"The Stories that Come With the Shoe": A Qualitative Study of Male Sneaker Collector Motivations, Experiences, and Identities

Date
2016-11-08
Authors
McCracken, Arienne
Dong, Huanjiao
Murphy, Catherine
Hoyt, Mason
Niehm, Linda
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Abstract

There is a thriving community of individuals with a passion for wearing, collecting, and sometimes reselling sneakers. The purpose of this study was to explore the motivations and perspectives of male sneaker collectors. Twelve men participated in semi-structured interviews. Research questions included: (1) How do sneaker collectors perceive the experience of sneaker collecting? (2) What makes a shoe collectable? (3) Is sneaker collecting used to represent or explore identity? Most participants were active in sports, especially basketball, and they thought that collecting arose naturally from their sports interests. Respondents cited three primary reasons for collecting a shoe: They collected shoes associated with particular moments in basketball history, shoes with aesthetic qualities they particularly liked, and shoes that would resell for high prices. Sneaker collecting does appear to be a way for these men to voice their interests in fashion, dress, and personal expression.

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