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“Sneakerheads” Growing In Number

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ROYAL OAK (WWJ) - They say they’re not hoarders — they just really have a passion for sneakers. Known as “sneakerheads” these hardcore collectors are all over shoes the way others collect stamps.

Sneakerhead Joe Van Buren of Detroit loves the custom kicks so much, he owns 460 pairs of shoes.

“I mean, I know you can’t wear 460 pairs, but I mean, you can, I guess, wear a new pair of shoes every day for however long it takes. Believe it or not, I have a lot of other friends that have a lot more shoes that I do. I know people that have 2,500 pairs,” Van Buren said.

The 25-year-old art student started collecting the shoes about five years ago.

“I remember I had to sneak in the house, through the night, just to put shoes up,” Van Buren said. “And [my parents] would still ask, you know, why do you have more shoes, and I really couldn’t, I didn’t even know how to explain it to them.”

Van Buren said his favorite things about the sneakers are the style, the colors and the comfort. WWJ’s Sandra McNeill caught up with the sneaker fanatic at a storage facility, where he keeps most of his collection.

“I haven’t worn any of these and that’s about 300 pair. I have 100 some pair at my parents house and I’ve pretty much worn those, and I have like 60 some pair at my house and I’ve worn those, so it’s just these. I haven’t really gotten around to it,” Van Buren said.

Unlike Van Buren, 30-year-old Roland Coit wears every pair of shoes he buys.

“I wear all my sneakers. The Jordan Bordeaux that just came out like last month, when it came through the door, I took off my other shoes and put those on and walked to the bank,” Coit said.

Coit owns the sneaker store Burn Rubber in Royal Oak and you better believe he’s a die-hard sneakerhead too.

“I actually wore sneakers in my wedding, like in my wedding. I wore some gray and pink Bape sneakers,” Coit said.

But the trend isn’t just for the young and adventurous. Coit said his oldest customer is a 70-year-old man with a passion for the sneaker culture.

“His jeans have to be behind the tongue of his sneaker, he cares about how he laces them up and everything. So, I mean, it transcends all that. It transcends all gender, race, age… the sneaker culture has no discrimination,” Coit said.

Coit said being a sneakerhead is all about having a passion for unique shoes.

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