Epsilon Magazine

I am a sneakerhead

I am a sneakerhead episode 115 - @Piantoni7

My name is Steven Piantoni and I live in Leamington Spa, a small town about an hour north of London. I am currently an exterior designer for Jaguar Cars. I graduated from Coventry University in 1999 with a BA Hons in automotive design. From 1999 to 2007 I was employed by Bentley Motors. It was an amazing eight years and I was lucky enough to work on,The Continental GT, Flying Spur and the Mulsanne. In 2008 I took a career switch and got into footwear design. This is were my sneaker fetish was rekindled. I worked for a company called Pentland who own footwear licenses of many brands, including BoxFresh, Lacoste and Berghaus. My automotive skills transferred nicely into the footwear industry, although there was still a steep learning curve. During my time there I designed a range of trekking shoes for Berghaus and the Spring/Summer 2010 range for BoxFresh. Great times and work Im very proud of. From there I took another switch and found myself working for a product design consultancy. There I met a great bunch of guys and the work was fast paced and exciting. I worked for multiple brands including Aston Martin,Clark's Originals and Vurtu. After three great years my passion for cars had resurfaced,and I found myself working for and driving one of my favourite marques, Lotus. This lasted for three exciting years before I moved on to my current position at Jaguar.

As a creative Im always looking for new way to express myself. After winning the Size?xNike AirMax Instagram competition, I found myself with a new artistic outlet and audience. Through this, my first site was born www.Matchkicks.co.uk. This business combined my love of matching my t-shirt to my kicks and my love of art. Through clever graphic design, I launched a range of sneaker inspired tee's. With the help of a company called Spreadshirt I was able to upload multiple designs and colourways. Something I couldn't do if I was printing the shirts myself. With some success, this fuelled my next venture. SneakerToons. Nothing complicated about this one. Just a love of sneakers and sketching. Starting as a 'doodleaday' that I posted on Instagram, it stirred some interest in the sneaker community. There are so many great shoes and colab colourways. After a while I decided I would sell them as limited edition mini prints. Signed and number by myself. Which you can now buy on sneakertoons.bigcartel.com

I always liked Sneakers as a kid, but was never a hard core sneakerhead. For me it was all about Nike back then. I still remember owning an awesome pair of Cirtus/blue Airmax 93’s and the now legendary Purple Punch Huaraches. My interest in sneakers was rekindled in 2007, when I started working as a footwear designer. It was a great year for me and being surrounded by the whole footwear industry it was hard not to to fall in love with sneakers and there whole design process.

Which pair is my favorite? This is a tricky question! Being a bit of a runner and growing up in the late eighties/early nineties, means I have a soft spot for 'old school' runners. Most of my collection revolves around these shoes. I think I like the combination of the technical function of the shoes mixed with there aesthetics. I have always loved Nike’s AirMaxes. In particular 87's and 93's. I've always thought the way Tinker Hatfield exposed the air bubble on the '1' was a stroke of genius. Its also just such a great shoe. Combining a simple,aesthetic with a technically advanced design. I own about 4 pairs of AirMax 87’s, but I still love the OG Sport red colour way the most. However I have to say the Adidas ZX 8000 is also a firm favourite of mine. In its OG Aqua colour way its a stone cold classic and probably one of the most recognisable shoes in sneaker history, along with the AM 90 Infared. Last, but not least I'm a sucker for an Asics Gel Lyte III. There have been some awesome collabs over the years on this shoe. Perth based Highs and Lows, ‘Mortar’, Sneaker Freaker’s ‘Alvin Purple’ and Hanon’s ‘Wildcat’ to name but a few….This years anniversary collabs have now cemented this shoe place in sneaker history and into the hearts of many snekerheads young and old.

Oliver Berg