How Sneakers are Like Fine Wines

Or, what I learned at DunkXChange Boston.

This weekend, I learned that kicks and wine have a lot in common. Both have limited-edition production runs, both have organizations dedicated to them, and both can make you more comfortable. How did I come to this genius realization? Because I attended the DunkXChange Boston at the South End’s Villa Victoria Center.

Gary Hughes once purchased $1,400 worth of sneakers online, only to receive three pairs of fakes. He realized that the only way to tell if kicks were legit was to see them in person first — so, he contacted some other “sneakerheads” and they bought from, sold to, and traded with each other to increase their collections. DunkXChange was born when Hughes decided to take the show on the road in 2005; DXC now has events in 40 cities where sneaker enthusiasts congregate to sell, trade, and buy.

Walking into the DXC Boston event, I stuck out like a sore thumb. Turns out people who go to the DXC conventions generally aren’t wearing Barbour coats and Toms shoes, nor are the majority of them twenty-three year old women. The average attendee was a young man wearing raw denim jeans, a fitted white tee or a very cool jacket, and awesome kicks (duh). But, the energy of the live DJs and the hundreds of people sharing a passion for sneakers hunting around to find that perfect pair was infectious. I almost walked away with a few sets.

The sneakers run about as much as the priciest bottles of wine; one pair I saw was selling for over $1,200. The intricacies of the shoes are as complicated as the notes of a good bottle of red, too. Perhaps a certain Air Jordan sneaker was part of a limited-edition run, a special design collaboration, or a line of shoes made only in certain sizes and colors. And, as some wines are aged in barrels for a prescribed number of years, some sneakers appreciate in value. One sneaker head, the owner of over 1,000 pairs (yes, over ONE THOUSAND), told me that his favorite pair of Converse Dr. J’s had grown exponentially more valuable over the years.

Up next: I’ll be posting Street Style shots of the people at the event, like the two men waiting to get in, in the first photo above. But for now, some sneaker porn.

Adidas “JS Wings” by fashion designer Jeremy Scott, left, and the Nike “Lebron 9 Summit Lake Hornets,” two limited-edition sneakers (the latter came out only four days ago).

Sneaks on sneaks on sneaks. The blue pair in the bottom right cost over $1,000 and the guy selling them had waited six hours to buy them.

Sneaker key chains for those attendees pinching pennies.