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A Beginner’s Guide to Sneaker Collecting

Lawrence Tan (@itssolegoodph on instagram)

A couple of days from turning over a new leaf could be enough reason to get started on the sneaker collecting space. Footwear provides another medium of expression—something subtle or extravagant at times, complementing one’s identity. While there aren’t any specific metrics for determining a “sneakerhead,” it all comes down to knowledge of the industry and (of course) the extent of one’s collection.

Whether a sneaker novice or a returning entrant, we provide a brief refresher course when it comes to going down the long and winding rabbit hole that is sneakers.

Follow your sole (soul)

Instagram: @itssolegoodph

Drawing back to anybody’s first touchpoint with sneakers they wanted as a kid, it consisted of an intimate touchpoint—a connection, if you’d call it, drawing them in not because of the “hype” or resell markups but the intrinsic value it holds. Whether it’s Ray Allen’s portrayal of Jesus Shuttlesworth, repping the “He Got Game” 13s, or Kobe Bryant’s 81 against the Toronto Raptors in the Nike Zoom Kobe 1, that first contact with a pair of shoes is something irreplaceable, igniting a desire within.

Still, trying to figure out where to start? Think about that same feeling of yearning when you were little. What made you resonate with the pair? Was it its association with a personal idol, utility, or style overall? Embrace that same mindset and follow what you believe best describes you and your style.

Nowadays, getting into sneaker collecting begs the same question as whether or not you’d end up justifying a ₱10,000 (or even a ₱30,000 at times) purchase of a recent attraction or nostalgia. Be sure to weigh the pros and cons and be wary about your cops, ensuring you get the most value out of them.

Where to go from here

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Now you’ve got an idea of your first inhabitant for your collection! What comes next is the (continuous) hunt for the gold. Sneakers aren’t like decade-old postcards or coins, as looking into the scarcity of in-demand silhouettes or the hefty resell prices, recent and coveted pairs have skyrocketed with (almost often) only the bottom of the haystack for grabs.

If your goal is to secure a pair that you came across from your favorite TikTok creator or Pinterest board, my best guess is to wish upon a star and try your luck on the next raffle or keep up with the distributors’ socials as to when a re-release may surface.

Though don’t worry, hope isn’t lost if ever you’d be open to spending an extra buck or settling for pre-owned models. There is a wide variety of reliable resellers of brand-new and used pairs across social media and in the metro. Unlike the experience and price of buying an authentic pair in-store, be sure to educate yourself regarding the varying sneaker conditions, replicas, and quality control issues, ensuring that what you’re committed to is the real deal. Here are a couple of terms to note when scouring the internet for pairs.

Basic Sneaker Terminologies for Filipino Dummies

  • Brand New Deadstock/Deadstock (BNDS/DS), a deadstock or never-worn pair
  • Very New Deadstock/Pass As Deadstock (VNDS/PADS), fitted or worn once, breaking the “brand new” condition.
  • Used/”Pang Sariling Gamit” or For Personal Use (PSG), worn condition as it’s best to check the condition of the item (either in-person or through photos/videos) before purchasing.
  • Want to Buy (WTB), if the creator of the post has the intention of purchasing a pair
  • Want to Sell (WTS), if the creator of the post has the intention of selling a pair
  • Want to Trade (WTT), if the creator of the post has the intention of trading a pair

We’ll dive into this deeper another time, but that’s pretty much everything you’d need to know when starting.

Embrace a variety

Instagram: @itssolegood

Sneakers are like a floral garden—color brings a newfound persona to one's home, whether one type of seedling or more. There’s nothing wrong with sticking to a single brand/silhouette, though I recommend expanding your household with models and materials fit for several occasions. Likened to Andrew Polo’s trending TikTok sound, here are several suggestions with the five shoes needed in any rotation:

  • Something for the everyday, consisting of runners, relatively easy to put on, and comfortable on the go (ex. Birkenstock Boston, Nike Vomero 5, On Cloud 5, Puma Palermo, Salomon XT-6, etc.).
  • Something skinny, sleek, and conforms to the foot shape (ex. Adidas Gazelle, Adidas Samba, Converse Chuck 70, Onitsuka Mexico 66, Vans Sk-8 Low, etc.).
  • Something dressy, for the night outs and preppy occasions (ex. Clarks Wallabee, Cole Hann Tassel Loafers, Dr. Martens Adrian Tassel Loafers, etc.).
  • Something chunky that accentuates style, (possibly) height, and is ideal for a variety of settings (ex. Adidas Campus, New Balance 590, New Balance 990, Nike Air Force 1, Puma Creeper, etc.),
  • Something special, which is meaningful and stylish for you (basically, anything that floats your boat).

There isn’t a distinct formula for this, though be sure to lay out a variety, ideal for any setting, climate, or fit. Play with the colors and materials as to what complements the ensemble on top best. On another note, considering the Philippines’ susceptibility to pours, it’s also best to include a “rainy day” shoe or alternative beaters for when you could care less about what’s on foot.

Always have room to grow

Instagram: @itssolegood

Continue sprinkling your newly rooted sneaker garden with pairs that embrace your persona. I’d say to care less about what other people think and rep what you believe makes you feel most comfortable and confident, getting the best deal out of your pairs. If you’d let them collect dust on display, use them for the everyday, or only during special occasions, what matters is that their personal value remains intact.

Keeping your sneakers in good condition is recommended, given the possibility of having to “unload to reload” or disposing of older silhouettes for new ones. There’s nothing wrong with moving pairs around, constantly keeping your rotation fresh and updated with your style.

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