by Brett Weisband | @weisband
Philadelphia got a slice of sneaker heaven on Saturday, as shoe vendors, clothing brands and sneakerheads alike converged on the Wells Fargo Center for SHOE+topia, presented by Mitchell & Ness. Kicks enthusiasts were able to buy, sell and trade shoes, getting a chance to scope out rare colorways, limited releases and recent drops.
With DJ Ambush spinning an eclectic mix of hip-hop, with everything from Jay Z and Drake hits to cuts from MF DOOM and The Roots, around 500 people spent the afternoon prior to the hometown 76ers’ streak-snapping win over the Detroit Pistons mingling on the WFC concourse. On top of the 10 vendor tables packed with sneakers, several clothing brands were pushing streetwear. Of course, Mitchell & Ness brought out their own selection, with throwback jerseys like MJ’s black-and-red pinstriped Bulls jersey and Shawn Kemp’s white-and-teal 1996 All-Star top, and snapbacks for every fan.
One table in particular drew attention for the finds it had on display. StashedBoxes.com’s setup included the coveted Air Yeezy original release in black and pink, which brought plenty of inquiries on price and possible trades. The asking price? A cool $1,300, cash. The table also had a display of the yet-to-be released Chairman Bao SB Dunk, a collaboration between Nike and New York restaurateur Eddie Huang, among tough-to-find Jordans, Dunks and more.
Many of those in attendance brought in their own sneakers to sell or trade, carrying in shoe boxes and duffle bags full of heat. From LeBron X “Corks” to “What the Kobes” to just about any retro Jordan you can think of, there was no shortage of potential deals. These entrepreneurs were starting young, too; the majority these independent hustlers were well under voting age. Many of the vendors set up at tables were checking out the selection around the concourse, hoping to score something for their personal collection or to resell themselves.
That entrepreneurial spirit didn’t stop with just sneakers and clothes. High school student David Zamarin knows that sneaker fiends worry about nothing more than getting their newest pickup dirty. After cleaning shoes for Temple University’s athletics department, he’s now working with a lab in Florida to develop a shoe protectant, DetraPel. To demonstrate the efficacy of his product, he poured things like chocolate sauce and maple syrup onto sneakers of all materials, spritzing it off with just a bit of water.
After a SHOE+topia event at the Verizon Center in Washington, D.C. earlier this year, followed by the better-than-expected turnout on a rainy day in Philly, the sneaker community in the city could have more events like this to look forward to.
Photos via Shakir Blanding/Mitchell & Ness