If the shoe fits

Students invest passion, enthusiasm, and cash into building their extensive and exotic shoe collections.


Kishan Patel

Senior Ben Flomo holds his shoe collection worth thousands of dollars in his arms. Flomo’s newest addition is a pair of Yeezys, Kanye West’s shoe line, which have been reported to sell for $3,500.

Rapidly clicking away on his laptop, senior Jeff Jia hopes to be one of the seven thousand lucky shoppers to nab the most prized possession in the shoe world: a pair of Adidas Yeezys.

Jia bought the first pair by pure luck, and continued to buy three others, all in women’s sizes to eventually resell them. He continued to collect Yeezys, buying one personal pair.

“I bought them for $350 and resell value is probably $3,500,” Jia said.

The culture of sneakerheads is reaching an all-time high at JC. Other students have started collecting and reselling shoes like Jia and fellow seniors Beni Tasel and Ben Flomo.

Flomo never thought about collecting shoes until moving to the United States from Liberia. Friends introduced him to shoe culture and found a hobby and self assurance in matching shoes with different outfits.

“I saw the culture of wearing cool shoes and just jumped right into it,” Flomo said.

The price of the shoes shows the depth of the sneaker culture. Flomo averages a sneaker in his collection being worth around $200. Jia has spent up to $1,000 on a pair of shoes to wear, the Louis Vuitton “Red Bottoms” sneakers.

Due to the obscene prices, the funds for the shoes become an issue.

“Sometimes my parents will get them for my birthday or Christmas, but I work after school where I get some money to buy shoes,” Tasel said.

Jia finds his funds in the sneakers themselves. Originally, he had to ask his parents for money and overpaid for shoes because he didn’t know the market, but Jia has moved on. “Now I buy shoes for the retail price and resell them in the open market,” Jia said. He resells for hundreds of dollars in profits.

The sneakerheads put an emphasis on protecting their shoes. Part of keeping the shoes clean is using special sprays and other methods of protection.

Protecting the shoes is difficult when trying to move them. “I have to keep the shoe boxes and pack all of those boxes into one bigger box that I double box,” Jia said. “I do all of that to protect the shoes.”

It is not all about style to the sneakerheads, comfort also plays a role in their collections. “Comfort is just as important if not more because the shoe can be visually appealing, but if it hurts your feet, you aren’t going to wear it,” Tasel said.

The shoes not only provide extra style or a way of business, but they have also become a passion for these students.

“I love shoes because sometimes I feel that even if I don’t have good-looking clothes, I can have nice shoes. Some people like to add watches for fashion. I like shoes,” Jia said. “It’s just my passion.”

Mike Moxley is a Sports Editor and Kishan Patel is the Online Editor in Chief for The Patriot and jcpatriot.com.