Flashback Friday #7: Sneakerness Paris 2014


When I rejoined Sneaker Freaker in July of 2014 I was involved in the operations of Sneakerness, Europe’s largest sneaker convention. While I didn’t play a part in the planning of Sneakerness Paris I was put in charge of organising the website as well as planning Sneaker Freaker’s appearance at the show.

Ironically, I had never been to a Sneakerness convention before even though the arguably most successful Sneakerness takes place in my hometown of Cologne every year since I got into the sneaker game. But somehow I always managed not to be home when it took place.

The plan was to promote and sell the original Sneaker Freaker Magazine in Paris. The idea of creating a special French edition just for the show was also discussed, for which my French skills would have been in demand. Unfortunately the Australians did not approve of the idea and the project was scrapped.

Nevertheless I picked out all of the English magazines we had at the office in preparation for our trip to Paris, as well as stickers, promo pens and other stuff we had lying around the office for our booth.

We left on Thursday 4 September and took the company van to drive to Paris. It took us a little longer than we had liked, having run into traffic, so we were all exhausted when we finally got to the hotel. We had a bit of trouble parking the van, since Paris is not suited for big vehicles, but we eventually found a car park that could accommodate our Fiat Ducato.


While the hotel was not the best (the bathroom door that couldn’t open without hitting the fixed baggage rack being the mandatory Ibis Hotel imperfection) the neighbourhood was picturesque – it was located by a promenade alongside le Canal de Saint-Denis. The adjacent streets were narrow and filthy, the café on the corner was frequented by French hipsters and the man seated by the canal with a fishing rod next to a sign that said “pêche interdit” (fishing not permitted) was the icing on the cake – beautiful!

The next morning we headed to the Centquatre cultural centre were Sneakerness Paris was going to take place. I was in charge of setting up our booth. The location in the venue was perfect, right where people would make a U-Turn and devote all their attention to our stand.

Sneakerness Paris 2

On Saturday 6 September the event finally kicked off. Long lines had formed way before the doors were actually opened. Part of the reason was the release of the Sneakerness x Puma XT2 “Parisian Lights” of which 150 pairs would be sold exclusively at Sneakerness Paris. As part of the team I managed to get my hands on a pair. I’ll tell you more about them in my next Sneaker Spotlight.

Our Sneaker Freaker booth turned out to be a great success. Part of our setup was a photo wall where people could take pictures for freebies. An instant photo print machine that would print out polaroids of Instagram posts tagged with #donnedesailes and #sneakernessparis was also close by making our booth a popular destination at Sneakerness Paris.

Sneakerness Paris 3

Another highlight was the one-of-one SF Flux, a promo sample of the miadidas ZX Flux with a Sneaker Freaker sticker collage photo print upper. Given the Trademark regulations of the miZXFlux App the shoe could not be replicated.

Sneakerness Paris was a wonderful experience. The event itself was massive with the amount of shoes and “hype shit” put on display and offered for sale – mostly for exorbitant price tags that I could/would never pay. I did manage to get some great deals though, like my SPoT x Nike SB Dunk High “Cigars” for Retail and the aforementioned “Parisian Lights”.


It was great returning to my forbidden city that was the scene for many unpleasant childhood memories – which include missing out on the Star Wars x Adidas Top Ten Low “Droids” – and I look forward to the next one.

Make sure to check back on Sunday for my Sneaker Spotlight on the Sneakerness x Puma XT2 “Parisian Lights”.

Flashback Friday #6.1: Top 3 Sneakers I missed out on in 2014

Now that 2014 has come to an end I thought I’d share with you my favourite sneakers of the past year. I have compiled three top threes of sneakers I missed out on, sneakers from before 2014 that I picked up this year and sneakers from 2014 that I managed to get my hands on.

Here is my Top 3 of Sneakers I missed out on this year:

Honourable Mentions:

New Balance x Nice Kicks 1600 “Grand Anse”

The New Balance x Nice Kicks 1600 “Grand Anse” deserves an honourable mention because it is a shoe that I really wanted and still want. It reminds me of the beautiful white beaches and bright blue waters of the Bahamas. That idea is not too far fetched because the shoe was inspired by the Grand Anse beach of Grenada.

These shoes released on the same day as the Nike SB x Diamond Supply “Tiffany” Dunks. I did try to buy them online at Sneakersnstuff while standing in line at City Surf but I received an error while checking out.

The reason why these aren’t in my Top 3 is because they are easily available for very fair prices. Compared to other releases that keep popping up adding this shoe to my rotation can wait.

New Balance x Concepts 997 “Rosé”

concepts rose 5

The New Balance x Concepts 997 “Rosé” also deserve an honourable mention. The first time I saw these was while translating the latest issue of Sneaker Freaker gracing one of the covers. I loved the pink and silver colour combo, which reminded me of the Porkie Dunks Concepts did last year. The suede upper and croc-embossed leather tongue gave the shoe a luxury theme inspired by the Piper Heidsieck rosé champagne bottle.

But that luxurious theme and choice in material gave the “Made in USA” shoe a luxury price tag of $235 at retail! Unfortunately they only released at Concepts in-store and online. I could not justify paying that plus $70 for shipping and the inevitable customs charges. No shoe is worth paying that much to me. Had they been released in Europe for a reasonable retail price I would probably have gone for them.

As I don’t regret not buying these as much because of the crazy retail price I didn’t include them in my Top 3 either.

  1. Air Jordan XI Low “Concord”

I was in Paris about a week after they dropped and I walked into a sport wear shop near my old school and saw the Air Jordan XI Low “Concord” on the shelf. I couldn’t believe it because they had sold out everywhere and thought they were fakes at first.

But they were the real thing. Paris has a lot of smaller sneaker shops that get Quickstrikes, unlike the UK or Germany where only the bigger boutiques get to stock them.

They only had one pair left and they were my size too, but as I was outlet shopping the day before I didn’t want to spend any more money unsure. Plus I was sceptical of the quality of the shoes since I had been let down by Jordans before.

But the shoe is still one of the best Jordans out there and I prefer the Low XI to the High. The colourway is one of the freshest there is so I regret not pulling the trigger on them.

  1. Nike Air Max Lunar90 “Moon Landing”


This release was a weird one because the Nike Air Max Lunar90 “Moon Land” was set to release on a Sunday, which is unusual for Europe. The shoe was released on the 45th anniversary of the Apollo 11 mission that made Neil Armstrong the first man to walk on the moon. To celebrate this scientific milestone Nike threw a lunar surface print on the Air Max Lunar90.

I’m not a huge fan of Air Max. I feel that they have been worn out and the shape just doesn’t appeal to me. But for some reason this shoe just ticked all the boxes for me: Space theme, Lunarlon sole, Hyperfuse upper, mismatched heels with the Star Spangled Banner, 3M and yes, the Tier Zero status probably played a big part in my longing for this shoe.

There were a few possibilities for getting this shoe: Nike would release them online, before that END were going to have them and Nigh, the sister store of my local sneaker boutique would also get them because it has the Tier Zero account. I placed all my eggs into the NikeStore basket so I intentionally missed the release at and on Saturday night.

That turned out to be a huge mistake because I forgot to set an alarm for the NikeStore release. What was weird though was that I woke up at 9:30 AM EST, 30 minutes before they went live. But I was so tired that I couldn’t keep myself awake for the next 30 minutes and dozed back off to sleep. I woke up 40 minutes later to realise that I just overslept what was to be on of the biggest NikeLab releases of the year!

“No biggie,” I thought to myself. Nigh was going to release them at midnight so it shouldn’t be much of a problem. But it was a problem. The Nigh servers were not capable of handling the traffic that surged to the site when the shoes were to go live and crashed. What made the whole thing even weirder was that these did not release in-store at all. Nigh is only open Fridays and Saturdays, but because Nike scheduled to release them on Sunday they decided to sell them online rather than waiting for the following Friday. This meant I didn’t have the home field advantage that I had hoped for.

Because no shoes were sold at launch at midnight I sacrificed my lunch break to go to The Good Will Out and ask whether I could just buy a pair in store. But the guy who was there in the morning said they would have to see if there were any pairs left after the orders and asked me to leave my size and phone number so he could give me a call if there was a pair left in my size. In theory I had put in my order before anyone else could have because I was the only one there that morning but I still couldn’t get a pair.

People always say that you get caught up in the hype whenever a shoe drops and you get mad when you miss out. Then one week later you will have forgotten all about that shoe. But here we are five months later and I’m still thinking about it…

  1. Nike Air Yeezy 2 “Red October”

This shoe is a weird one to put at number one of the list because it’s not so much that really wanted to the shoe but rather that I missed out on the opportunity to buy them.

I don’t really consider myself a hypebeast although some may want to argue that. I bought my Yeezy 2 “Wolf Greys” because I liked the shoe, because I am a fan of Kanye West and because I wanted to experience a camp-out.

I was prepared to do it again for the Red Octobers if they released, less because of the shoe itself but more because of the camp-out. Although I didn’t dislike the shoe itself the biggest appeal to me was its limited availability. I wouldn’t mind owning a pair of Red Octobers but I wouldn’t pay more than retail for them.

When Kanye left Nike in December of 2013 no one knew whether they would ever make it to retail. So Nike took everyone by surprise when the Red Octobers dropped outta nowhere in February of this year, Randy Orton steeze.

In true Quickstrike fashion Nike tweeted out a link to the Red Octobers on February 9th at 6 PM BST without any prior announcements. I don’t usually hang out on Twitter much. I basically use it for Nike’s Twitter only releases. Only when I am really bored with nothing better to do will I go on Twitter. And February 9th was one of those days. I remember wanting to click the bookmark sometime that evening but then thinking to myself: “Today you are going to stay clear of social media,” which I did, until a friend of mine wrote me on Facebook to tell me the Red Octobers dropped…

I was livid. Not because I really, really wanted the shoe but because I had missed out on the opportunity to buy them. At the time I didn’t have a red pair of shoes in my rotation so they would have fit in there nicely. They were online for 11 freaking minutes. That is unheard of these days in the age of bots and add-to-cart-services (an issue I will address in a future WOMMW). Most mainstream media sites were astonished by these 11 minutes because they thought it was very short timeframe for shoes to sell out. But compared to your average Jordan retro release that seems to go down every other week that is eternity. Surely, I could have bought a second pair if I had discovered the tweet early enough. I could have traded them for some Black/Solar Red joints. Coulda, woulda, shoulda, but I didn’t.

Flashback Friday #6.2: Top 3 Sneakers from before 2014

Now that 2014 has come to an end I thought I’d share with you my favourite sneakers of the past year. I have compiled three top threes of sneakers I missed out on, sneakers from before 2014 that I picked up this year and sneakers from 2014 that I managed to get my hands on.

Here is my Top 3 of Sneakers from before 2014 that I picked up this year:

3. Nike SB Dunk High “Cigar” DSC_0627

I occasionally treat myself to a Cuban cigar or cigarillo so when I found out that the Skate Park of Tampa did cigar-inspired Dunk I wanted to get my hands on them. I found a deadstock pair in my size at Sneakerness Paris that I picked up for retail.

2. Nike SB Dunk High “Skunk” 


Another smoke-inspired Dunk. You don’t have to be a stoner to appreciate the detail that went into the design of this shoe. I never thought I’d own a pair but I managed scored these on ebay for £140. They were worn and came without the box and the purple laces. But I didn’t mind because I buy my shoes to wear them.

3. New Balance x Oshman’s x Mita 574 “Mojito” 


This time it’s a drink-inspired sneaker. This shoe was my other holy grail, the one that got me into runners. I couldn’t get these when they released at Oshman’s because ordering from Japan is very complicated. I only realised that they released in Europe when it was too late.

I bought a US 10 off ebay in October 2013 but they were a bit too tight. It took a while but I finally managed to find a US 10.5 at Sneakerness Cologne that only set me back €150.

Flashback Friday #6.3: Top 3 Sneakers from 2014

Now that 2014 has come to an end I thought I’d share with you my favourite sneakers of the past year. I have compiled three top threes of sneakers I missed out on, sneakers from before 2014 that I picked up this year and sneakers from 2014 that I managed to get my hands on.

Here is my Top 3 of Sneakers from 2014 that I picked up this year:

  1. Nike LeBron XI “What The”


I love the Nike LeBron XI for its looks, comfort and how easy it is to clean. Loud sneakers and mismatched pairs are exactly my style and these were screaming right at me with its 28 colourways from past LeBron releases all mashed into one. The ease at which I was able to score these off NikeStore surprised me. It was probably because of the €220 price tag that was a little high but still worth it to me.

  1. Asics x The Good Will Out Gel Lyte V “Koyo”


I admit that I may be a little biased here because these were designed by my hometown sneaker store but I really am impressed by these. The Gel Lyte V has the potential to be my favourite runner for its silhouette and comfort. The design was inspired by the Japanese autumn and was executed very well, the little details in particular. You can read more about them here.


Make sure to check out the new Sneaker Spotlight this Sunday where I will reveal my favourite sneaker of 2014. Until then…

What was your favourite shoe of 2014? Which shoes do you regret passing on? Let me know in the comments below!

Flashback Friday #5: Internship at Sneaker Freaker

cologne dunk

Today the @sneakerfreakerofficial Instagram account posted a picture of me (or rather my shoes) on the roof of the old office building in Ehrenfeld because they just moved out and into a new building. This inspired me to make this week’s Flashback Friday about my time at Sneaker Freaker Germany.

I had already tried to apply for an internship at Sneaker Freaker the summer I graduated from school but they never got back to me… Nevertheless I tried my luck a second time the following summer, this time trying a different email address that went straight to the editorial department.

They promptly responded to my application saying I would be a good fit for them with my language skills and enthusiasm for sneakers. They invited me to an interview to get a better idea of me.

I was still in Cardiff at the time but I was really keen on doing an internship with them. I did not want to postpone the interview so I flew back home to Cologne just so I could make the interview on the proposed date. Naturally I wore my Yeezys for good luck but also to show off. So I was a little surprised when Daniel, the managing editor and first guy I was introduced to, didn’t recognise them… He asked me what I was wearing but when I told him he recognised them.

He then introduced me to Pascal, the editor-in-chief, who was grossed out by my choice of footwear but said: “as long as they’re not fakes it’s all good.” We returned to Daniel’s office to chat a bit about what it is Sneaker Freaker does.

The magazine is mostly a translation of the Australian original with a few local pieces here and there. This was a big part of why they wanted me on the team. Translating a whole magazine can be very time consuming and in order to make the deadline they set for themselves Daniel needed some help completing them. And as a native English speaker who grew up in Germany I was the right man for the job.

Unfortunately they weren’t able to offer me any money at the time, but since I needed some sort of work placement for my journalism course I agreed to work for them without pay for two weeks. I looked to impress with my personality as well as my work to convince them to keep me on their team a little longer and maybe find a way to pay me.

The day I started my internship I got a little more familiar with the office building. Sneaker Freaker is a subsidiary of the Intro Verlag so they were located on the same floor of the 4711-Haus. So to celebrate my new place of work I threw on my “4711” Dunks and the matching shirt. Again, I was surprised that my new superiors didn’t know these existed and that they were inspired by the world famous Eau de Cologne (I’ll go into a bit more detail about these shoes in a future Sneaker Spotlight).

Nike SB Dunk 4711 PortraitI was also introduced to Giacomo, the third and final member of the Sneaker Freaker Crew. I don’t think he knew what was so special about my shoes and the time I showed up to the office with my Lance Mountain Jordan 1 SBs I had to explain to him why they were mismatched. So while he doesn’t know absolutely everything about sneakers, he could name-drop sneaker brands and models you ain’t ever even heard of and distinguish a Nike Zvezdochka from Crocs from a mile away (I mistook the Zvezdochka for Crocs the first time I saw one…)

When I finally sat down at my new workspace Daniel told me that Nike had just invited them to host a “Sneaker Freaker Sunday” at their “House of Phenomenal” in Berlin, a temporary exhibition about their newly announced line of Flyknit football boots consisting of a new Mercurial Superfly and the new Magista Obra.

Attending would be some of Germany’s biggest sneaker bloggers to be presented with this new line of football boots as well as Nike’s Genealogy of Innovation exhibition showcasing more than 40 years of innovation and technology that had crossed over and come together on these shoes.

Nike spared no expense to get as many people as possible to show up to the event. And since they paid for everyone’s travel and lodging the Sneaker Freaker Crew invited me to join them. And I did.

One week into my internship this trip already more than made up for the fact that I was not being paid. Because not only did a get a free trip to Berlin but I also had the chance to brush shoulders with some of the biggest players in the German sneaker scene, try out the most technologically advanced football boots long before they were released to the public, create any shoe of my choice for free in a NikeID session as well as some other goodies.

It was a phenomenal weekend (get it?) and I was very happy to have been a part of it. When we got back I returned to translating the rest of the magazine before the last week of my internship ended. The team was very happy with my work so at the end of the week we sat down to talk about my future with Sneaker Freaker.

They wanted me to stay on for another four weeks in which I would start creating content for their website as well as creating a special edition of Sneaker Freaker en français. I had thoroughly enjoyed the two weeks and was more than happy to return but first I needed a vacation as I had started my internship the day after returning from Uni.

Four weeks later I re-joined the Sneaker Freaker Team and experienced some crazy and awesome adventures. But I’ll tell you all about those on another episode of Flashback Friday.

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.

Flashback Friday #3: Origin Story: The Shoe That Got Me Hooked

After the year I spent living in Paris I returned back to Cologne to attend a German school for my last two years before graduating. The first friend I made at that school was David. He was half French/half Dutch who grew up in Cologne and he was a sneakerhead.

This was in September of 2011, not too long after Nike announced that they were bringing out the Air Mags from the second Back to the Future film in a limited run for charity. I was super excited about the shoes, even though I knew I could never get a pair, and asked him what he thought of them.

Finally he had someone to talk to about them because no one else had heard of them. I had only heard of them in a Back to the Future context, not a sneaker context, but we connected over them. So I started looking into what was fresh on the sneaker scene and discussed it with David.

He also told me that he had interned at The Good Will Out, Cologne’s premier sneaker shop and started working for them over the summer. I had been to the shop before but never knew much about it. All I knew was that they carried stuff you couldn’t find anywhere else in Cologne, like Jeremy Scott’s ObyO collection with Adidas. I always liked his crazy stuff, especially the Wings but I never thought I could pull them off. David told me that Jeremy Scott had designed a new version of the shoe, the Wings 2.0, and they were due to release very soon.

By February 2012 my Renzos were starting to feel a bit tight and I had really worn down the sole so it was time for me to get a new pair of kicks (ah yes, those were the days when my sneaker purchases were over a year apart). I had saved up a lot of money that I had gotten for my 16th birthday so I was prepared to spend a bit more money than usual on a pair of shoes (the usual being around €60 back then).

But rather than tracking down my Holy Grail I really had my eyes on the Jordan Spiz’ike “Bordeaux”. I never figured out why the called them that because there wasn’t a hint of wine red to be found anywhere on the shoe. But they had lots of popping colours on a white and grey base and they matched my first 59Fifty fitted with a multi-colour New York Skyline. They were the shoes that really got me hooked.


I had seen them when Kickz opened up their new store in Cologne and they only cost €110. I never had any money with me when I went to Kickz because I only ever went when killing time with my friends during our free periods and I never took a lot of cash to school. So one day I decided to go into the city with my dad to go get the shoes. I had been there during the day to make sure they were still there but when I returned with my dad they had just sold the last pair in my size.

As I was really adamant to get myself a new pair of sneaks that day my dad and I drove to The Good Will Out to take a look at Jeremy Scott’s new collection for Adidas which included the new Wings 2.0. The first pair I saw were the Stars and Stripes. Even though they cost twice as much as the Spiz’ikes I knew I had to get them. So I did. And that was the day I became a sneakerhead.

I love those shoes. Back then I didn’t have a rotation yet so I wore my wings every day. I hadn’t been at my new school very long and because we were about 130 kids in our class and I didn’t know many people, but from that day I became known as the guy with wings on his shoes.IMG_3664

Even though the Adidas Jeremy Scott Wings 2.0 “Stars and Stripes” were the shoes that made me call myself a sneakerhead I still consider the Jordan Spiz’ike “Bordeaux” as the shoe that got me hooked, even though I never owned them and don’t plan on ever owning them.

That’s because back then I tried to find them on ebay, but they were going for around €300. During the search I found that there was a pair of Jordan Son of Mars in a similar colourway, but they were called “Olympic”. I bought them as a consolation for missing out on the Spiz’ikes because they were considerably cheaper at €200 but they were not worth it.

To this day they are the only sneaker purchase I regret. The quality was despicable, the material on the toe-box was so prone to creasing and the shoes were really uncomfortable so I stopped wearing them after a while. They really turned me off of Jordans because the quality just doesn’t justify the price. That is why I am not looking to track down a pair of the Spiz’ike “Bordeaux”.

So that was how I got into sneakers.

Do you remember the shoe that got you hooked?

Let me know in the comments below.

Make sure to check back for next week’s Flashback Friday where I will conclude my sneakerhead origin story by talking about the first time I camped out for a sneaker release.

Flashback Friday #2: My Sneakerhead Origin Story: The Holy Grail


For this week’s Flashback Friday I thought I’d tell you guys my sneakerhead origin story. It will cover what peaked my interested in sneakers, my first holy grail and the shoe that got me hooked (not the same). Since my path to sneaker-freakerism stretched over a long period of time it will be spread out over three episodes of Flashback Friday. This is the prologue:

Picture Paris in November 2010 and 14 year old me strolling along the Avenue des Champs-Élysées rockin’ white canvas Tommy Hilfiger slip-ons while I was supposed to be in school. The weather was starting to get colder and wetter and my shoes weren’t really up to the task of protecting my feet from the cold and wet. I had worn them well into the ground and the canvas upper was starting to rip.

It was time for me to get some new kicks. I walked towards the Place de la Concorde with only one destination in mind: the Adidas Store. I probably wanted a new pair of Sambas, my go to shoe over the past couple of years, but the last ones I had were getting pretty tight which is why I didn’t pack them when I moved to Champs-sur-Marnes.

I climbed the stairs to the first floor where all of the Adidas Originals lines were on display. That was the first time I saw that Adidas did a collaborative collection with Star Wars. I was pretty geeky back then and I loved the original Star Wars films (and still do). I knew my new kicks had to be from that collection.


The pair that jumped out at me were the Top Ten Low “Droids” that were split down the middle with white leather on lateral for R2-D2 and gold leather on the medial for C-3PO. Those were the droids I was looking for! The detail that sold me on them was the wire graphic between the three stripes on C-3PO’s part of the shoe.

I started saving my money and cut class to come back one week later (I never really enjoyed going to school in France…). I returned to the Champs-Élysées with €110 in my pocket because that was how much I recall it saying on the price tag. But they didn’t cost €110, they cost €120. Mind you, I lived on my own at that time so I couldn’t just borrow those €10 I was missing from my parents and I probably wasn’t supposed to be spending that kind of cash on shoes anyway. So I went back to school empty handed…

The cold weather was becoming unbearable so I was really desperate for some new shoes. And instead of waiting a bit longer for those extra €10 to come along I stopped at the Val d’Europe on my way home. I actually wanted to go to the Nike outlet in La Vallée Village as I was sure I could find something in my budget there. But the outlet centre was already closed (school finished at 5PM and it always took me about an hour and a half to get home…) so I went to Sport 2000 instead.

I didn’t know much about sneakers back then or what kind of shoes were in back then. Had the outlet been open I probably would have gone for a pair of Air Force 1 Hi. However, Sport 2000 didn’t have Air Force 1s so I just looked for the fattest Nikes I could find. In the end I went for some Renzo Mids for €50.


I took this picture the first time I tried Jason Markk to clean my Renzos after 18 straight months of abuse.

I told myself after my birthday and Christmas I should have some money to buy the Droids in January. But I never got the chance to go back to the Adidas Store because my mother sent me to a boarding school just outside of Paris because in the first four months at my school in Paris I had missed 30 days…

The next time I returned to the Adidas Store was in February 2011 and the shoes were gone. I looked all over the internet to track down a pair but they were sold out everywhere. The only pairs I could find were with resellers, and they were demanding serious cash that I just didn’t have.

So even before I committed myself to the sneaker game I already had a “holy grail”. I did eventually manage to track them down and I’ll tell you that story on a future episode of Sneaker Spotlight.

Do you have a holy grail? Did you ever manage to track them down?

Let me know in the comments below.

Make sure to check back next week for the sequel of my origin story!

Flashback Friday #1: Nike SB Dunk Hi “Tiffany” Release


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.’

City Surf's Shoe Wall

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.