Air Max Day—formerly known as March 26—is finally upon us, and Nike's continuing to roll out interviews and retrospectives to flesh out their celebration of the iconic shoe. As part of the push they're uncovering sneakerheads in unexpected places, the most recent being New York Giants wide receiver Odell Beckham Jr. Growing up in New Orleans, Beckham developed an infatuation with sneaker culture that's stuck with him to this day. "I've been a sneakerhead since my feet could fit into some shoes," as he puts it. At his home in Las Vegas, Beckham gives a tour of his 200+ sneaker collection, which he says includes 25 pairs of Air Max's. Read our favorite excerpts from his interview, below, and then catch the rest on Nike News later today.
Was there a certain shoe that started your appreciation of sneakers? I think it was the Jordan collection that really started it for me. My dad was trying to get me every Jordan that came out, and I think from then on, it kind of built. It grew into Nike running shoes, Air Max, the 95s. I had a lot of those when I was young. It just kept evolving and it's still evolving today.
How would you define sneaker culture in the U.S.? It's something great to be a part of, just because it's something that I love personally. So when you talk with other guys and you sit around, you're just talking about shoes, what shoes you have, what shoes you don't have. It's just a way to bond. You see somebody dressed up, they're swagged out. They're fly. And then you look at their feet, and they've got some fly shoes on. You like to dress like that, so you automatically have a connection. I also think that it's such a beautiful way of expressing yourself, through shoes. And I think that's why it allows people to easily connect with one another.
What are some of the other trends you're witnessing in sneakers that are interesting to you? I'm definitely noticing a lot of high-tops, but not a very hard high-top. It's like the soft mesh, a lot with the Nikes and the Kobes. It's a lot more high-top shoes, and I'm not really big on high-top shoes, but I'm definitely liking the idea and venturing out and trying something new. So I can understand it.
All images courtesy Nike