The Psychology of “Sneakerheads”


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“Sneakerheads” have rows of unique and limited edition shoes. They love to have a mix of flashy and more casual sneakers.

From Air Jordans to Vans, there are many sneakers that control fashion all around the world. 

Air Jordans have made billions of dollars selling sneakers. Some of these sneakers are limited edition, bringing interest to many collectors. 

Maddox Aceves, a senior and a varsity basketball player, is interested in many sneakers due to the boost of self-confidence it provides.

“When you wear a shoe or when you get a new shoe off a website and you wear [it] to school you feel confident in yourself,” Aceves said. “I’d say I just like the thrill of collecting the shoes.”

Michael Jordan is ready to shoot a three-pointer while wearing his classic Air Jordans. During Jordan’s early days in the NBA, the Air Jordan brand was developed and became a large icon. (Photo From )

Especially shoes which are limited edition or unique compared to a number of others are largely valued by “sneakerheads.” The excitement and desire to obtain this confidence makes “sneakerheads,” such as Eitan Levison, want the newest or best sneakers.

“I really find that [I’m] semi addicted to buying them,” Levison said.

Basketball players and fans love to use these shoes to show off on the court and off the court.

Jarrett Jack, a former NBA player and current assistant coach of the Phoenix Sun, has thousands of sneakers in his collection.

“I own about 400-500 pairs of sneakers,” Jack said. “I have a problem. Some dudes like jewelry, some dudes like cars, some dudes like whatever. I like sneakers.”

Some make collecting sneakers a life mission while others just use it to play basketball. Yet, with the support of “sneakerheads,” basketball players and many others, sneakers have fueled culture in a new direction; some hope to use shoes to create their own individual impact. 

“I’d say it’s really important because everyone’s trying to get the new things and trying to start trends and find trends,” Levison said.

Trends in the sneaker world have become prominent in western culture as seen through flashy and contrasting colors and designs. 

Celebrities have created their own brand or shoe deals with existing brands including Air Jordan, Nike and Adidas such as Kanye West’s Yeezys. 

“Now it’s become like the younger generation…like Travis Scott and all these…younger artists,” Aceves said. ”It kind of shifted to more of a younger culture [rather] than an older culture.”

A Ma Maniere x Air Jordan 3 is a popular shoe for “sneakerheads” and their collection. The impact of Air Jordans has extended to many different styles and designs that many enjoy. (Photo From

Sneakers were originally made for basketball and non-fashionable uses. Yet, over time, society embraced its design and uniqueness. 

This started with the creation of the Air Jordan brand, the first-ever basketball player shoe band. Ultimately, other basketball players including Lebron and Steph Curry along with artists and celebrities adopted this trend.

“[Michael Jordan’s] sneakers had…kind of broke the line between basketball [and] streetwear because now tons of kids that don’t play basketball are wearing that,” Levison said. “And [now] it’s just style, not functionality.” 

The innovative style and culture created by sneaker brands unlocked a new generation of fashion and tradition while letting go of its original purpose as only basketball shoes. The impact of sneakers has spread to many different cultures and peoples. Yet, all “sneakerheads” want the same thing.

“I just bought a couple pairs and I was like shoot, I want more, I want more,” Levison said.