Local sneakerheads share their love for shoes at SneakFest

Published: Nov. 13, 2022 at 6:06 PM CST
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MEMPHIS, Tenn. (WMC) - Thousands upon thousands of sneakers under one roof — a footwear lover’s dream, right in the heart of the city.

On Saturday, Action News 5 Photojournalist Daren Baldwin took a walk through SneakFest at the FedExForum, an annual sneaker convention where enthusiasts can buy, sell, and express their love for foot fashion.

Since 2013, vendors from around the U.S. have come to the Bluff City to sell sneakers, clothing, accessories, and much more at the SneakFest Sneaker Expo.

The convention’s co-founders explained what made them decide to bring the footwear festival to Memphis in the first place.

“We just had a love for sneakers, and we wanted to do something for the City of Memphis and the surrounding area,” said co-founder Sherman Harper Jr. “People just love the shoes, the fashion, the culture.”

“You know, Memphis has a huge sneaker culture that’s not spoken on,” said co-founder Adam Ghueder. “We’re kinda bringing that out.”

This year, SneakFest added a bit more Bluff City flavor by partnering with the Memphis Grizzlies. Premium tickets included a Grizzlies game ticket for the Nov. 11 match against the Minnesota Timberwolves.

“Sneakers bring people together, just like sports,” Ghueder said. “You know, you buy a pair of shoes, people smiling from ear to ear, like, it’s really amazing.”

Whether you’re a sneaker enthusiast or not, it’s undeniable that shoes play a key role in personal expression.

“It brings out your personality. It’s the last thing you put on before you leave the house,” said co-founder Jerry Khammabong.

But for many urban fashion connoisseurs, footwear is more than just an out-the-door decision.

“I would always say a sneaker is what makes a person,” said Chima Onwuka, the owner of this year’s sponsor, Grind City Kicks. “Because the first thing you do after you look at somebody’s face is look at their shoes.”

Sneakerhead or not, coming home with a new pair of kicks is enough to make anyone feel good.

“We just see people from all walks, just building relationships, building friendships,” Khammabong said.

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