I am a sneakerhead episode 29 - @Tomshepherd

Hey I’m Tom Shepherd aka @tomshepherd. Born and raised in Melbourne, Australia.

My history in sneakers had many outlets, and by that I mean, physically many outlet stores. My high school was fittingly about 7 or 8 tram stops away from away from the infamous Smith St outlets (infamous to my city of course). So whenever we had a break or got off early, I was likely to be found digging through the back wall of Nike or Adidas looking for a bargain; and there was plenty to be had. By the time I was 16 , the majority of weekly wage from chefin’ the grill at McDonald’s was going to my sneaker habit.

In the early years I was very into skateboarding, and the affiliated brands. Nike was still seen as corny (I remember seeing the Nike Choad in a Transworld Mag and it left me shook.) So to be king you needed a pair of Osiris with a tongue so big it doubled as a life raft in case of emergency and the laces so loose they would fall off without an issue.  I never really delved far into Nike SB, by the time they had won over Skateboarding I was complete uninterested. I’d started to pick up Nike runners purely for the comfort, Urawa Dragon Air Max 1’s for almost nothing, multiple TN’s, and a few pairs of Air Max 90’s – all off the back wall. It wasn’t until 2008 when I picked up the Air Max 90’s celebrating the 1984 Chinese Olympics again off the back wall discounted multiple times… that’s  when it really became a problem.

Roughly, on and off it’s been a 12-13 years that I have been buying and selling sneakers. There were massive periods where I lost interest. For the first 8-9 years, I didn’t really worry about the collecting aspect; I was more concerned with having what I wanted and being comfortable. I wasn’t on any forums, didn’t talk to others much about it and rarely went to swap meets or launches. In reality, it was a pretty unapproachable community, even though I was born in 1990, most people who were serious at the time were 5 or so years older than that and it was an “OG’s” community. It wasn’t until facebook groups in about 2012-2013 started being the place to buy and sell that I made some great friends with similar interests. This opened up a whole new world. I started finding interests in new brands, and being able to locate sneakers I couldn’t find on ebay or gumtree. With the addition of Instagram becoming another place to like, chat and buy sneakers, my love for it has never been stronger.

When it comes to favourites, I always struggle; I like everything I own for one reason or another and there is a lot I can’t own due to them not being made in my size. My absolute favourite sneaker is the New Balance x Solebox ‘Mint Toothpaste’, something about the material choice, colour scheme and little details like the numbered and labelled rivets. It’s a work of art. I’m a big fan of the Air Max 1 model, I love the ‘Curry’ from 2003 and the Patta ‘Corduroy’ from the 5th Anniversary pack. I also love anything Sneaker Freaker due to them being from Melbourne, especially the Puma Blaze of Glory collection, still praying one of the Size 13 ‘Sharkbaits’ will one day will fall in my greasy paws.

Photography of sneakers is a much more recent thing for me, but I have been enjoying it immensely. I feel like I have only started scratching the surface and hope to one day reach the ability of guys like Brooro, Saintcity, or Liamparsons4. Just gotta keep grindin’…

Oliver Berg