Growing up a huge sports fan in Windsor, Ontario, just across the river from Detroit, professional hockey player Matt Martin had the same interests as a lot of your stereotypically urban/suburban American kids. “I’m a huge Tigers fan, a huge Lions fan, and you can essentially see Joe Louis Arena, where the Red Wings play, right across the water from where I live. The biggest debate where I lived is if you’re going to like the Maple Leafs and Blue Jays or Red Wings and Tigers. A lot of people say that you’re Canadian, so you should be rooting for Toronto, even though Detroit is much closer.”
Martin was—and is—Team Detroit, which trickled somewhat into supporting the Pistons, though like many of us in the States, he was more interested in the players. “Kevin Garnett was my favorite player growing up, but Allen Iverson was another guy I really loved. I think for me and basketball, it’s more about the individuals that I fell in love with as opposed to the team.”
We understand all that—and the way Martin’s hoops interest trickled into what dudes had on their feet. “I always had Iverson shoes growing up, and when someone would come to school in a new pair of Jordans, it was always cool,” he says. “It was always awesome to get a new pair but now I’ve really fallen in love with it. I think it would be cool to collect at least one of each pair of Jordans.”
We’re speaking with the 27- year-old Martin inside the comfy and chic confines of Extra Butter, the sneaker boutique on the Lower East Side of Manhattan that became Martin’s go-to store as he established himself as a key member of the New York Islanders. “The guys here are huge Islander fans. I was following them on Instagram and Twitter and bought my first pair of Yeezys from here. Then I saw them at our games and ever since then, they’ve hooked me up with pretty much everything that I have.”
A couple weeks after we kicked it with Martin in June, the 6-3, 215-pound tough guy signed a free agent deal with his “hometown” Maple Leafs. Having spent 2016 All-Star Weekend in TO, we know Matt will have no problem finding a place to buy kicks there. Or the crew at Extra Butter, which helped create an Islanders x Extra Butter x Reebok collab last March, can surely take care of their beloved customer by mail.
Regardless of where he cops his shoes, rest assured Martin will keep buying them, and rocking them. “Every time Extra Butter gets a new pair they think I’d like, they message me and I decide whether I want them,” Martin says. “And yes, I wear them all. I thought about keeping some of them and not wearing them, but really, what’s the fun in that, right? There’s worse things I could be doing with my money than buying cool shoes and wearing them out, right?”
Photos by Ian Reid