Sneakers have already become a special culture, sneakerheads all over the world wait for and track new pairs, spend hours in the lines and lay out fortunes. Models and colours change, athletes and celebrities feature their special editions, producers sell movie and cartoon-themed items, limited series and pre-order-only shoes.
There’s a player in the League, who’s been afficionado for a long time. Meet Andrey Zubkov, League’s sneakerhead no.1. Andrey told us how it started, how he’d call his signature model and revealed his sneaker plans.
How many do you have?
Over 200. I didn’t count them all, because I’m always getting more and more. I think it’s about 240-250.
How did it start and transformed into such an addiction?
It’s from childhood, I wanted sneakers, and now I can afford them. I bought one, two, wanted more and more… I try to slow down and ask myself why would I need them. Then I try to find something more exclusive, not to waste on every single pair. I used to buy sneakers just for sake of having them. Recently I decided I wanted to tell people about my collection and special models which I’ll start doing on my Instagram,
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В моей коллекции больше 220 пар💥 Самая любимая модель это Jordan 11😍 Для меня каждая расцветка это не просто другие цвета, это другое состояние, настроение. Я обожаю Air Jordan 1, что сказать – классика🎩 Даже не знаю, сколько расцветок у меня есть, но их можно покупать вечно. Линейка Kobe для меня это любовь, особенно 5 номерная модель. Не так давно ещё влюбился в Nike Dunk, теперь они под моим прицелом 🎯 Помимо этого, я ценю и тащусь от "новой школы". Коллаборация с Fear of God , Off White , Travis Scott. Ну и конечно же, я имею несколько расцветок кроссовок будущего – Adapt BB 🔥 Частенько смотрю на всё это и думаю, как же круто развивается эта культура – от первых цветных баскетбольных кроссовок до тех, которые сами зашнуровываются . Фантастика🌪#sneakers #sneakerhead
Is there any favorable brand or do you just get what you liked?
Yes, I must fall for it. If I like the way it looks, I have to buy it. Obviously, Nike and Jordan are my favorite.
Any sort of criteria to choose a new pair?
I follow new releases and look for something that really drives me. No special criteria, I don’t even care if it’s sneakers or shoes.
The story of creation of Jordan’s sneakers is told in of The Last Dance episodes. Are these stories special for you, or is it just about having a collection?
Moment of discovery is what drives me. I’ve watched the series in English and I loved it. And overall, I realized that I can’t call myself a true sneakerhead. There are insane addicted people in this culture, spending hours in lines. Maybe I’d do it if I lived in the USA, but this thing is not as huge in Russia, and we can buy everything on the internet, plus my schedule is pretty intense. Although, I’d try to spend a summer evening waiting in line for a new pair.
What’s the most interesting story of you buying a new pair?
I don’t go to the stores myself, everything’s done online. I have a guy watching for new releases texting me. We make an order in case he finds something I need. Sometimes the shipping’s 2-3 months. This June, I ordered Yeezy to wear during the summer and they’ve only arrived now. Everything stopped due to pandemic. The wait is the largest downside for me, especially when I bought something valuable.
Any sneakers that you really wanted, but couldn’t buy?
Yeah, I’ve been there. There were Jordan 4 in a collab with Off-white, but 46 was the maximum size. I really liked them, they looked interesting, although I got a pair for my wife.
Does your wife share this hobby?
She really likes footwear. I’m nothing compared to her if you look at her shoe collection. She also has sneakers, but she doesn’t always like what I buy for myself.
There’s a picture of your son wearing little Jordan sneakers. It runs in the family?
I was buying Jordans and they offered the same for my son, so I took them. Sometimes, kid’s shoes cost 20-30 thousand roubles, and it’s a waste of money. He’ll wear it for one day. When he stops growing that fast, we’ll see.
There are players who wear the same model with their wives and children. Would you try that in your family?
Maybe for photos and special events, but not in a regular life. If I got a pair of sneakers, I have to be the only one.
Do you change playing shoes regularly or stick to the shortlist of reliable pairs?
I used to have certain tested models that I was confident to play in. So I used to buy them in different colors. There were new models coming every year, but I remained in the comfortable ones. However, now I try to play in everything I have. It’s more than 70 pairs of playing sneakers, they shouldn’t be waiting with no use. I try to change them every game.
How do you choose a pair for a game?
There’s nothing special at all. I’ve seen them, taken them and play in them. It has nothing to do with a game, weekday or my mood.
Do you have any pre-game rituals with sneakers? Or superstitions?
I’m not superstitious. If a black cat’s crossing the road I’ll run towards it. And the game depends on me. If I played bad, the sneakers are not to blame.
What do you think about special signs as a tribute to children, wives, parents or celebrities and special occasions?
Well, I think it’s cool, looks cool. But I’ve never done that, I’m afraid people here won’t get it. They’ll start pointing at me saying I’m acting like a foreigner, and we’re Russians…
What about custom sneakers?
As of today, I’m only planning to do some. I have some ideas and I’m working on them.
Would you like to release your own series of sneakers?
Why not? It’d be cool, I’d call them Air Zub. That’d be lifestyle, something like Nike Dunk or first Jordans. I’ll have to think it through. Speaking of playing shoes, it’s hard to come up with something new here.
Have you ever thought of starting a business of sneakers?
I was thinking about opening a store with exclusive products that are hard to find in Russia. But it’s complicated as shipping takes really long time. This culture is developing here, so probably I could find my audience. But this is time-consuming, and now I’m all in basketball.