Sneaker collecting: students, staff find ways to show off their creative ‘soles’

(Photo by: Ciel Peacock.)
English teacher Todd Phillips displays some of his favorite
shoes from his collection.

From cowboy boots to sandals, the opportunities for shoes are endless. Yet for some students and staff at the high school, it’s their sneaker collections that puts their best foot forward.

Sophomore Drake Grossman said he began his collection about three years ago, and that the first shoe to spark his interest were the Nike Syracuses.

He added that he then started to buy and sell shoes, which is what really began his collection.

“I’ll buy shoes online and try to find really good deals, and then I’ll go back, sell them online and try to make a little profit,” Grossman explained.

English teacher Todd Phillips said his collection began during the COVID-19 pandemic. Phillips explained that before the pandemic, he always taught in dressier clothing and shoes.

“With COVID-19, it relaxed everybody,” he added. “Not just me, and not just here in Bexley, you look around and people in the workforce are not dressing quite as formal as they used to.”

Phillips explained that he saw a new trend where news anchors were wearing suits with athletic shoes.

“I started to do that, and then began to buy more and more shoes,” he said. “So probably within the last two or three years I’ve purchased a good number of the ones I currently have.”

Freshman Emma Schiff said she began her interest in sneakers in 2021.

“It started with Golden Gooses,” she explained. “I used to buy them because my mom likes them, but I eventually grew out of them and started buying more Nikes.”

Schiff said she now has around 15 pairs and enjoys collecting New Balances, Reeboks and vintage shoes in general. She added that she likes buying sneakers because they are what complete an outfit.

“You can make a whole outfit based on one pair of shoes, and they can say a lot about a person,” she said.

Phillips explained that he has around 35 pairs of sneakers and tends to collect Nikes, New Balances and Allbirds. He added that he enjoys buying sneakers online and waiting for them to arrive.

“You get the package at the house and it’s exciting,” Phillips said. “I hate to admit that’s part of the lure, but it is.”

He said with his day to day style, choosing sneakers is a more fun, comfortable and easy option.

“Nike allows you to design a shoe for like a hundred bucks, and so I’ve done that a couple times and that’s been fun,” Phillips said.

Grossman said he has around 30 pairs of shoes and likes collecting mainly athletic shoes, such as Nike Jordans and Nike Dunks.

He added that he prefers buying sneakers off of GOAT website or the Nike app.

“They are both super easy to use and buy from,” he said. “Both of them do weekly or daily drops so they always have new versions.”

Grossman said his favorite pair of sneakers are the Nike Jordan 1 Retro Highs.

“I really like the color ways they put out, and how many different versions of the shoe there are,” he added.

Schiff said her favorite pair she owns is her Nike Dunks, but tends to wear her Reeboks most often.

“They are super easy to style and are very comfortable,” she explained.

Phillips said of his sneakers, his favorite pair are Nike Air Force 1s that he designed.

“They are black with a yellowish rubber sole, and I have my initials stitched into the back,” he added. “It’s very egocentric I know, but those are my favorite ones.”

Grossman said that his most expensive pair he owns are his Nike Dunk Low Off-White University Reds, but wears his Nike Air Force 1s most often.

He added that for the most part he tries to rotate out a majority of his shoes, but has a couple he does not wear as often.

“I have to be careful with some of them,” he explained. “Some shoes tend to crease easier which takes down the price of them and just has a worse look.”

Grossman said he would consider his collection a hobby more than anything else.

“Even though I do buy and sell my shoes, the business is more of a way to support the hobby of it,” he added.

Phillips explained that while his collection might add up to a lot of money, he rarely spends more than $100 on a shoe by purchasing online.

“I wouldn’t consider it a collection, but my wife would definitely call it that,” he added.

Avatar photo
Ciel Peacock
Chelsea Wasserstrom is a senior at Bexley High School and is a News Editor for The Torch. Aside from The Torch, she participates in various clubs.