Growing up in Toronto for majority of my life, sneakers and sneakerheads were never truly relevant till the late 2005. Dominated by major retail chains such as Foot Locker and Champs, there wasn’t boutique stores like Livestock, Haven, Capsule and etc around. Forget about Nike.com because prior to 2016, Canadians couldn’t even order off Nike without an US mailing address. That pretty much sums up the life of being a sneakerhead in Canada over the years. Fast forward to 2017, things have changed drastically.
Over the weekend, the largest sneaker show on Earth (SneakerCon) decided to bring its show to north of the boarder for the first time. I was excited yet curious as to what and how big of a crowd to expect. After my first vendor experience 2 years, I told myself it would be my FIRST and LAST time of doing it because being a vendor at these shows just wasn’t for me. However, I do enjoy going to them just to meet some familiar faces, network and just talk about sneakers. After SneakerCon this weekend, what did i think of it…?
To start off…my first impression was – I’VE NEVER SEEN SO MANY PEOPLE line up to get into a venue in my entire life. As I stepped foot into the Enercare centre, there were crowds of people lining up at the entrance, but as you try to determine where the end of the line was…good luck! You would literally have to walk to the end of the building, walk through the back doors and loop around to even just get in line. Luckily, I didn’t have to line up and was able to get in early thanks to my buddy Salty Egg and organizer Yu-Ming. Once inside, it was as expected…the vendors were pretty much the same as those you would see at your typical SoleExchange crowd minus out the big players such as UN, Crep and some US Youtubers stands.
After what i have witnessed over the weekend, sneaker culture has evolved and still evolving. Better or worse…i don’t know. However one thing was evident and that was shoe YouTubers definitely dominated the event more so than the actual shoes. Many kids at a much younger age than when i first started getting involved into sneakers were there to meet their idol Youtubers. Compared to an event I went to many years ago called SneakerPimps, the style and target was MUCH different. At the end of the day, I very much still saw a bit of the old culture still alive. Part of the reasons I go to these events is to see what other fellow sneakerheads wear on feet. In my opinion, what you choose to wear to these events defines whom you are. Ie. the stereotypical yeezy adidas on foot I know right away you’re probably fresh in the game vs. the OG Jordan 1 1985 I know right off the bat we speak the same language.
To summarize, I was bittersweet about the event. Yes, I have to accept the fact the culture has changed drastically compared to the very culture I fell in love with almost 1 decade ago. Aside from this, I have to give props to SneakerCon for hosting such a great event. Being able to bring out that many people in one day with a common interest is pretty impressive. I didn’t cop much at the event aside from a pair SoleFly Jordan XVI and a UN and parlor 23 shirt just to show my support. If you want further proof as to how the sneaker culture has changed, enjoy the comments you would find in the below IG post from SneakerCon. Based on the comments, I am able to distinguish true vs. non-true sneakerheads without even viewing their profile…LOL