Story and photos by DeAngelo Conley
It is after midnight and Anna Hutchinson surveyed her creation. She sat on the floor of her living room, a metropolis of shoeboxes rising around her. Hutchison collects sneakers the way others collect stamps. And every shoe has a story.
She gazed at the pair of Jordan 1s that began her collection, recalling the day she ran through the mall because she heard City Gear had a restock of this favored brand. She explained how the shoe’s purple color is such an iconic look to her and that she will keep it forever. Hutchinson won the race to the shoe on the rack that day and has been adding to her collection ever since.
Everyone has something that brings them joy every day, she said. For Hutchinson, she admits to a measure of obsessiveness and not enough closet space. Her collection has grown to more than 150 pairs of sneakers valued at up to $25,000 on the resell market.
Hutchinson is originally from Terre Haute, Indiana but moved several years ago to the Middle Tennessee area with her mother. Growing up she knew nothing about shoe collecting. Sneakers were meant to be worn. That changed when she was looking for a new job. A friend suggested applying to Champs, a sporting goods and apparel store, and after the interview, she was working the next week. From her first day, when she remembered wearing a pair of Nike Free Runs, work became a way to learn about footwear.
“I started working at Champs and grew a newfound love for shoes.”
Jordan 1s quickly became Hutchinson’s favorite shoe. She recalled the first time she ever camped out for a Jordan 1 Colorway called “Rookie of the Year.”
Sneaker collectors go to great lengths to buy the most sought-after shoes. Many wait hours to days to secure a pair. These shoes are limited at each store, so many collectors try to secure their pair by waiting in line outside of the store. The hype of many shoes varies but many times, she said, the line stretched as far as two football fields.
Hutchinson placed her shoes in number order for a photo shoot. Each shoe was in pristine condition and there was the smell of fresh leather and glue. Each pair was wrinkle-free, even at the toe box, a sign they had never been laced up on a good.
Once you gain a collection of shoes the size of Hutchinson’s, it is difficult to wear them all. Many of them she doesn’t want to wear because they are in deadstock condition. Deadstock means the shoe is no longer in production, meaning there’s a limited quantity of them around, meaning they rise in value.
Recently, the price of many shoes skyrocketed in value. Sneakers begin to appreciate value as soon as the company announces they are to be released.
Shoes like the Nike Air Mag, the model featuring the self-lacing technology of the future and worn by actor Michael J. Fox in Back to the Future, the Nike Air Mag is currently valued as high as $110,000 and the lowest is $19,000. The shoe resale value fluctuates for multiple reasons: popularity, rarity, material, social media influence, and even the size of the shoe. Fortunately, Hutchinson does receive many of her shoes for retail or less, so her collection grows each week.
Meticulous in her recordkeeping, Hutchinson always keeps her purchase receipts. Over a matter of a few years, she has spent about $12,000. Based on research she’s done using sneaker reselling apps like Stock X, her collection has doubled.
Shoe reselling is a booming industry. Many individuals take advantage of the rarity of certain shoes to bank profits. For instance, one pair of shattered backboard Jordan 1 High retails at $160 dollars in the story. The aftermarket value of this particular model starts at $500— and if they are deadstock, then they are worth ten times the original price.
Despite the mountain of shoes she now owns, she wants one in particular.
“It is definitely the Shadow Jordan 1.”
This model came out in 2018 with a medium-grey and black leather that perfectly makes the shoe, Hutchinson said. It has only been released three times.
She dreams of having a room dedicated to her shoes. Currently, her home looks very much like a shoe store, with boxes of shoes that reach to the ceiling.
To Hutchinson, there is not a specific reason behind getting so many shoes. She just grew a love for collecting, and she enjoys the hunt.
“You should know I am going to buy shoes until I am old and frail.”