A young man from Fredericton has a not-so-ordinary collection – one he thinks is the largest in Canada.
Nick Barnes, 20, started collecting Nike SB Dunk sneakers at the age of 13 because he was drawn to the story behind each edition.
âI went strictly to this model because I realized that there was more comfort in them, and that there was just more history behind themâ¦ and [they’re] more than a regular old shoe, âBarnes said.
Barnes has always been a collector, whether it’s stones or PokÃ©mon cards. But now he has found his long term passion.
âI decided I liked sneakers, then I just started collecting, and I found all these groups on Facebook and it felt easy to be my thing and collect sneakers,â Barnes said.
Barnes estimated that he owns over 200 different pairs of the model, but he never really counted.
âTo my knowledge, I have the largest collection in Canada for this style of footwear,â he said.
“I don’t know of anyone else who has this style of shoe as such.”
Barnes has dedicated a room in his house to his sneakers and showcases his collection at sneaker shows across Canada.
He said a pair of SB Dunk sneakers typically cost between $ 150 and $ 300. However, they can be more expensive depending on the year they were released, their theme and how many are available, selling for up to C $ 30,000.
Stories behind the shoes
While still in college, Barnes said, he became addicted to sneakers when he saw a friend wearing model SB Dunk.
He said he always had his first pair in his garage, even though he wore them until they were full of holes.
It has unique pairs like the “Three Bears Pack”, which includes sneakers dedicated to dad, mom and baby bears from Goldilocks and the three bears.
He also has a pair designed by Joey Bates, an American kid with muscular dystrophy, which features a green and gold design for his favorite football team, the Green Bay Packers.
The rarest sneakers Barnes owns are the Nike SB Dunk “Day of the Dead” edition. In 2006, Nike released only 400 pairs, 200 in Canada and 200 in Mexico. Barnes is in the process of having them signed by the designer.
âI actually got in touch with the creator of the sneaker and he lives in Venezuela and he said if I sent him the shoes he would sign them and send them back,â Barnes said.
A passionate long-haul project
Barnes attends Eastern College for the Supply Chain Logistics program, and he hopes to turn his passion for sneakers into a full-time job helping other collectors find the sneakers they are looking for.
He already has connections around the world and helps other collectors find shoes through his Instagram page, which has more than 4,000 followers, sending shoes to Denmark, Japan and Australia. It also helps run a Facebook page for collectors who want to show off their shoes.
When he first told his family he collects sneakers, they didn’t think it would last. But then he bought dozens of sneakers in grade 10.
“And then they were like, ‘OK, maybe this is more than just a hobby and it’s just kind of a passion for him.'”
Since then his mother has attended sneaker shows in Montreal with him and Barnes said she liked the atmosphere.
Going forward, Barnes said he hopes to make his passion a family affair and pass his collection on to a child.
But until then, he plans to continue expanding his collection.
“It’s a hobby that I don’t see going away anytime soon.”