Sneaker Con kicked-off its first-ever introduction to the Chinese footwear community this past weekend, and with the exhibition came some of the country’s most celebrated sneakerheads. Choosing Shanghai as the stage for the gathering, the event was an opportunity for local brands like ANTA, Xtep, PEAK, CBA and 361˚to showcase its new developments to international attendees, and was also the place for individuals to showoff their rarest kicks, and potentially make a profit from resale. AAPE saw one of the larger booths next to Mitchell and Ness and CBA (Chinese Basketball Association) as they used their booth to highlight a newly-launched footwear line which saw the AAPE+ Awakening EX and the AAPE+ Potential SS; there was also a teasing for AAPE’s upcoming retro-runner, the Dimension.
The entire event was housed under three main buildings, one main exhibition hall with a full-sized basketball court, followed by another for more exhibitors, and lastly one hall dedicated to sneaker trading and customisation — this “trading pit” witnessed the most action. Compared to the other multinational fashion/footwear-oriented conventions cropping up in Shanghai (thanks to an explosion of wealth in the past decade, not to mention a vastly-growing middle-class) this introductory Sneaker Con saw less sneakers in the luxury category — think the Balenciaga Triple S or Gucci Ryton — and was more connected to one of the biggest original catalysts for most sneaker collectors — basketball. The AJ1 was by far the most prevalent silhouette spotted on the floor, followed by the YEEZY BOOST 350 V2 and Virgil Off-White™ x Nike “The Ten.”
While it was impressive to see the amount of people that secured a pair “Cactus Jack” AJ1 and sacai x Nike LDWaffle, it was the sneaker customizers that stood out. Reminiscent to my glory years of sneaker collecting, the amount of artists putting their own touches on Nike canvases was a blast from the past. I guess with such a high population in China, getting the hottest shoe is not enough because chances are you’ll be running into several people with your exact same pair, and that’s where the sneaker customizers come in. Upon seeing the number of booths dedicated to the art of sneaker customizing, I was immediately taken back to the early days when names like Diversitile, Methamphibian and SBTG were making a name for themselves on the internet with thematic sneakers with mind-blowing paint jobs and construction.
Have a scroll above to catch what Shanghai’s sneakerheads had to offer, and check out some of the those crazy customs mentioned earlier; our favorites were the Pornhub AF-1 Low, Readymade-looking AF-1 High, Timberland AJ1, and Python Shark Hoodie AJ1.
For more news on sneakers, the Shoe Surgeon’s latest custom is an ode to Travis Scott’s “Cactus Jack” AJ1.