COLUMN: The Sneakerhead Rules

COLUMN: The Sneakerhead Rules


I’m not a man who writes lists, or top ten click bait articles but I did think it was important to publish some rules or helpful tips to make sure sneakerheads don’t look like an eejits.

Words: Mango


There are more and more people getting into collecting trainers in Ireland especially young fellas who might only be learning about it from Complex listicles and gobshites stuntin’ on Instagram.

While both of these are great places to polish up on new releases, get the latest news, and connect with other sneakerheads, they are mostly only focused on basketball shoes – especially Jordans and Lebrons and Kobes and the whole point of this column was to put an Irish perspective on it. These aren’t commandments or laws, it’s just a perspective from experience and I’d like to see other sneakerheads putting their own in the comments.

First off, this is especially for the new sneakerheads: 1. Don’t be a complete Hypebeast. Every sneaker head has a little hypebeast in them but after a while we realise how to reel it in. We all love breaking out rare OG, or expensive kicks to stunt on everyone now and then but collecting kicks is for your own enjoyment and being happy with how you look with shoes to compliment your style not for Instagram likes and tumblr re-posts. Not everything supreme drops is a “classic”.

2. “Diversify Yo Bonds!” – GZA. I live my life by a lot of advice I’ve received from The Wu Tang Clan and this point is a prime example. Expand on your brands and styles. If this was an American blog it would be to tell you to get off just buying the latest J’s and thinking your a dyed in the wool sneakerhead but I’m currently writing this in Phibsboro so I’ll localise…

We all know the uniform of Dublin kids and their kicks at the moment. Uptowns, superstars, huaraches; roshes, Stan Smiths, rifts and Air Max 1s, 90s &95s. It’s what we know and what we love and there’s nothing wrong with that. Except rifts. Stop wearing them please.

Being a sneakerhead is about putting thought and knowledge into your footwear and combining it with your own taste. Just because a brand isn’t as popular doesn’t mean everything it releases is ugly. As we’ve seen time and time again brands have been coming back into the fold with retros people had forgotten and are now unearthing due to everyone loving the vintage 90s look we’re going through. Puma Suedes are one of my top 5 shoes. Yet, when I was working in JD sports as a teenager, I was a lot more ignorant to the history of trainers. Puma back the was for aul lads and huge muscle-bound Eastern European guys who had a penchant for the Ferrari Pumas. We’ve all got the Internet in our pockets and we look at it for hours on end. If your into sneakers. 3. Do the homework.


Next we’ve got something over looked by a lot people that I hope a lot sneakerheads are hip to now. 4. Your jeans. It might look great with your new navy jeans sitting on your all white shell toes now. Talk to me at the end of the day when the tongue is baby blue and ruined the fresh white off your trainers. Cuffing is king, and even though on some darker denims its won’t help as the dye is too strong, remember in the good words of Future “Turn Up!”.
Some men like baggies jeans and that’s fine but to be honest, its 2015 now. If you’re not actually wearing boots on a construction site your legs should be nowhere near boot cut jeans. End of.

There are plenty of tapered and skinny jeans to fit all styles (Levi 511s are a solid choice) to make sure your kicks get the exposure they need instead of you showing off how deadly the top of your toes are. Alternatively there is pin rolling, which can highlight your kicks and looks great with low tops and casual trainers.

(Ps if you tuck your jeans into your socks stop reading this immediately and go have a sit down.)

This next one is something that took me a while to grasp and come to terms with. 5. Find YOUR type of sneaker. There’s always the latest style that takes the street by storm weather it was the vans authentics craze with chinos, or when Blazers took over a few years back. Now it’s gone from Huaraches to Superstars and it brings the crowds with them. That’s cool and every style has its day in the sun , but these styles become popular from someone with a lot of influence rocking them and in turn creating a demand for them. But when that person started rocking them it was because they suited them, the fit was right and it matched their look.

In keeping with the diversify yo bonds ethos. 6. Be adventurous and try new shoes and brands and think for yourself weather you like the shoe and it fits and it goes with your style.

I’m no different. I wanted a pair of Reebok pumps ever since I saw Dave Chappelle pump his up in Robin Hood: Men in Tights (seriously, I know but it’s hardly like I was watching NBA back then so forgive me). A while back a beautiful pair came into my store with serious sale reduction not including my discount and they were my size so I had to try them on. But when I put them on, the fit was uncomfortable for me. The shape didn’t match my clothes and wouldn’t have went with anything I own. As much as I loved the shoe and could appreciate it, they just were not for my feet.

Look around and experiment and you’ll find your own look. It’s not all about swooshes and stripes because who knows maybe you look deadly in Saucony’s or Fila’s.


The final one of my rules is the most important. Short and sweet. 7. Wear your shoes. 

There’s nothing wrong with keeping a pair on ice to break out in a few months/years but keeping them eternally in temperature controlled rooms or in storage is a waste of great trainers. We’re all shit scared off scuffing or having our good kicks destroyed on the dance flooor( another bonus tip is buy shoes for raving. I swear by all black puma Suedes), but you’ve got to wear your shoes. Dirty and worn are not the same thing. Putting a unique character to your shoes is all part of the process. Keep them clean, drop a good chunk of change on crep protect and put your soles on the street not on your newsfeed.

Airforce ones only last 2 months fresh before the crease and it’s just how it is. It never stopped anyone buying a pair of fresh white Uptowns. Enjoy your shoes. They were made to be worn and loved.

Mango this week will be talking to Puff Daddy on the phone in the middle of the night telling him how he likes all-black Timbos.