Sneaker culture is more popular than ever. Collectors, known as sneakerheads, accumulate rare and limited shoes – an obsession more than a hobby, you could say. Recently, the UAE sneaker community gathered at the annual Sole DXB event in Dubai to talk, admire and trade all things sneakers and streetwear. So how has the rise of sneaker culture evolved in the UAE? Surely they’re just shoes with expensive price tags? Time Out speaks to Jack Brett, a sneakerhead living in Abu Dhabi to find out more.
How long have you been collecting?
I’ve been collecting for five to six years; it started getting serious after a trip to New York. I’ve got around 75 to 80 pairs now.
Getting serious? Sounds terminal to us. what’s so good about collecting?
The community. Meeting new people through social media, like my Instagram (@jack_capture), and travel. Sneakers have led me to travel to Berlin, Amsterdam, Copenhagen, Stockholm and the US. Tokyo is next. I met some UAE sneakerheads while queuing from 4am at The Dubai Mall for the new Adidas x Kanye West Yeezys. Six hours talking sneakers and sharing stories – time flew.
If you say so. any advice for newbies?
Buy shoes that you like and not because of the hyped-up releases. Do your research and build a network too, as this will come in handy when you’re trying to source rare shoes for reasonable prices. And of course – wear your kicks!
What’s the sneaker scene like in Abu Dhabi?
There are some really passionate sneakerheads with some unbelievable collections. In terms of purchasing sneakers, most first releases don’t happen here, except for Nike Jordans, so purchases are made abroad and shipped over, which can get expensive.
What’s the future of UAE’s sneaker scene?
Events like Sole DXB draw attention to the region. Independent brands and boutiques are starting to pop up too, such as Amongst Few, Conquer and Luxury Arcade here in Abu Dhabi.
What sneakers are you craving?
Ronnie Fieg x Asics Gel Lyte III “Miami”.