Hi Charlie! Thank you for taking the time to chat with us.
Please tell us a little bit about yourself?
My name’s Charlie, I’m 26, I’m from the idyllic town of Ipswich, England. My interests outside of collecting trainers and selling them on Air Max Market include supporting a below-average football team, looking at cars that I can’t afford, attempting and mostly failing to run long distances and drinking too much beer in different countries.
When did you first get into sneaker collecting?
I’d be lying to you if I said I’ve been a sneakerhead since school, but I always had an interest in them back then. It’s obviously an expensive habit so it didn’t really start until I began working and earning a half-decent wage. I’d say around 2014 I started properly and it pretty much took off from there. I used to think that the pairs you see on the high street (JD, Footlocker etc) were the only pairs you could get. When I started finding out about quickstrike, limited releases and collabs etc, I was hooked.
How long have you been collecting Air Max?
Pretty much as above. I class myself as a sneakerhead, but my interest and knowledge of trainers don’t really go beyond Air Max. I’ve got a basic knowledge of other Nike lines and other brands and do own a handful, but I’d say 95% of pairs I’ve ever owned have been Air Max.
What about the Air Max line is special to you?
Being from England, no other line of trainers has come close to Air Max in terms of its history, popularity and culture. Not many sneaker ranges have been so prevalent consistently for 30+ years and that speaks volumes for how timeless the Air Max is. When a 50-year-old dad and his son are both wearing 95’s without anyone batting an eyelid then you know you’ve made a classic.
What is your favourite Air Max model?
That’s easy, 98’s. They’ve pretty much been the focus of my collecting over the years and the model that I own most of.
What makes a pair of Air Max special to you?
A range of things, but I think mainly its the hunt. There’s nothing more satisfying than searching for an old pair for months, sometimes years, then you pick your phone up one day for a quick passing look on some marketplaces and the pair you’ve been hunting down like a madman crops up out of nowhere. Pairs that you copped with a story behind them is cool too.
I once bagged a pair of unreleased 98 samples (the desert camo ones), you could probably count on one hand how many pairs exist in the world and my pair is the only pair I’ve ever known to actually exist. I found them one day when I was bored and literally searched “#airmax98” on Instagram. Turns out the most random Ukrainian page going somehow got their hands on these and were selling them.
PayPal doesn’t work in Ukraine so I had to pay with the dodgiest overseas bank transfer app. I was fully prepared to take the L and not see that money again. But a week later the sneakers turned up at my door and I still can’t believe I got them to this day.
Knowing the right people is important, but I think some people are under the impression that my plug is a secret agent that’s inside Nike’s upper echelons. The reality is I’ve just had some mad luck in the past and been in the right place at the right time.
How many pairs of Air Max do you think you own?
I haven’t counted for a while but it’s around the 90-100 mark. Which probably isn’t as big as some would expect but I like to keep it as manageable as I can. I hate not wearing pairs (except for the old OG unwearables). I’m not one of these people that buys a pair and waits for the right time to UNDS them, I’ll literally make up a reason to leave the house just to give them a spin as soon as they’re in hand.
I very rarely sell pairs from my own collection but if I have a pair which I have no connection with and never wear then I don’t have a problem selling it. I mean everyone’s been guilty of copping a pair of shoes for the sake of it before. If I have a month of buying five or six pairs I’ll usually let one or two go.
What’s one Air Max model or colourway that you’d like to see a retro of?
Good question, the recent rumours of the DQM Bacon Air Max 90 have got me excited. I’ve got the OG and they’re one of my favourite pairs and if Nike executed it then that could be a shoe of the year contender. There’s a lot of older models I’d like to see come back BUT on a low key basis. Models like the TL2.5, TN7, and a proper 360 wouldn’t go a miss. The recent TN3 retro has been a step in the right direction in my opinion. The accuracy to the OG was pretty spot on and we haven’t seen a tonne of releases (yet) so they’ve stayed relatively under the radar as far as the masses are concerned.
This is going to be hard but if you had to pick a top three, what would they be?
That is tough. Number 1 is pretty easy though, it’s my JD exclusive 98’s from 2001. I only picked them up last year after searching for more than 4 years. They popped up in my perfect size and in mint condition, just in need of a sole swap which is now done so they’re regularly in the rotation.
In second would probably be my Parra Running Man 95’s. That signature Piet Parra colour palette on a blocked upper and a black midsole shouldn’t work, but it’s probably my favourite Air Max colourway ever.
The third is tough but I’d probably go with a massive cliche and say the Wotherspoons. Way too often hyped up pairs get more credit than they deserve for having a name attached to them or being limited. Hype aside, the Wotherspoons are up there with the best looking shoes to release in recent years and were instant classics when they dropped.
What have been some of the hardest pairs for you to track down?
I touched on it above but definitely the JD 98’s. I got into 98’s in 2015 and JD’s have always been regarded as one of the hardest pairs to find. I’ve literally only ever seen a handful crop up over the years and that’s across the whole size run. When the first pair I ever saw in my size came up last year I jumped on it.
What are some pairs that you are still on the hunt for?
There’s a few! But off the top of my head: Varsity Royal 98’s, Forrest Green 98’s, two or three TL2.5 colourways, Tier Zero 360 Powerwall, Red 360 Powerwall, Olive Powerwall 97, White Powerwall 97, TN7’s, 98 Modular. The list goes on!
What is on your feet right now?
Clarks Wallabees…didn’t see that one coming did ya?
What does Air Max mean to you?
The History, the chase, the rarity, the comfort, the community, the release days, the culture, the Swoosh, the unboxing, the collabs, the innovation etc.
No problem it’s been fun!