being announced and rescheduled repeatedly. The final release date was set for the 9th of June 2012. This was good news for me because the Thursday before the release was a holiday, making it an extended weekend.

But there was also some bad news: The Good Will Out would only release the Wolf Grey/Pure Platinum colourway. The Black/Solar Red ones would only be available at Solebox in Berlin.

Hikmet of Solebox swimming in Black/Solar Red Yeezy 2s

Given the hype surrounding the long wait for the release and their limitation to 1500 pairs, camping out for the Yeezys was inevitable. I thought the long weekend would ensure I had plenty of time to camp out.

But I when I saw that the first few sneakerheads starting to camp out on the Monday I knew that showing up on Wednesday after school wasn’t going to be enough. I decided to skip school that day and went straight to The Good Will Out with my camping chair, umbrella and sleeping bag.

I showed up there at 8 AM, when I was supposed to be in school, to secure myself a good spot on the list. My friend Johannes joined me just a little bit later and we set up our chairs in the pouring rain. It felt like I was being punished for not showing up to school.

I remember some girl and her boyfriend showing up not long after Johannes did. Her brother had asked her to camp out for him while he was at work. They were only there for 15 minutes before they were sick of the terrible weather and disappeared. They weren’t even around long enough to put their name on the list when TGWO opened its doors at noon. Johannes and I started off as numbers 37 and 38.

Luckily Johannes and I hung in there because the weather did eventually get better. And when it got better two more friends of ours joined us. Luca and Matthias had heard that the Yeezys would be worth a lot of money after the release. They didn’t have school either and decided to make a smart investment in exchange for four days of camping.

Luca’s mother brought us vegetable stew for lunch on the first day. My dad was also kind enough to leave us his car to sleep in. Many of the campers praised him for being such a cool dad and supporting my crazy cause. The car stood it in a no-parking zone right in front of the store for three days. None of us were old enough to drive the car in case it had to be moved but luckily that wasn’t necessary.

The guys from The Good Will Out were great hosts as well. They organised pizza, beer, Red Bull and Vitamin Water for all the campers. It created a chill atmosphere and we had a lot of fun.

We also met a lot of interesting people. One of them was a professional sneaker reseller. He kept trying to convince Matthias and Luca to sell him their pairs for a low but still fair price for their troubles so he could have a complete size run of the Yeezys.

He also showed off his epic collection of more than 700 pairs on his iPad in an effort to intrigue them in a trade. But he couldn’t persuade either of them. They were in it for the big bucks.

On Friday afternoon the shoes were delivered to the store giving all of the campers a chance to see the shoe they had been camping for in person. It also became clear how many pairs there would be. Nike delivered 117 pairs, which was a lot in comparison to other stores, but by then more than 130 had gathered outside The Good Will Out.

This provoked a stricter check schedule. Instead of three hour intervals there would now be check times every hour until midnight and then again from 9 AM the next morning. If you missed one of the check times your name would be taken off the list. As some people failed to show up for the check times our names moved up the list by a couple of spots, putting Johannes and I at 32 and 33.

I was a little paranoid about the next day when I would walk out of the store with a pair of shoes said to be worth €2000, so I asked my dad to come pick me up. But because my friends and I wanted to watch the games of the Euros taking place that summer we ended up draining the battery of the car. My dad had it arranged for the car to be towed in the morning, providing entertaining scenes for all of the campers.

And at 12:00 PM precisely The Good Will Out opened its doors and welcomed in the first two people on the list. It took about an hour for my name to finally get called up. I was super excited and had the biggest grin going across my face. They handed me a pair of Yeezys in a US 11.

Then Johannes was called inside. He needed a US 10.5 but they were already sold out and they had just given me the last pair in US 11. So they brought him a US 12. I felt bad for him and offered him my US 11 and tried on the US 12.

He told me that I didn’t have to but I insisted. Sometimes I regret this decision because I feel that my foot has gotten smaller since and could now fit a US 10, of which there were still a few available…

And what’s even worse is that David told me there was a mix up with a pair that the owners of The Good Will Out had put aside for one of their friends. The friend had requested a pair in US 12 but they set aside a US 11… That US 11 should have been mine!

Nevertheless I am very happy with my Wolf Grey/Pure Platinum Yeezy 2s. I have grown very fond of the colourway. They will forever be connected to the memory of how I got them and much more, which is why I decided not to trade them for another size or another colour.

Have you ever camped out for a shoe? Would you ever camp out for a shoe? Do you think I’m crazy for doing this?

Let me know in the comments below.

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2 thoughts on “Flashback Friday #4: Origin Story: Rite of Passage

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