Does your closet have more shoes than shirts? Do you design your entire outfit around your footwear? Do you buy multiple pairs of the same shoe and/or see sneakers as a financial investment? Then you just might be a sneakerhead.
Thanks to the annual H–Town Sneaker Summit—yes, they have one, and it’s celebrating its 10th anniversary this month—the Bayou City is at the foot-fetish forefront. First held as an informal gathering at an Internet café, the HSS soon expanded to bars, then concert venues, then the Toyota Center. These days, it attracts crowds up to 6,000 strong to the Venue Formerly Known as Reliant Center (rechristened the NRG Center in March).
H-Town Sneaker Summit
July 27, 3 p.m.
1 Reliant Park
Bryan Angelle, the event’s founder, creative director, and chief summiteer, says that sneaker culture combines elements of style, sports, and nostalgia. Accordingly, the HSS showcases the latest looks while giving fans the chance to buy, sell, or trade vintage kicks.
“Regular people live paycheck to paycheck, but sneakerheads live sneaker release to sneaker release,” Angelle says. “A sneakerhead appreciates the details a bit more than a casual wearer. Aside from just worrying about style and comfort of shoes, the sneakerhead looks for premium materials, exclusive colorways, guest designers, limited releases, and sometimes even special packaging.”
Poly-hyphenate rapper Bun B, who, by the way, dislikes being called a sneakerhead despite owning nearly 500 pairs, was an early supporter of the Sneaker Summit.
“I do love sneakers, and I have acquired a few pairs over the years,” he tells Houstonia. “The great thing about the Summit is that it was built up by the local community, and we take great pride in that. It’s not some multinational sponsor just putting on a trade show. I especially like seeing families and young kids there who are discovering their own style.”
For many, the Summit provides a second chance to buy the kicks they lusted after as kids. Bun B is still on the hunt for his dream shoe: the Nike Dunk for Love or Money, of which only 24 pairs were originally produced.
As for current trends, Angelle says that Kevin Durant’s Nike KD VI is one of this year’s hottest shoes. Sneaker designer Ronnie Fieg’s Asics retro running shoe consistently sells out at shoe stores, as does the customizable Adidas ZX Flux. Also in demand are the Nike and Louis Vuitton sneakers designed by Kanye West, and the Nike Air Mag—known as the Back to the Future shoe—which features LED lights and automatic lacing technology.
So what’s Angelle’s holy-grail shoe? An autographed pair of Air Jordans that Michael wore in a playoff game.
“I want something that [Jordan] created a magical, historic moment in,” he said. “One of these shoes recently sold on eBay for over $100,000.”