Sneaker Culture hits the Vancouver Convention Centre

Sole Exchange 2017: Vancouver Convention Center

Sneakers, jackets, snapbacks and everything in urban fashion was on display this weekend at the Vancouver Convention Center where the ‘Ultimate Sneaker Show’ hosted by Sole Exchange Canada stopped by as part of their Canada 150 tour. As expected, the Vancouver sneaker scene was alive and well and excited as ever.

Photography: Casandra Parto

For the second straight year The Sole Exchange has organized the ultimate sneaker head meet up for the local hoop and fashion community down at the Vancouver Convention Center. 

Like any conference, this sneaker show was a great opportunity to network and engage with other locals with similar interests within shoe culture. However unlike other meetups, this conference brought out an incredibly diverse crowd from all over the lower mainland all coming together over one thing, kicks. 

Vendors who set up booths offered a wide variety of sales and services, from shoe cleaners and solvents like “Clean Your Sole” and “Sneaker Sauce”, to custom design artists like “Zeevy Customs”, to your typical retail stores and all the way down to the kids from the block trying to hustle or trade whatever it is that they have sitting in the their closet. 

Looking down the line-up right before the doors opened, you quickly grasped just how diverse the community really is. From the young and the old, the hoopers and fashionistas, both boys and girls, and truly all creeds and colours waiting for their chance to get their hands on the collectables and relics behind those doors. 

“One man’s trash is another man’s treasure”, and such holds true for style, fashion and sneakers. Exhibit A: Champion. Whose brand awareness and ‘street cred’ went from being a NBA partner -- to being an out of style token item -- to the hottest trend out - with the rise of Supreme and the hypebeast movement. 

Exhibit B: Air Jordans. Jordan’s are an interesting topic in 2017 since the new consumer based never had the chance to watch his airness play, but still appreciate the performance side of the recent models like the XXX’s and XXXI’s. This past weekend this new breed of sneakerheads got the chance to both fully appreciate and trade for any and all retro models while getting up on their history at the same time. 

Buying, selling and trading in a face to face environment like this one can bring back a style or kill one, all while at the same time provide a platform for local business to generate buzz and continue to grow their grassroots movements. Which is the exact magic of the Ultimate Sneaker Show, or any instance where you create an environment to foster a culture by putting that many like minded people together. Local basketball volunteer and former Nike Brand Director, Mark Starkey, shares the importance of that connection, "These events are critical to maintaining and nourishing sport and fashion culture around the world. You meet new people in your city that share the love for footwear, we connect creative minds and get your hands on product you might not otherwise obtain. Vancouver, in particular, has an incredible community around sport and sneakers...and this event is a driving force for footwear fans in Western Canada."

Relics were found, money was made and friendships were forged. A huge thank you to the Vancouver Convention Center and Sole Exchange Canada for such a great event 

If you missed the show this weekend, there is always next year when the convention returns to Vancouver. Exact dates have not been released, but stay tuned to Vancouver Basketball for updates on the next Sole Exchange Canada Sneaker Show! 

Photography sponsored by @Victory // Lead Photographer: Casandra Parto @CasParto