Kicks: Sneaker Files Q+A

by Abe Schwadron / @abe_squad

Sneaker Files started as a fledgling blog with a small following devoted to sneaker news. Now, it’s among the most prominent and most linked sneaker sites on the web. And, considering we often get imagery or info from SF, it seemed only right to find out who’s behind the operation. Brian Betschart, founder and owner of Sneaker Files, caught up with SLAM to talk kicks, clicks and the NBA lockout.

SLAM: Tell us a little about yourself and site.

Brian Betschart: I’m from Sacramento, California. I started the site back in 2006. Before that I was working like side project and construction type things. Basically I’ve always loved sneakers, growing up I always loved them. I would go on message boards and stuff, but I wanted to do my own thing with it, to help the community as far as sneaker collectors. So I started Sneaker Files, and from there, the rest is history.

SLAM: How did you first get into sneakers?

BB: When I was young, I would always watch Michael Jordan play, then go out to the backyard and try to idolize him and make the moves like the players do. I guess watching Michael Jordan play pushed me to also like sneakers, too, thinking that maybe wearing the shoes would help you play better. That’s kind of how I got into shoes, from there.

SLAM: What was the inspiration for Sneaker Files?

BB: First, as far as the inspiration, I’m a huge CourtTV fan, not now that it changed to TruTV, but there used to be a show on there called “Forensic Files” and that was my favorite show. So I kind of thought “Sneaker Files,” that has a nice ring to it, so I went with the name just because of the TV show kind of. It kind of just clicked.

SLAM: What made you want to start the site?

BB: I was going on message boards, and at that time there weren’t too many blogs out there that were easy and right to the cream of the crop of things. Like, this is the news, and this is what’s new. You would have to dig through message boards. So I thought maybe trying something new and at a fast-pace, people would enjoy it. Then they wouldn’t have to do so much digging. I knew other people that had the passion for shoes, so that’s what pushed me to start the site. I never thought of it growing the way that it has.

SLAM: How do you differentiate yourself from other sneaker blogs out there?

BB: It’s tough, because there are so many blogs out there, and they all do the same things. What I try to do is more editorial. We’ve also jumped into the YouTube scene, where we give in-depth reviews or an up-close look at the shoe with some information along with it. So that kind of separates us from the other sites.

SLAM: Anything you’re most proud of on the site?

BB: As of late, I’m very proud of the performance reviews. I would have to say that’s what I’m most proud of right now. And soon, we’re going to be launching a message board, so that will be right up there with it.

SLAM: Talk about some of your personal favorite sneakers.

BB: It’s a toss up between the Jordan XIV and the Jordan VI. For the Jordan VI, my personal favorite is the September Blue original from 1991. I purchased that pair three or four years ago, and ever since then, I’ve loved them. That’s my Holy Grail shoe, you could say. For the XIV, I would have to say the White/Black-Oxidized.

SLAM: Are you a big NBA fan? Who’s your team?

BB: I know I’m going to get a lot of hate for this, but I like Miami. I used to be a huge Sacramento Kings fan, but I had to switch because I personally dislike the Maloofs. I hate their business decisions as far as the team. I’ve always liked Dwyane Wade, and I’ve liked Miami since Shaq was on the team. And I’m not going to lie, it was kind of cool to see LeBron come. It’s kind of like an epic team, fun to watch.

SLAM: Did you watch the Finals? What will Miami have to do this year to get back?

BB: LeBron can’t choke. I definitely think that LeBron choked in the Finals series. I would think that they shouldn’t rely so much on Dwyane Wade. I watched every game of the Finals, and it was disappointing. But I’m still happy for the Mavericks, seeing Jason Kidd and Dirk get a ring.

SLAM: How do you think a full-season lockout would affect the basketball sneaker industry?

BB: Yeah, that question has come up quite a bit. Personally, I don’t see how it couldn’t affect it. Especially with the kids watching, they see who’s wearing what, their favorite player is wearing this. In a nutshell, yeah, it would have to hurt it. The brands will have to adapt, like Jordan Brand has a campaign going on focusing around the NBA lockout. I couldn’t see it not hurting in some way.