"Aw, man, my first pair? I'd have to ask."
Adam Ghueder, the founder of SneakFest along with Jerry Khammavong, Sherman Harper, and Reginald Jones, doesn't recall his first pair of sneakers, but he suspects they were Chuck Taylors. "They never go out of style," he explains.
The first SneakFest was in March 2014, held in the Cook Convention Center. ("Go big or go home" was the idea.) Ghueder had previously attended such an expo in Atlanta and thought the idea would translate well in Memphis. So he hooked up with fellow sneakerheads Khammavong, Harper, and Jones. On September 16th, the eighth SneakFest will be held at the Agricenter.
- These sneaks were made for tradin’.
Ghueder describes SneakFest as sort of like a flea market, drawing from 600 to 800. Vendors sell new and used shoes, with prices ranging anywhere from $20 to $2,000. There's sports memorabilia, clothing, and accessories for sale as well. Some vendors are set up to make repairs or do customizations.
Fest-goers, and this is key, are encouraged to bring their own sneakers — as many as they can carry — to sell or trade. Ghueder says he's seen plenty of folks swap shoes then and there. He's seen them walk out of the facility in their socks.
The Kanye Yeezy Boost is the hottest thing going, according to Ghueder. But it was another Kanye product that brought in an eye-popping figure: A rare Nike Air Yeezy, signed by Kanye, was bought for $20,000. Needless to say, they are not for wearing.
As for Ghueder's own prized shoe, it's the Air Jordan "Bred" in red and black.