On Sat. March 22, the first Sneaker Exchange organized by Club Éxito/Success Club and hosted by sophomore Berto Ansani, was held at Evanston Township High School 1600 Dodge Avenue. A variety of vendors participated so that students, parents and community members could come, buy, sell or trade sneakers. Visitors wandered to the colorful booths which displayed rare and exclusive shoes as well as artistically designed sneakers. The selection was enormous and the styles ran the gamut for every connoisseur of sneakers.

Getting your Evanston news from Facebook? Try the Evanston RoundTable’s free daily and weekend email newsletters – sign up now!

Sept. 15, 1985. Michael Jordan’s first model of basketball shoes, known as the Air Jordan 1’s, had been officially banned from the NBA. Later that year, the Air Jordan 1 hit retailers as Nike’s first collaboration with Michael Jordan. Jordan and Nike fans went insane. These were the shoes that everyone wanted to have. They would see Michael Jordan’s famous dunks and see his signature sneakers on shelves and think “These are what Michael wore, they made him fly!” That is how the craze for sneakers started. There were only 2 big names in sneakers back then, Nike and Adidas, and since people saw players in the NBA wearing them, everyone wanted as many pairs as they could grab.

Fast forward 29 years, it’s now 2014, and Michael Jordan is seen as the greatest basketball player of all time. His shoes are still something coveted by fans of his and because Nike has “Retro’d” them they are now more available and easier to get. The people crazy about these Retros fall under the category “Sneaker Head”. A Sneaker Head can be summed up simply as someone who loves collecting sneakers. Since 1985, when Michael Jordan’s first shoes released, the movement has been constantly expanding.

Nike has new releases almost every Saturday that have Michael Jordan’s name on them and people are constantly trying to get their hands on them. The trade doesn’t end however once retailers sell out. Some Sneaker Heads buy them with the sole purpose of flipping them for profit. People will literally pay crazy amounts to get their hands on these shoes.

People started organizing safe havens for all Sneaker Heads to buy, sell, and trade their shoes. These are called Sneaker Conventions. Club Éxito/Success Club and Evanston High School partnered up to host Evanston’s first ever “Sneaker Exchange”. Sneaker Heads from near and far came by to give the event attention. Some people came from as far as Milwaukee, Wisconsin! The event was started as a kernel of an idea, and was formed into something that over 200 people were able to experience and enjoy. It took dedication and hard work to pull off the event and in the end success was the only way the event could have been labeled. The sneaker “revolution” is something that is sweeping the nation and is constantly expanding, and Evanston was officially made a part of it on March 22, 2014.