Airkenny Chats to The Idle Man

Airkenny trainers sneakers collection feature

We chat to trainer collector and enthusiast Airkenny, to hear his thoughts on fashion and style

Read more best of the web guides

We chat to hundreds of creatives in our Best Of The Web series, from models, to bloggers, and stylists to designers, hearing their views on a range of topics such as fashion, social media and music. This week we’re with trainer collector and Instagram sensation, Airkenny.

With his Instagram booming with brightly coloured, carefully photographed, and unique trainers, Airkenny has made a name for himself as an enthusiastic and creative collector, who loves nothing more than sharing his passion with other like minded followers. With a huge following of 50,000, Airkenny has inspired ‘sneaker lovers’ from all over the world, and has a collection of some of rarest and most exclusive trainers on the market. We caught up with him to hear how he got into his expansive hobby, and what he thinks of men’s fashion and style.

Keep up to date with all of Airkenny’s activities on Instagram | Twitter

Can you tell us a little bit about what you do and when you got into it?

Through Instagram, Facebook and Twitter, I am known to some as a collector of sneakers.  Mostly Nike sneakers but lately some Adidas shoes as well with Kanye and some other concepts that Adidas has been designing.  Shoes have always been a part of my life, and Jordan basketball sneakers were my prime choice growing up as I grew up in the Chicago area at a time when Michael Jordan and the Bulls were winning championships. 

A little over 5 years ago I got back into athletic sneakers, starting first with retros of the same Jordans I grew up with, and then moving to collect more limited/rare sneakers.  I was able to get my collection to about 350 pairs of shoes consisting mostly of Jordans, Lebrons, KDs and some Kobes.  Throw in some Nike SB shoes, Nike Sportswear shoes such as Yeezys, Nike hyperposites,  Adidas Yeezy shoes and a whole bunch of Christmas Player Exclusives, you will have most of what is in my collection.

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Having the rare and player exclusive sneakers in my collection allowed me to share pictures of them on my Instagram, Facebook and sometimes Twitter with anyone who was interested, and eventually I grew a following.  I find it very cool and humbling at the same time that some people who started following me years ago are still actively following me now and checking out my latest pictures.

At first, I could not wait to post a picture of my newest pick up.  I would get a mail delivery and proceed to unbox them and throw them on my coffee table for a picture.  Some of my friends who were into sneakers would call me out for not having better pictures, and they were right. 

You can still see some of those early coffee table pictures on my Instagram and Facebook.  Since then, a few fans of sneakers took pity on me and agreed to take pictures of my shoes, and I am grateful to all of them for taking some very cool pictures and expecting nothing in return (big thank you to @mynames­_keegan, @atasiemski, @lijmahn, @jlavss, @rev__rob, @dbreezyonthebeat, @fdb_5 and others for their creativity and photogenic eye for sneaker pictures).

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It has been a great ride collecting some of the rarest sneakers ever made, and I am very appreciative for the relationships I have made and the opportunities I have been given with respect to shoes. I think it is important to mention that there is this sort of underworld of a sneaker community, mostly made up of very creative people who share a love for sneakers, whether the newest release or some older pair of sneakers, perhaps highly limited as well. 

In this community you have some people, even people with very large followings, who bring a negative aspect to buying, selling and collecting sneakers—either through scamming, poor business practices, or telling people how or what they should do with their shoes.  For the most part, however, you have people sharing their love of sneakers, some making a successful business of doing what they love, and others collecting sneakers because the want to…my feeling has always been to those into sneakers, worry about yourself and do what you want with your sneakers, so long as you are legit and respectful.

How’s 2015 been for you? Any major highlights?

2015 was another great year for me in terms of my collection.  I was able to pick up a good number of special sneakers, mostly because of the materials and design that went into them, but also taking into consideration of the rarity of the shoes.  Made a lot more friends who share a love of sneakers, and hit the 50,000 follower mark on my Instagram, which was a big deal for me.

What song have you got on repeat at the moment?

I am playing a few of the songs over and over again from Kanye’s new album which I love.  FML, Father Stretch My Hands and Ultra Light Beams are a few of my favourites.

What fashion advice do you have for a man?

I think many of us into sneakers get an understanding of the latest fashion trends through our love for rap/hip hop as these two industries seem to go hand and hand.  People who know me will agree that except possibly for the sneakers I wear, I am not going to amaze anyone with my fashion.  I have learned that when I take pictures of my sneakers on feet, I should stay away from the jeans and sweat pants I wore growing up, and wear joggers or jeans that “stack” at the bottom.  I learned that lesson the hard way when I posted a rare picture of sneakers on my feet, and one of my “friends” felt the need to comment on my choice of pants.     

If you could give your younger self one piece of advice what would it be?

For the most part, if you work hard at or for something, more times than not you will succeed.

1 tip to grow your Instagram account

Try to develop relationships with others on IG who share your same passion, big or small, as you never know where someone will end up one day and those relationships might pay off.

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What’s the one thing you never want to see a guy wearing?

Crocs

Any major plans for 2016?

I plan to become more active in the buying and selling of sneakers, giving me an opportunity to get shoes I otherwise would not necessarily purchase.

What is your one guilty pleasure?

I have a few actually, but lately it is cars.  There are so many crazy and amazing cars, it’s hard to just find one.  Some cars I love for their speed, some for their design…but then are those cars that I am crazy about that have both amazing design and speed!

Who’s the most stylish man on the planet for you right now?

Johnny Depp.  On and off the screen, you often see Depp showing off his love for clothes, sunglasses, rings and other jewellery and other aspects of fashion. 

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