But it really isn’t that hard to do. All you really have to do is start off by complimenting their sneakers. Chances are, if they open up to you about them in any detailed manner, they’re sneakerheads, or on the way.
I write code for a living (hence CYSTech). At my office, where I work and get paid to pay for this expensive niche, we follow the same trends as every other tech company nowadays (wear pretty much anything you want, within appropriate limits), but many of my colleagues aren’t on to sneakers like me. I could wear any heat on any given day, and a number of my counterparts won’t think anything of it. They don’t know any better (and probably don’t care). But on one particular day, during a department-wide learning event put on by Amazon, six small words turned into camaraderie and a new contact in my network, professional and otherwise.
“How do you like the 270s?”
I wasn’t wearing any at the time (I don’t own any yet, and I was rocking NMD R1s), but the guy I asked was. He told me he had two pairs, the Black/White he was wearing and the Dusty Cactus back at home. We then talked about Air Max and VaporMax in general, how we got into sneakers, and the rest was history. We were talking sneakers like the homies talking sports at the barbershop. This man is 19 years my senior. Like anyone above the age of 30, he wanted to put me on to knowledge and tried to put me on to GOAT, but I let him know I knew all the shops. after we talked for about 15 minutes during lunch, we exchanged information, continued on with the day’s agenda, and connected briefly after everything was over.
“I like those Prestos, man.”
Another guy at work, but in the HR department, had on some serious Presto heat. Come to find out a few seconds later, he was in the sneaker industry for a while, so he often got heat at little to no cost for him. He showed me some of his rotation just to back up claims, and he really knew his stuff. I was beyond elated and impressed. Real recognizes real, so he let me know that he’s been watching what’s been on my feet daily, and he recognized the rotation. That was 3 weeks ago. Now we talk sneakers and releases every time we see each other at the office. And of course I had to plug the brand one time for the culture.
“First off, I like your Forrest Gumps. Second, do you have this in 13?”
Nike should consider cutting me some influencer checks the way I’ve been going on about the Air Huarache City (the sneaker is one of the best Huaraches made, @ me). I was at a Finish Line with my man Joseph in the Inland Empire, and homegirl came through with the most vibrant Forrest Gump Cortez pair I had ever seen. We talked about them for a brief minute before she remembered she had a job to do. She went to the back, came back with what could be one of Nike’s most iconic sneakers in the modern era (again, @ me), in size 13, and then we talked about said sneaker. I got pretty lucky as they had just dropped at the time of my copping, and she had gone in depth about the sneaker, as she had swooped on a pair (of course), putting me on to it even more.
“Son of a b*tch. What the f*ck.”
My man JP and I have known each other for a decade. He wasn’t always a sneakerhead, but he is a skateboarder, so he was caught up with sneakers and news. He recently started working for Undefeated, and now he gets ALL THE DAMN HEAT. 97/1’s? Got ‘Em, as SNKRS will tell a fortunate few of us every couple of weeks. Black Off-White Vapormax? Copped. Undefeated Protro? Signed, sealed, delivered. Any hot release Undefeated has, he has. Now, not being the biggest sneakerhead or hypebeast, which I actually admire and appreciate a lot, he never fails to have the subtle flex nowadays. I said those above words on a particular night where his outfit was so incognito, I almost didn’t notice the VaporMaxes he had on. (His mom is also one of the nicest women I have ever come to know, so he isn’t really a son of a b*tch). But his newfound and well-deserved come-up has made him a shoo-in to the sneakerhead community, and now we talk sneakers more and more since he’s been at Undefeated. Now he even puts me on to new drops I might have missed, and we just talk shop.
I share these short stories to because one thing I have always struggled with was finding like minded people in my circles and various environments, but when I just started doing my natural thing of complimenting people on their sneakers, it became amazingly refreshing and surprising just how many sneakerheads are around me in my line of work and in my social circles. For a niche that is scrutinized and criticized for its practices (reselling, fakes, altercations, etc.), it’s nice to know that there’s a sneakerhead somewhere, anywhere.
Just compliment their sneakers.