Epsilon Magazine

I am a sneakerhead

I am a sneakerhead episode 22 - @29th_ave

Hey!! It's Francis Hernandez aka @29th_ave - born and raised in the Philippines but has been based in Singapore since 2007.

As a young boy, I have always liked sneakers. Being a basketball fan (every Filipino loves basketball you know?!?) and growing in the Chicago Bulls/Michael Jordan-era, it's easy to understand that my first love were the Air Jordan's. I did not start with sneakers though. I was a high school kid who just had enough money in my pocket then so I had to settle with buying basketball magazines. Besides the sport, the magazines featured popular sneakers like those worn by Jordan, Pippen, Kobe, Shaq, Penny and more. A couple of years collecting/reading magazines passed before I got my first sneakers - an adidas feet-you-wear.

From that first sneakers until a number of years working, I had pairs of Air Jordan's (a couple of non-retros and a Jordan XX3 Stealth-first numbered J), Nike Free's, Nike Penny's to name a few. It was not until December 2013 that I decided to flip the switch to got a bit serious into collecting. Family and other more important life priorities delayed that passion but hey, it happened anyway!! The pair that started it all was a Nike Kobe 8 Barcelona I got for 20% off retail. I was kind of an impulsive buyer when I started - buying almost every Jordan retro released every month. But the comfort (or should I say discomfort) in wearing my pairs made me rethink what to buy next. Seeing some friends wearing ASICS, I decided to get my first pair of runners - a GLV from the rasta/carnival pack. I then bought a GL3 Snowman and a Gel Saga Santa from the 2014 Christmas pack. Since then, I sold most of my Jordan pairs and I focused more into ASICS. To start 2015, I got my very first collab pair from LimitEDitions. Coincidentally, my first full year into ASICS was the 25th anniversary of GL3 and I was lucky to get my Koi and Solstice at retail price from local store.

Although I still cannot wear all my sneakers everyday, it's the satisfaction of getting my hands on one of "those" pairs that keeps me going. I bet those who collects stamps, watches and cars (!?!) would say the same thing. But apart from that, being a grown up, you will agree that looking neat every time is also one of the reasons - the pairs I have now sort of changed how I dress up (for the better of course!!). My son also owns more than a dozen pairs which for me, is a simple way of making him enjoy what I just used to dream as a kid. Well, wife got her flats, heels and bags if you would ask.

I still have my Stealth XX3 and a few more Jordan retros (Cool Grey 11, White Cement 4, etc) and I'm still planning to buy a few selected basketball shoes. However, my focus now is really on runners - ASICS in particular. Of the silhouettes that I own, I lean more on GLV's as it is really more comfortable to wear. I love my Offspring Desert Pack, RF Rose Gold, Kickslab/SBTG Phys Ed but I do love my Afew Koi, Hanon Solstice. A few pairs in my wish list are RF Sage, Ubiq Midnight Bloom, Concepts Pistachio to mention some. As for my grail, I'm hoping to get my hands on Commonwealth Da Vinci someday when I'm ready to pay that crazy resell price - I try to be practical as possible when buying pairs not at retail!!

That's my story. Thank you very much Epsilon Magazine. Cheers!!

Oliver Berg