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'Sneakerheads are different': Sneaker Con saw $50,000,000 worth of kicks in Cleveland

You’ve heard of Comic-Con and Santa Con but what about Sneaker Con? On Saturday, March 16, the so-called “greatest sneaker show on Earth” took place at the Huntington Convention Center in Cleveland, Ohio. Created in 2009, Sneaker Con draws sneaker enthusiasts from around the world to buy, sell and trade rare and sought-out sneakers.

Basically, it’s sneakerhead heaven. About 300 vendors — ranging in age from 13 to 75 — displayed their best and brightest kicks at the event, about 100,000 pairs of sneakers valued at an astonishing $50,000,000. People traveled from as close as Cleveland and as far as China to attend the event.

Sneakerhead culture

Yahoo Finance also traveled to Sneaker Con Cleveland and caught up with the event’s co-founder, Alan Vinogradov, who spoke about the diversity within the sneakerhead community.

“Sneakerheads are different. You have your sneakerhead that's literally a hoarder. He will store and put his shoes away for months and years. He or she has stuff that you've never even seen before. Then you have your sneakerhead that's just out there to floss, a social media superstar doing everything he or she can to show of that they have the most amazing collection … But ultimately it really does come down to the culture which they all, when we do our events, they all kinda get together and embrace this whole thing.”

Sneakerheads are indeed different. Yahoo Finance caught up with a variety of different enthusiasts: Hayden Sharitt, a sneaker reseller (and CPA) from Virginia who attended the event on his 21st birthday, makes anywhere from $15,000 to $25,000 during the events; 17-year-old “TheLifeOfCashK,” who has more than 100,000 sneaker-fan subscribers on YouTube; and a 75-year-old man who goes by the name Sole Fire Pa who together with his grandson Isaiah run Sole Fire Sneakers, a pick-up and drop off sneaker cleaning service. (In November, 2018, the 75-year-old went viral on YouTube with a prank in which he tried to return his rare $12,000 version of the Nike Air Mags to various sneaker stores.)

Sole Fire Pa at Sneaker Con

The YouTubers of Sneakercon

Sneaker Con was also attended by some of the big players in the YouTube community: the likes of Unbreakable KicksFlight Academy KickzSniper Jones, and 18-year-old Blazenday, who has over 1.5 million subscribers. Every single YouTuber Yahoo Finance caught up with talked about the importance of sneaker culture and its impact on their lives.

As Flight Academy Kickz said, “It's a family, man. You look at all the wonderful people that come to it. There's so much stuff that goes on in the world, but when you look at the passion of sneaker[fans] and how it's brought so many of us together and closer, and we share that love. I love the sneaker community man. We don't really have drama like that. We can have good conversations about different sneakers. … We just one big family and some people we haven't even met yet, but we're family.”

Reggie Wade is a writer for Yahoo Finance. Follow him on Twitter at @ReggieWade

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