Epsilon Magazine

I am a sneakerhead

I am a sneakerhead episode 97 - @Mannyrox

My name is Manny Salas out of Portland, OR. I have lived in the Oregon area my whole life and have been collecting sneakers for about 12 years though my love for sneakers could be pegged as far back as 1993 when I received my first pair of Air Jordans.

In 1993 I had been living in a trailer park and couldn't afford the newest clothes or the nicest shoes. I was aware of the Jordan sneakers that would come out every year and hype that ensued. My older brother's friend was over one day and had on the Jordan 8 "Playoff". I completed gawked at them and he asked if I wanted to try them on. Certainly I wouldn't have another opportunity to do this so I took him up on his offer. After having tried them on, he handed them down to me. Even though they were a bit beat up, they were still Jordans and I continued to wear them until they fell apart, I absolutely loved that pair. A couple years after that I had started to work on my own and purchased my first pair of sneakers. They were the Fila Stackhouse and my brother got the Grant Hills. Later I got really into the Air Penny line and owned all the subsequent pairs that released. I liked the Jordan line at the time too but wanted to wear something that was a bit different than some of my peers. To this day, the Air Penny IV is my favorite basketball shoe of all time. I'm really looking forward to the upcoming Penny IV retro since the last retro release was mediocre at best.

For the most part, I'm a Jordan guy at heart. Those are the shoes that hold true nostalgia for me, but I really hated Michael Jordan in that day. I was more of an Orlando and Portland fan in the early/mid 90s. I realize that sneakers have evolved and advancements have been made, but the Jordan classics will always be my first love. I hate to say that I fit in only one category of sneaker collecting, yet I can be most easily classified as a Jordan collector. Of course, we know that even that is considered to be a general category with retros, PEs, Samples and OGs being subcategories within it. I have a huge love for Jordan 1 Originals and own several pairs. However, I also love Air Jordan samples, it's a very intriguing thing to see updated colorways, tweaks or concepts that are put together that don't end up on shelves. Some of the coolest shoes out there never make it to people's hands and it's always intriquing to have something that the next person doesn't.

Of the pairs I own, my favorite pair has to be the Air Jordan IV Oregon. As much as possible, I try to only pick up pairs in my own size. I never thought I would be able to own a pair of the Oregon IVs. To make matters worse, my friend had a pair in my exact size but they were his prized possession and wasn't willing to let them go. I would always keep an eye out but finding a pair in a size 7-8 proved to be next to impossible. One day my friend asked me if I was interested in his pair as he was going to focus on exploring the world at that point. I was certainly interested and we worked out a deal.

My second favorite pair is the Air Jordan I Fragment Friends & Family sample. There's multiple reasons for liking the pair, one of course is the rarity of the shoe. Pairs very rarely come on to the market, so I knew I had something special when I picked this pair up. Secondly, the Fragment release also marked a change to the Air Jordan I line as this was dubbed the beginning of their 'remastered' releases. The materials and make of the shoe are outstanding.

The last pair is relatively unknown to mass markets, though sample collectors know it well. It is the Air Raid II "ParaNorman" sample, what makes things even better is the fact that this pair is signed by Phil Knight, Tinker Hatfield and Tiffany Beers. There was an auction pair that sold for $3,000 to raise money for a dance studio, that pair came with a special ParaNorman box. Mine are in a normal sample box but ultra rare nonetheless. In doing some research, the only other pair to make it out to the public was the auction pair. This is a true gem to have in the collection.

- Manny

Oliver Berg