I am a sneakerhead episode 67 - @Grahamgee

What’s good? My name is Graham (@grahamgee) and I live in Newcastle, Australia.

Canadian born, my family moved us to escape the bitter cold when I was three and a half. Early on in my childhood, a lot of my friends played rugby league. I was told then that I was far too tall to play and from that day forward, basketball it was. Ironic now, given my distaste for the game I wanted to badly to play with my friends as a kid.

In any case, I came into my first pair of Cons, a high top, solid soled shoe that I can’t even remember the name of, if there ever even was one. Shortly followed the grand mama Larry Johnsons, with the React gel. These pairs, however, weren’t what sparked my keen interest and keen eye for nice sneakers.

That came around, like many guys my age, when Jordan and his 95-96 Bulls were taking over the airwaves. I was twelve years old.

I was on a trip back home to Canada with my dad, we stayed that long that I attended school and this is where I first saw the Jordan XI concord. I BEGGED my dad for a pair, to take home and step on the court with those things on my feet would have been a dream come true, fancy a time when most kids wore their shoes, right? My attempts to convince my father then that I desperately needed those shoes were met with a very swift “No, you’ll just grow out of them”. I don’t recall it but i’m sure a completely justified tantrum ensued.

Fast forward to now, I’m 30 and can afford to buy the pairs I was so wrongfully denied as a child. I don’t consider myself a ‘sneaker head’ by any means. I really don’t like the term. I’m just a normal guy that’s interested in shoes. Nothing more. I don’t get too deep into the subcultures that surround it, although I have made some very good friends along the way.

I’ve gone through quite a few phases and held on to many interests along the way. I went through the AF1 stage with a few pairs here and there and then moved into Air Max 1s, which I still love to this day.

These days, the collection consists of anywhere between 65-80 pairs. When I started buying shoes, if someone had have told me that I’d borderline have a problem, I would have laughed. But I’ve embraced that and very much so enjoyed putting my collection together over the years and am content with where it stands today.

What is it about sneakers/shoes? To be honest, I really don’t know. I just enjoy having a nice pair of shoes. I enjoy that that part of it is highly subjective. I enjoy that tastes differ. I enjoy that we’re all not after the same thing. People’s interests and involvements are so diverse.

Do I have a favourite pair? Absolutely. Without question, the most recent pair I added. The LeBron 8 V2 ‘Miami Nights’. Finding these in my size (I needed a 15, due to the fit) was hard. Finding someone that was willing to sell them was one patient affair. A while back I told myself that i’d stop buying when I finally had that shoe and I’ve held to that. The enjoyment hasn’t gone, in fact it came back like a tidal wave when I opened that LeBron 8 box. I’m just at a point where I want to enjoy the pairs I have and I don’t need to keep adding anything to the collection. Besides that, I really only buy what I like and there isn’t much out there that I like and don’t have.

Quick Top 5:

LeBron 8 ‘Miami Nights’

LeBron X ‘MVP’

LeBron 7 ‘MVP’

Air Jordan 3 ‘Black Cement’

Nike Air Max 1 ‘The 6ix’

Some of those are static, some of them move in and out. Part of the enjoyment of having a few pairs to work with is what moves with your interests and how often they change.

My collection is by no means immense. I don’t have samples, PEs, anything like that. For the most part it’s basketball sneakers but there are a few pairs of nice runners in there to balance things out.

Anything is obtainable if you want to pony up with cash these days. However the relationships and strong friendships I have made along the way, partnered with patience, have allowed me to pick up some very nice pairs of shoes that even only a few years ago I could have only ever dreamed of owning. For that I have a few people that I really need to thank, if that’s even enough. Alex and Nic in BFA, for taking me in and being two of the most gracious dudes in the Aussie scene. Ashby, for all of your time helping me get pairs. Jordan for helping me out when my work roster didn’t permit me even having a chance. Tee and slomo for the daily. TCTR guys - all of you - thank you for being the easiest people to deal with on an international level. ever.

Oliver Berg