City Desk

D.C. Sneakerheads Are Conservatives?

Duk-ki Yu, owner of Major, a sneaker store in Georgetown, has been in the shoe game for a minute now. After 20 years of lusting after the contours of various well-designed soles, his personal "stash" of kicks includes thousands. He's had to move his sprawling collection (worth somewhere around $100,000, he guesses) into storage to keep his marriage happy. He's also a "Nike influencer," part of a small cadre of people the company calls on when it wants to "move the needle" on what's popular among "sneakerheads"—devotees of footgear. Yu's obsession means he's looking forward to this weekend, when Sneaker Con, a convention for shoe nerds, hits the Atlas Performing Arts Center. He'll get to talk and party. He just wishes the bulk of his fellow District shoe lovers weren't such "conformists."

It's a gripe D.C. has heard before: The city skews toward the conservative when it comes to fashion. It's just a surprise that its burgeoning (this is only the New York-based Sneaker Con's second time here) sneaker culture, a close ally of hip-hop, might be uptight. "D.C. by and large has a me-too market," Yu says. Instead of going for more unique shoes, D.C. buyers go for Foamposites, Deions and Griffys, anything that's '90's basketball-influenced.

"There are so many people that think they're in the sneaker game, but in all reality there’s a few individuals out here that really appreciate [sneaker culture] and reciprocate by  buying into new stuff," Yu says. "Meanwhile the rest of the community is still like, they say they're into sneakers, but really they're just buying into what somebody else is into."

Sneaker Con runs from noon to 7 p.m. tomorrow and Sunday.

Photo courtesy Sneaker Con

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  • T

    This is a cute story but those examples are not what I see on the street. I wonder where these guys hang that this is all that they see. Weird.

  • Amanda brookefield
  • Cap City Records Panhandler

    New Balances & Nike Boots

  • Dave B

    I'll start out by saying I am not really a sneaker head. I do have multiple pairs that I buy that I think look cool and are off the clearance rack and they seem unique. So I kinda have a mild interest. I take pride in having people comment on shoes I buy for like $40, like my bright green Lunar Glides (from I dont know what year) that I got at Modells months ago. Apparently nobody else liked them, maybe because they were only $40 and thus not expensive enough to be cool.

    However, I went to the Sneaker Con they had in the Spring and it was just people trying to sell those Foams (I didnt even know that was their name until I was like "what are all those shoes everybody has?"). I don't get it: A) they are ugly and B) can't you just buy them at Footlocker. Maybe it was people just trying to get rid of them because they realized they are ugly and no longer "in".