Not too long ago, I was looking through some old sneaker photos I shot, and as I was going back, I saw pairs of sneakers past, and others that I still have but hardly wear anymore. And after I while of going through these photos, I sat and thought to myself, “As sneakerheads, should our taste in sneakers change over time?“
I think back to my college years, a time before I started Clean Your Shoes, when I went to a particular mall in Los Angeles with a friend of mine. We went to the Sheikh store there, which was a lot better back at that time than it is today. That day, I had bought some Marble Roshes (remember those?), back when that shoe was all the rage. I had those sneakers for about 3 years, until about the end of my final year of college. Those were some really great sneakers, and I wore them any and every where when I had them. In the time that I had those sneakers, my rotation leaned towards a slick, streamlined runner-type sneaker. I would own sneakers such as the Trainerendor, Kaishi, Kazuki, 2 different kinds of Tubulars, and the like.
In the final year of that aforementioned span, I would then transition into more classic silhouettes reminiscent of runners from the 80’s and 90’s. Navy 501 New Balances, and then white 574s found their way into my closet. Eventually plenty of EQT models joined the ranks, along with timeless pieces from Nike. I could keep explaining this phenomenon in my particular case, but you already get the idea. As the years progressed, so did my sneaker rotation. And in looking through these photos and seeing what my closet used to look like, I then asked the question of “Did my taste get better, or did it just change?” That answer is virtually impossible to be objective. However, as I have argued before, a diverse sneaker collection makes for a better, more balanced out sneakerhead.
Shortly after college, I started to experiment with different kinds of sneaker silhouettes. I wasn’t exclusively into runners; I had fancied a number of mid and high-top sneakers, but just never bought any. I also started to buy more “lifestyle” sneakers (e.g. the kind that usually started off as classic basketball sneakers but then transitioned into more casual sneakers you’d usually see the like of Ellen DeGeneres wear), even buying the short-lived “sneaker-boot”. So in the early days of Clean Your Shoes, I had experimented with a decent (and rather eclectic) mix of sneakers and brands in my collection, even thought that collection was relatively small to the likes of your average sneakerhead.
But as time marched on, my palate got more diverse, and so did my wardrobe. I’m not just talking abut the sneakers, but the clothes as well. As I started to venture out with different sneakers and brands, I found myself being able to get away with a lot of styles and looks. I was no longer only buying runners and trainers, even though those are still my favorite kind of sneaker to date. The more I traveled and lived in different places, the more I had to adapt and diversify my collection, not only to preserve my other sneakers, but also to have appropriate, comfortable footwear made to weather the elements (looking at you, Portland). Being stuck in the same frame of mind I had in college, I probably wouldn’t have been able to grow and expand my sneaker and/or fashion sense, and I would’ve probably gone through a lot of my favorite sneakers sooner than later.
So, should your taste in sneakers change over time? I think that it should, depending on factors that you find important. For me, I built a collection based off of the kind of sneakers I generally like, the kinds of clothes I like to wear, the places I like to go, and things I like to do. As you build your collection on your sneaker journey, you’ll learn what factors and things are important to you, and you’ll be well on your way to being a diverse sneakerhead.