Top Sneaker Influencers Talk Shop

Five of the top sneaker influencers gather for a candid and revealing conversation.

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Bobbito Garcia
Twitter/Instagram: @KoolBobLove
Resume: Author, “Where’d You Get Those?: New York City Sneaker Culture 1960-1987”; filmmaker, “Doin’ It in the Park: Pick-Up Basketball NYC”; host, ESPN’s “It’s the Shoes”; DJ,
Brand affiliations: Nike
Breakout moment: “In 1991, The Source magazine ran an article called ‘Confessions of a Sneaker Addict,’ which I penned. That was the first hit in media history on sneaker culture. I’ve been ahead of the game for a long time.”

Vashtie Kola
Twitter/Instagram: @Vashtie
Resume: Video director; DJ; founder, Violette; creative director, Ice Cream Girl
Brand affiliations: Jordan Brand, Timberland
On being a female influencer in sneakers: “I never think about it. At the end of the day, being anything is hard. If I was in a wheelchair, my life would be hard. Everyone has their own battle to deal with. There are issues being a girl in an industry that’s very male-dominated, but I never looked at it that way. I don’t think about it as a negative. I think of it as, more than anything, a positive. I’m a girl who can do a lot of things a guy can do and am getting some sort of recognition for it.”

DJ Clark Kent
Resume: DJ; music producer; co-host, “Quickstrike” on; brand consultant; partner, LTD+ Management
Brand affiliations: Nike
How he got into sneakers: “I’m from Brooklyn, N.Y. When I was young, the coolest guys on the block always had the best sneakers. When I was 8, we’d see the older guys on the block with all the girls, and I wanted to do what those guys did to have the girls. You see their shoes and, of course, figure that has to be a part of it. They were always clean and brand-new looking.”

Jeff Staple
Twitter/Instagram: @JeffStaple
Resume: Founder, Staple Design, The Reed Space
Brand affiliations: Nike, New Balance, Puma, Airwalk
On his influencers: Bobbito Garcia. “I’m not just saying that because he’s in this roundtable. When I first started, I really wanted Staple to be in Bobbito’s [now closed] store — Bobbito’s Footwork. I created all the graphics and line sheets, ready to present to him. He didn’t know me from the Chinese food delivery guy. I remember sitting in the store for three hours waiting for him. When he finally came, he said he wasn’t feeling my stuff. He wasn’t being a dick, he was just being very honest and saying it wasn’t for him. But I was crushed. I was in tears leaving the store. It was a defining moment for me because a lot of other people might have quit right there.”

Ronnie Fieg
Twitter/Instagram: @RonnieFieg
Resume: Founder, owner, Kith NYC
Brand affiliations: Asics, Puma, Sebago, Chippewa, Del Toro, Doc Martens
Got into the business when ... “I started working in a shoe store when I was 13. And I started selling shoes when I was 15. My appreciation for these brands and for these silhouettes is different from the appreciation that others have for them. Selling those shoes really piqued my interest in how those shoes were put together, what exactly I was selling and what those brands represented in the mid-1990s. There’s a nostalgic feeling for me with a lot of these brands.”

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