Simba Jemwa, Showbiz Reporter
KICKS were sold, dopes were had and good music kept people on their feet.
At least 500 people were identified as sneakerheads when they turned up for the second edition of the Bulawayo Sneaker Expo that was held at The Barn on Saturday.
These were people who talk or think about sneakers and sneaker culture on a daily basis. Their experience, up until this past weekend, was much different than that of a lot of people who love kicks but have never had an opportunity to come up close and personal with some of the world’s biggest brands.
In fact, most of them had never been to any form of a sneaker expo.
This year’s Bulawayo Sneaker Expo was a temporary home to many that did not have anything to do on Saturday and wanted an excuse to hang out with friends and family.
There were legions of pimply-faced, 15-year-old sneakerheads in bright socks and cargo shorts, ready to sell whatever Foamposite, Air Jordan, or boutique collaboration released in the past few months.
Also in attendance were older, more mature lovers of a good pair of kicks!
Even so, as they walked up to the event, they were taken aback. There was a line of what seemed like hundreds of sneakerheads holding boxes and loose sneakers, waiting in the heat to lose themselves amongst the vendors and the spectacle inside.
Everything they had assumed about sneaker events was unfolding in front of them. Moms and dads had brought their kids with the hope that they would score a pair of Yeezys or sell their retro Jordans.
There was no way they were going to wait for a few hours in line, and fortunately, they did not have to.
Once inside they realised they were in for an eventful afternoon.
There were legions of people holding sneakers they were trying to unload, and it looked far, far different from my personal vision of what sneaker culture was. To neutrals, this may have seemed absurd.
Chronicle Showbiz spoke to a couple which had driven down to Bulawayo from Harare to purchase a pair of size 9 “Jordan 1s”.
Who in their right mind would do this, one may ask? But the answer is simple – anyone who loves and appreciates a good pair of kicks!
But as everyone got into the heart of the Sneaker Expo, they saw familiar faces and found their bearings, even if there were endless tables that seemed to sell the same shoes.
Vendor after vendor, they saw sneakers that the whole world thought were limited. But they were all there. There were rows and rows of almost every Air Jordan you would ever want, along with ASICS, Flyknits, New Balances, and, of course, Yeezys.
The organisers were over the moon.
The barrier-breaking duo of Mlamuli Moyo of Woodies Shack and Mthulisi Moyo of Wood Affair said: “We’re really excited at the numbers that came through today (Saturday). This year was bigger than last year’s edition.
“We’re grateful to Bulawayo for supporting this event. We’re also grateful to everyone who travelled from out town to be with us.” [email protected]