"Don’t be a victim of hyped releases! Never get influenced by what other people talk about."

This month I decided to deliver our readers something a little different with this month’s Sneakerhead Talk. So I ventured out looking for a “Jordanhead” to get a different perspective of today’s sneaker-collecting scene. Without further ado, let me introduce Aian Sanahon — a cool cat with a passion for all brands of sneakers, and even more for Air Jordans.

A Little About Aian

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“My name’s Aian, I’m 30 years of age, born and raised in the Philippines. I’ve lived in Melbourne for the last four years. I’m currently studying and working part-time in Nursing. I’m a massive movie buff and on weekends I enjoy driving out to random places outside of Melbourne with my partner. Some other hobbies include mountain bike riding and playing basketball.

I don’t really have a particular style. It really depends on what kicks I am wearing at the time. First and foremost is comfort, then the character and impression the outfit gives. The casual get-up for me would be a plain tee, slim denim, and a pair of kicks matching either my hat or my top.”

Best & Worst of Today’s Sneaker Culture

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“The present sneaker culture is growing and innovating. I reckon the community and social media plays a big role for this success. Nowadays, there are people on Facebook and Instagram you can ask anything about sneakers. Where to find the good deals, tutorials for customising your shoes, educating people about fake and authentic pairs, and everything else in between. They’re platforms for people to explore and familiarise themselves to the sneaker culture. Not just with shoes but also with human beings who share the same passion.

There are a few things that annoy me though (and I’m sure others too) about today’s sneaker culture. Resellers, the extended families who show up to raffles, and those who walk out of sneaker stores with a full size run of the same shoe who put them up on eBay days later. It’s infuriating to know that genuine dudes miss out on shoes they actually want to wear.”

Sentimental Pair of Jordan’s

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“For me, the one pair that got me collecting Air Jordans, is the ‘Bred’ 11s. When I first saw them in person, I was in primary school. One of my classmates had a pair and I used to stare at them all day, every day. Wherever he went, the black patent leather shone, it screamed and demanded attention.

It was just so dope and appealing.

He had all the best kicks back then, from Js to Kobes, and even O’neals. My family was not wealthy and my mother used to say we couldn’t afford such expensive basketball shoes. Sneakers were at the lowest priority, so I stuck with the one I had and the ones my brothers gave me. I promised myself then, when I grow up and have the money, I’ll buy myself a pair of ‘Bred’ 11s. And I did. It was one of the best days of my life.”

The Most Expensive Pair in the Collection

“The Air Jordan 1 Retro High OG Black/Red would be by far — the most expensive pair of Js I have bought. Not because it’s a J-head’s must-have, but because it’s one of my top 3 Air Jordans in my all-time list. It’s the shoes MJ wore when he was getting recognised and the one that started the Air Jordan madness. Name anyone who wouldn’t like a pair in the ‘Chicago’ colourway?”

Favourite Jordan

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“I will have to say the Air Jordan 1, 3 and 11 with the OG colour ways. It’s aspiring. When you put these shoes on, it’s like you were a part of Michael Jordan’s career highlights. From scoring the 63-point game and dunking from the free throw line with a sea of camera flashes in the background; to being a movie star playing with Bugs Bunny. It was every basketball fan’s dream to own a pair. Every pair had its own story to tell. It’s like a bit of history you can wear on your feet. There is no other sneaker brand quite like it.”

Collecting Other Brands of Sneakers

“My love and loyalty will always lie with my Js. However, when I attended a swap meet back in 2014 a pair of grey and maroon New Balance 1300 caught my eye. Even though it didn’t have the same appeal to me as Js, I’ve always wanted to try something different. I tried them on as soon as I got home and thought to myself, ‘I need more of this!’”

Advice For Future Sneakerheads

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“Don’t be a victim of hyped releases! Never get influenced by what other people talk about. You don’t have to please everyone just by buying and wearing ‘their’ shoes. Find what pair of shoes you really want. Don’t settle for a cheap pair. It will not come close to the one you need badly. Finally remember to never gift a payment unless you know the seller personally.”

This episode with Aian gave me a great insight about how much one pair of sneakers can truly mean to a collector. Whether it was worn in a buzzer beating 3-point shot or in a playoff game, the sentimental story behind each shoe is fascinating. Although I had a great time taking photos of Air Jordans, I quickly realised I was unable to use the predisposed photography techniques I would normally use for trainers. Regardless, I had a lot of fun improvising with Aian and I feel I’m much better prepared for my next “Jordanhead” feature. Until next time! Peace.