In the past year or two, the “sneaker trade show” has proliferated into a mass experience. First reserved for only the biggest cities, these conventions have made their way to all sorts of destinations, albeit in small dosages. But after all, that is how Sneaker Con, a mainstay on the trade show scene, made its start: a Sunday event in early 2009 at Times Square Arts Center on Eighth Avenue with a decent twenty vendors.
Of course, you would never know about Sneaker Con’s humble beginnings by accompanying them in their return to New York City this past Saturday.
Fast-forward four years, and you have a convention that blows anything Sneaker Con held in their early years out of the water. Sneakerheads of all ages came to the newly renovated Basketball City in exodus-like numbers, eager to storm the 65,000 square feet of hardwood inside. After all, the attendees had over 175 vendors to check out, selling and displaying all sorts of sneakers, streetwear, and other goods. Among the sneaker vendors, once you got through all of the standalone groups, were both web stores (Sneaker.St, WindyCitySole) and physical boutiques (Extra Butter, Rare Pair) showing off their stuff. Supra was in the building for their first Sneaker Con, giving attendees a sneak preview of some future releases. Adidas brought out NBA legend Dikembe Mutombo to their booth. The once-signature adidas athlete signed posters and posed for pictures with fans. Even some high-profile attendees within the sneaker community, like Jeff Staple and sneaker customizer Mache, came out for the occasion. And they were right to check Sneaker Con out, especially with all of the rare sneakers lying around the show, from original Air Jordans to exclusive runners and some of the past few years’ most exclusive drops. Both the vendors and attendees brought out rarely seen shoes to the event.
From top to bottom, Sneaker Con NYC was the place to be on Saturday if you had any interest in the culture behind footwear. Whether you are on the hunt to cop your grails, looking to move some of your current stock, or just interested in seeing what sneakers are out there, you missed out if you were not in the building.
Words: Jake Pulver