How to Be a Sneakerhead

Three Parts:Building Your CollectionTaking Care of Your ShoesStaying Current with New Releases

“Sneakerhead” is a term used to describe people who love and collect shoes, especially those with sleek, athletic designs (“sneakers,” AKA trainers). Individual style preferences differ among sneakerheads, but a few things they all have in common are a passion for functional footwear, a deep knowledge of different brands, models and designs and an extensive personal collection. If you’re the kind of person that has more athletic shoes than you know what to do with, you’re already on your way to becoming a certified sneakerhead.

Part 1
Building Your Collection

  1. 1
    Have a sneaker budget in place. Buying shoes is an expensive hobby. Before you jump right in, you should be certain that you can afford to start amassing a footwear collection. Develop a budget that will allow you to set aside a certain amount of money every month or couple of months to spend on new shoes. If need be, find a second job and use the extra income to support your hobby.[1]
    • Name brand sneakers often run for as much as a few hundred dollars per pair.
    • If you’re serious about the lifestyle, consider getting a job at a sneaker store. Not only will you be surrounded by the thing you love most, you’ll also be earning extra money and be eligible for employee discounts.[2]
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    Start buying shoes regularly. Snatch up as many eye-catching pairs of sneakers as you can. Be on the lookout constantly for new brands, styles and colorways. Buy the latest models when they premier to stay current and show people that you have style. Buying and showing off new shoes is what being a sneakerhead is all about, so the more pairs you buy, the more impressive your stockpile will be.[3]
    • Shopping malls usually have at least one or two stores that carry the latest fashions in athletic and streetwear.
    • Look for deals online through websites like Zappos and 6pm, where you can buy shoes for discounted rates and save on shipping.
  3. 3
    Hunt for bargains on all-time favorites. Every sneakerhead's collection is going to contain a few staples. Browse thrift shops and other discount clothing retailers to track down timeless models like Jordans, Reebok Classics or Air Force 1s for unbeatable prices. Since these vintage sneakers are older, they're more likely to turn up in places that most sneakerheads wouldn't think to go looking.[4]
    • See if your area has any consignment stores that deal specifically with footwear.[5]
    • The sneakers you find in these places may not be brand new, but after a thorough restoration job no one will be likely to tell the difference.
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    Decide on a favorite brand or style. After they’ve been collecting for a while, most sneakerheads develop a preference for a particular brand or type of shoe. Certain designers and models are fashionable among shoe collectors, but there are no “best” brands. If you like it and it looks good on you, buy it. No two sneakerheads’ closets are identical. Once you start to refine your tastes, your collection will start to take on its own unique personality.[6]
    • Your collection might be made up mostly of hi-top basketball shoes, for instance, or you might gravitate toward lower profile designs like skate shoes.
    • There is a lot of territorial competition between fans of Nike, Adidas, Reebok, etc., but it’s all in good fun. Any model could have a potential place in your collection.
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    Show off your hottest sneakers. There’s no point in buying a bunch of shoes if you’re just going to keep them in the closet. Be sure to take your new kicks out for a spin every so often to give them a little play. Match up the day’s outfit with a killer pair of sneakers and let the people around you see what style is all about. You might never wear the same pair two days in a row![7]
    • Share choice selections for your friends and followers on Instagram to admire.[8]
    • Sporting flashy footwear will always get people talking.
  6. 6
    Sell shoes when they get old. Once your hottest sneakers are past their prime, put them up for sale to recoup money for new pairs. Take them to a consignment shop, if you're just looking to get rid of them, or post a notice online through a site like Ebay or Craigslist. If they're still in good condition, try selling them directly to another sneakerhead, who will have a better idea of what they're worth.[9]
    • Getting as much as you can out of your old shoes can make it easier for you to afford new ones.
    • The better care you take of your sneakers, the easier it will be to fetch a decent price for them later on. Before attempting to sell shoes you no longer want, make sure you clean them, pack them up with all included accessories and, if possible, return them to their original box.

Part 2
Taking Care of Your Shoes

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    Keep your shoes clean. Clean your shoes after wearing them to prevent them from showing signs of dirt and wear. Combine a small amount of water with a mild liquid detergent or shoe cleaning solution and lightly scrub away dingy and discolored areas. Wet a washcloth and wipe away any dirt and debris clinging to the shoes’ outsoles. By taking good care of your sneakers and keeping them clean, you can ensure that they stay fresh and vibrant for as long as possible.[10][11]
    • Look for specially-designed brushes online or in shoe stores that can be used to clean and polish delicate materials like suede.[12]
    • Treat dirt and other stains immediately to keep them from setting in.
  2. 2
    Cycle out the pairs you wear often. The more you wear a particular pair of shoes, the faster that pair will wear out. Try not to lace up the same pair of shoes every day. Select a different pair every couple of days to minimize stress, foot contact and exposure to the elements. When you’re not wearing a pair, give it a gentle wipe down and store it somewhere cool and dry.[13]
    • Store your sneakers in their original boxes, or stash them somewhere that’s climate-controlled and away from direct sunlight and extreme temperatures. Too much sunlight can cause colors to fade, while especially hot or cold temperatures can degrade the materials that the shoes are made from.[14]
    • Choose your footwear carefully for a given day. It might not be a good idea to wear a pair of leather or suede sneakers if the forecast is calling for rain, and black hi-tops will be less comfortable on hotter days than low cut, breathable shoes of a lighter shade.
  3. 3
    Designate shoes for different purposes. Give each pair of shoes a function, and only use that pair for its intended purpose. For instance, you might have a pair that you only work out in, another pair for that you use exclusively for hiking or slip on when you’re going to get dirty, etc. That way, you won’t be using every pair as all-purpose footwear, and you’ll be able to keep them in pristine condition.
    • Consider buying two pairs of your favorite shoes—one to wear around and another to put on display.
    • Pick out an older pair to serve as “throwaway” shoes that you don’t mind getting dirty or beating up.[15]
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    Store or display your collection. Set aside a little closet space to organize your shoes, or buy a shelf or rack so that you can exhibit them out in the open. Many shoe aficionados are proud of the collections they’ve put together and like to keep a few of their best pairs where they can be seen. If you’re going to own them, you might as well put them on display proudly.[16]
    • Look for inexpensive storage racks and shelves that you can convert and use to highlight some of your favorite acquisitions.

Part 3
Staying Current with New Releases

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    Find out when new models are coming out. Pay attention to brand marketing to learn about new models that are in production and when they’ll be available for purchase. Keep an ear to the ground when searching for your next purchase in stores or online. Big releases tend to get a lot of hype before they drop, and if you want to be on the front line of the sneaker game, you should make sure you’re in a position to hear about them.[17]
    • The big brands often run features on anticipated new models on their websites which include detailed photos, specs and release dates.
    • In some cases, you may have to act fast to get a coveted spot on a waiting list if a new release is expected to sell out quickly.
  2. 2
    Check with local stores for new arrivals. Know where the shoe stores are in your area and pay them regular visits to track down deals on your most desired gear. You can also frequent lifestyle shops like Zumiez, Journeys and Vans for new stock and competitive pricing. The people that work in these stores are often sneakerheads themselves, and they’ll be able to tell you anything you want to know about contemporary styles.[18][19]
    • Befriending store employees and being a loyal customer may land you exclusive benefits, such as special discounts and opportunities to buy models hot off the assembly line before their official release dates.[20]
  3. 3
    Talk to other sneakerheads. Become friends with other people who have a passion for shoes. You can converse about the ins and outs of your favorite brands, share your excitement about new designs in the works and even buy, sell or trade from your collections. Other sneakerheads will be able to bring their own unique style preferences and expertise to the discussion. They might even know something you don’t.[21]
    • Pay attention to what the people around you are wearing on their feet. If you spot somebody boasting a rare or expensive model, they may just be a fellow sneakerhead.
    • If you don’t know any other sneakerheads where you live, take to social media groups, message boards or shoe blogs to meet others with the same interests.
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    Browse the internet for sneaker news and info. Sign up for an email newsletter on the manufacturer’s website or follow the big companies on social media to get the latest on their upcoming shoe lines.[22] Websites like Hypebeast, High Snobiety and The Drop Date all specialize in providing news, reviews and sneak peeks for sneakerheads, along with links to places where you can buy hot releases online. In today’s fast-moving consumer society, the internet will be your best resource for keeping up with shoe culture.[23]
    • Take advantage of deals, catalogs and pre-order promotions that you can only find online.


  • Set up a shoes fund that you can use to finance new purchases withing dipping into your living expenses.
  • Store your sneakers in shoe bags if you've thrown away the original boxes.
  • Build your reputation as a sneakerhead on Instagram. In some situations, companies will pay people or provide them with free shoes for promotional purposes.
  • Don't forget to look for shoes at outlet stores and consignment shops. You can usually find great deals in these places.
  • If you're shopping for shoes on sites like eBay, make sure the seller you're buying from is trusted.


  • Don't spend all your money on shoes. Make sure that your other financial responsibilities are taken care of before treating yourself to a new pair.
  • If you don't carefully maintain the shoes in your collection, the materials can begin to degrade and fall apart.

Sources and Citations

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Categories: Shoes | Starting and Maintaining a Collection