I am a sneakerhead episode 57 - @Gene3211

Hey, my name is Gene, I'm 31 years old and sneakers are my passion.

For the last 7 years, I have been living in Boston, Massachusetts. The best city on earth (in my opinion). I was born in Moscow, Russia and moved to the states when I was 5 years old. I lived in Philadelphia, Pa for most of my life and i will always consider it home. I served in the ARMY for 4 years which gave me the opportunity to travel and visit places I wouldn't otherwise. Of all the places I've been, I think that Boston has the best sneaker community. People here tend to try and help each other and show support, and for that, I am very grateful.

 I have always loved sneakers. My passion for sneakers really grew when I moved to Boston. I started with Jordan's of course. At one point, I think I went about 2 years straight copping every release. That's when I realized I had a problem. Eventually, I started to branch out into runners and there was no looking back. I parted ways with my 70+ pairs of Jordans. Minus 6 pairs that I couldn't part with. There are 3 things that inspired my love for runners. First, my buddy @benoited85 who I met at Bodega waiting for their Saucony collab a few years back. He really put me on to runners and I have hated him for it ever since (just kidding). Second, is Concepts and Bodega, both of these stores are amazing, and so are the people that work there. I consider all of them friends at this point. I visit the stores several times a week. Sometimes just to kick it. These stores have become like a second home to me, probably first considering how much time I spend there.

I have always loved sneakers but couldn't really afford good ones growing up. The best pair of kicks I owned up until my twenties was AF1's and maybe some G-units. It wasn't until I moved to Boston in 2009 and began working as a Store Manager at Olympia Sports that I purchased my first pair of Jordan's. Space Jams for X-mas. After that, there was no turning back. It didn't hurt that I got them half price and always had an extra pair in size 12 for myself. I was probably the only manager that actually did things by the book. All of my releases were as fair as they come. I made sure to give people the fairest chance at copping. If you showed up and waited in line, your size would always be there. There were times when I would literally kick resellers out of line if I knew they had their grandmother, brother and mother trying to get extra pairs. You can imagine that didn't sit too well at times but I really didn't care. It was the right thing to do. So that's how my addiction began. The rest is history.

Where do I begin, the better question is what DON'T I enjoy about sneakers. The answer would be nothing. As much as I complain about camping for kicks, in its own sick and crazy way, I love it and I wouldn't want to have it any other way. It's starts with seeing or hearing about a dope collab for the first time, I start feeling a little anxious and my mind is already planning what time I'm going to camp and where. Then the wait and planning. After weeks or days of planning and strategizing with fellow addicts about our gameplan, the day is almost here. We meet up and it's probably my favorite part of copping. We kick it and talk shop. Discussing past and upcoming releases, our love or hate of certain shoes. We complain a little about camping or the hassle of getting the shoes, even though deep down we know we wouldn't have it any other way. Finally, the time arrives, the anxiety we felt all week is relieved and we have the shoe that we told ourselves was the one shoe you could wear the rest of your life...... Until you check your Instagram feed and see the next dope shoe dropping. And so the vicious cycle continues. I hate using the word addiction, but that's exactly what it is. Personally, I don't drink or get high, and of course I am not judging anyone that does, but sneakers are my one vice. I spend way more money than I should and it probably consumes a little too much of my time, but like I always say, it's definitely not the worst problem to have.

Now this is an almost impossible question to answer and it changes everytime someone asks me. I am going to answer to the best of my ability.

Here we go.... #1: Concepts x New Balance 998 "C-Notes" This shoe is just amazing. The quality is superior With the suede being a notch above others. Although it's very light, it just seems to never get as dirty as I would imagine. Mainly because the quality is better and the sneaker has a longer life than cheaper quality kicks. The concept (no pun intended) is very dope. Keep in mind that it was one of the first money themed runners to come out. There have been numerous hits and misses since then, but concepts always seems to hit a home run when it comes to money.

#2: LimitEDitions X DIADORA N9000 "Castellers" This is the first sneaker I paid way over retail for. $500 to be exact but it was well worth it. The concept is amazing, the entire layout of the shoe matching the Castellers de Vilafranca so well. But the main thing is the quality, the kangaroo leather and wolverine suede is just amazing. Diadora definitely has the best craftsmanship and quality when it comes to sneakers.

#3) Extra Butter X Asics GT Cool "sidewinder" This was the first runner I purchased. I love the Hawaii and denim design. Plus I am a big Quentin Tarantino fan. The shoe looks different than most other Asics I own and it's really a great depiction of Bud aka Michael Madsen from the movie. I don't think anyone would have this shoe in their top 3 but I'm a bit nostalgic when it comes to this one.

Well, that's my story and I'm sticking to it. Please check out my YouTube channel Gene13. It may not be the best channel out there by any means but I try my best to keep people informed and share my experiences. Thank you to Oliver and Epsilon Magazine for giving me the opportunity to share my passion with you guys. I hope the sneaker community will continue to grow and evolve. Let's continue to try and support one another the best we can. You never know who you will inspire.

Oliver Berg