How to Start a Shoe Collection


Whether you’re a sneakerhead or looking to collect a few pairs of classic kicks, click here to explore how to start a shoe collection.

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You might love your favorite pair of sneakers, but we’re willing to bet that the rapper Drake loves his more. The Canadian star recently spent over $2 million on a pair of solid gold Jordan shoes that weigh more than 200 pounds! While you probably won’t be able to acquire Drake’s custom kicks, you can still start and maintain an impressive shoe collection of your own, with or without a net worth in the millions.

Do you know how to start curating a sneaker collection on a budget?

Collecting sneakers is part hobby and part lifestyle, but you don’t need to make too many changes to get started. With a bit of knowledge, research, and a bit of cash, you can make your dream a reality. With a little forethought and patience, you’ll be rocking a pair a day in no time!

Read on to learn our best tips and tricks for collecting classic shoes, nabbing new sneaker releases, and more.

Start Small and Simple

You’re dreaming big, and you want the first pair you add to your collection to be something really special. Before you stay up all night for a limited release, consider focusing on the classics. Instead of the rarest, brightest pairs available, choose something versatile that goes with your existing wardrobe.

Classic styles, like white Air Force Ones, are less expensive and will see daily wear. You can dress them up or down and never look out of place. Focus on good shoe care, and you’ll look great as you save up for more ambitious pairs from KicksCrew or another retailer.

Know Your Silhouettes

You might feel tempted to go for all the “must-have” shoes on the market, but always follow your heart before you chase the trends. You can narrow down the scope of your collection by understanding which sneaker silhouettes you prefer.

Examples of common sneaker silhouettes include:

  • High tops
  • Low tops
  • Running shoes
  • Basic shoes
  • Basketball shoes

Many brands have their own unique silhouettes, too, such as Vans Era, Adidas Superstar, or Air Force 1s. Not every shape looks or feels great on every foot. Knowing your preferred silhouette can ensure you build a collection you’ll actually wear.

Take Time to Research

Any hobby worth starting takes effort. A collection requires a commitment of time, money, and energy. In the case of sneaker collecting, we advise that you put time aside for research, even once you have a few pairs in rotation.

There are many apps available that can help you track release dates. If you’re more old school, visit your favorite local boutique and chat with the salespeople. Let them know you’re starting a collection and pick their brain about shipment dates, releases, drops, and more.

Relationships are an unspoken necessity for any collection-based hobby, so build connections where you can. Online communities such as forums, subreddits, and discord servers are indispensable community-building resources. Find your tribe, contribute what you can, and reap the benefits.

Be Sure to Budget

New collectors can often get carried away as their new hobby consumes their life. You might want to strike every time you get a new eBay alert or each time a new limited pair drops. By the end of your first month, you’ll have a pile of sneakers and a deep pit of debt.

Instead, be realistic about how much you have to spend on kicks and prioritize. Even rare pairs get around, and the shoes you can’t afford this month might be in the budget in a few weeks. Keep track of your “must-haves” and “nice-to-haves,” and ground yourself in realism.

Don’t Sleep on Sneaker Outlets

Sneaker outlets can be hit or miss, so don’t give up if your first visit is a flop. Occasionally, you’ll find an unexpected gem at a rock-bottom price. Nearly every major sneaker brand has an outlet store, so visit them all on rotation and open yourself up to the possibility that you’re about to discover your new favorite pair.

Take Care of Your Kicks

The key to a great collection is to acquire kicks you’ll wear (which is why you probably don’t need those 200-pound Air Jordans). Sneakers are higher quality than everyday athletic shoes, which many collectors call “trainers.” Many pairs will increase in value over time, but only if you care for them.

The first step is to understand what material they’re made of and look up the specific care instructions. Leather shoes need very different treatment than suede. Likewise, the upper and sole of each sneaker might require different cleaning solutions and tools.

Ideally, you’ll remove any scuffs as soon as they appear to prevent them from setting in and decreasing the value of your shoes.

Next, consider storage solutions. Many collectors invest in display units and shoe horns. Avoid storing your collection in moist spaces like garages, which can lead to mold or cracking.

Remember, shoes sell for more in their original boxes, so consider keeping them on hand to increase your investment and make more down the line.

Build Your Shoe Collection From the Ground Up

When you picture a shoe collection, you might imagine a walk-in closet straight from the show Cribs, featuring an entire wall full of all types of sneakers. In reality, the average shoe collection begins with a single box, then grows into two or three. Remember that shoes gain value over time, so start small and prepare to watch your collection multiply as you get into selling and trading your most valuable pairs.

Once you become a collector, fashion becomes a serious business. Luckily, we’re always up on the latest fashion news. Browse the rest of the blog for posts that can help you look your best as you expand your fashion empire.

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