words // Zack Schlemmer

As sneaker collectors, we’ve all paid way too much for at least a few pairs of the shoes in our collections.  On the bright side, we also all probably have stories of kicks that we’ve acquired on the low.  A bargain, a steal, a come-up; whatever you want to call it, we all like to brag about that one pair of kicks we got for an unbelievable price. This week, each member of the Sole Collector staff will share a favorite story of our biggest sneaker steal. I’ll begin with my story of how I bagged a pair of the 1999 Air Jordan 4 Retro for only a hundred bucks.

The year was 2011, and I was working at Niketown in San Francisco. One random day, a customer comes in and as he’s looking at shoes we start talking. It turns out that he has a few older pairs of Jordans that he might be willing to part with, and he also happens to wear my size. Obviously, this fact piques my interest! I give him my e-mail address, and a couple of days later he sends me a message with all the shoes he wants to sell, along with a couple pictures of each. Among them was a lightly worn pair of the white/cement Air Jordan 4 Retro from 1999. Of course, I ask how much he wants for those. He replies that they don’t really fit him anymore, so—with the agreement that I’ll help him grab a couple pairs of hoops shoes with my employee discount—he’ll let them go for $100. It’s on!  We plan a meet-up at a BART station a few days later, and I come away with my “Nike Air” adorned 4’s for a cool hundred.

James, if you’re out there somewhere reading this, thanks!