My name is J.T. Benoit and I was born and raised in Boston, Massachusetts.
I first got into sneakers when I was a skating in my early teens. In gym class I was the kid wearing Etnies and playing point guard. I started to frequent Concepts back when they didn’t even have their own store and were located in the back of the old Tannery. They had the first SB account in the nation so this was the place to go for a lot of skaters. There I was exposed to the storytelling in collaborative sneaker efforts as well as a lot of brands I didn’t know much about and I have supported them ever since.
When Bodega first started their collaborations with Saucony back in 2010 my love for sneakers was quickly rekindled.
In the work I now do, when people are getting their life together, something as small as receiving a new pair of kicks can be huge to them. Someone did it for me and I’ll never forget that feeling. I’ll just say I wasn’t always in a position to collect kicks. I am very grateful for every pair I have ever owned and my personal story that goes with them. It quickly became a healthy outlet and hobby to me. This helped to replace extremely negative lifestyle choices.
Living in the city I have relied on public transportation my whole life. I am always on the go whether its work, school, socializing, or just commuting. So comfort quickly became a big factor in my shoe selection. After comfort the colorway and the quality of the materials used are neck and neck. If the sneaker’s designers are able to explain their inspiration for the colorway and materials used that’s the icing on the cake to me.
As cliché as it may sound, it is true. Sneakers are a necessity yes, but can bring people together as well. Everyone has a preference and an opinion to go with it. When you run into someone who has a pair you maybe have never seen in person (they don’t even necessarily need to be rare) that can be a conversation starter right there. I am quick to compliment strangers and they love it. I have formed great friendships with people up and down the East Coast that I never would have had the privilege of knowing if it wasn’t for the passion I have in sneakers. Shout out to the Group Chat!
My favorite pairs are:
999 New Balance “Kennedy” by Concepts
GL3 Asics “Squad” by Footpatrol
Nike SB Dunk Hi “Cigar City”
580 MT New Balance “Trail Guide” by West NYC
Saucony Shadow 6000 the entire “Phase 1” pack by Bodega