How to Start Your Own Sneaker Collection: A Guide for Beginners

Sneaker collecting is no amateur hobby, especially not in today’s world: sneaker culture has exploded over the past decade, spawning huge sales, cultural relevance, and even a handful of television shows.

If you consider yourself a novice sneakerhead yourself, you may be curious about how to build out a stellar sneaker collection. While it can be difficult to decide how to begin this new journey, a few smart tips and tricks can help to lead the way.

What do you need to know as you start a sneaker collection, and which new shoes need to be on your radar? Read on and we’ll walk you through what you need to know.

Learn the Vernacular

Sneaker culture has its own vocabulary you’re going to need to get familiar with if you’re serious about joining the elite ranks of true shoe collectors. Do your research and start to learn about what really makes a shoe, outside of just brand names.

Drops, grails, tongues, and so on: the more you can familiarize yourself with the vocabulary associated with sneaker culture, the more you can understand and differentiate between the many options available out there.

It’s important to know what you’re talking about, and that all begins with learning the basic vocabulary used to describe various elements of footwear. There are all types of ways and places you can go when building up this vocab.

Look online and watch sneaker unboxing videos, read sneaker reviews, or spend time around your local footwear store. You’re bound to pick up this new language through some careful listening and repeated osmosis.

You’ll likely learn a whole lot else about shoes in the process, which can only help you in your eventual goal to become the Sneaker King.

Study Release Calendars

Shoe collecting is all about The Drop: that moment where the new sneaker is released in a limited quantity, and it’s a race to make sure it can be in your collection ASAP.

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Nike Air Jordan IX, (Bulls Colorway) Date 9 July 2016 Source Wikipedia Author 2Pacalyp

In your early days as a shoe collector, you’re likely going to get beaten to the punch when trying to snag a new pair of shoes because you won’t know when or where to look for the drop.

Many brands release their new sneakers in different locations and at different times, but the responsibility will be up to you to be at the right place at the right moment. There are various sneaker news websites out there that you can use to keep up with the sneaker news cycle, but trolling through social media can also lead to some helpful information.

Once you discover the drop times of the shoes you are interested in, drop them in your calendar apps and let plenty of alerts remind you of their impending arrival.

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If you miss a release, take a moment to recognize what went wrong and change your system so it doesn’t happen again in the future.

Become Part of the Community

Much of life is who you know, and this is true in the sneakerhead community as much as it is anywhere else. As you get deeper into shoe collecting, making friends with others with the same hobby is going to help seal the deal when things get competitive.

When you know people, you might get invited into smaller communities that can help you get your hands on more exclusive products. Your fellow sneaker collectors could invite you to a Discord group, for example, that might contain more exclusive information about certain drops.

A community is also going to be a place you can go to get advice, guidance, and camaraderie about all things related to your growing collection.

It might even be a resource to help get your hands on that pair you’ve been eying. Trading and buying from other sneaker collectors are just as common of a practice as buying from the actual retailer.

It can be a great way to find other options for sneakers, including anything from Yeezys to LeBron shoes.

Beware of Fakes

One word to the wise: scammers are common in the sneaker game, and novice collectors are their main prey. It’s far too easy not to look closely enough into what you’re doing and find yourself on the bum end of a bad deal.

Fake shoes are filling up the market and robbing naive sellers blind. The real way to avoid falling for such a scam? Trust your gut. If you come across a deal that just feels far too good to be true, keep in mind that it likely is.

Verification can go a long way. Ask for as many photos of the shoes as possible. Look for a video and ensure it matches the photos you’ve received. Ask for a photo of the box, study the placement of labels and tags on proper versions of the shoes you’re looking to buy.

Many resell markets will require verification for products, so buying on eBay is going to be safer than buying from an anonymous online group. However, at the end of the day, you should follow whatever your gut says you should do.

Start a Sneaker Collection Today

Excited to get into the game and get your own sneaker collection going? Copping a few new sneakers are all you’ll need to join the ranks of the many who have come before you. The above advice can help you as you take your first few steps into this new world.

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