Meet The Collectors Who Treat Sneakers Like Stocks

The documentary's director David Friendly discusses how sneakers became a billion-dollar industry.

Michael Jordan's now-iconic Air Jordans made a splash back in 1984, when the red and black shoe was banned by NBA Commissioner David Stern, sending the hype over the sneaker into overdrive. Air Jordan has since evolved into a successful brand with dozens of styles and has helped fuel the consumer craze over sneakers beyond just utility.

Decades after Air Jordans hit the market, sneakerhead culture is thriving, as demonstrated in David Friendly's documentary "Sneakerheadz." The film dives into the world of sneakers and profiles the people who can't get enough of them.  

"Sneakerheads go beyond just buying the shoes. They get into who designed it, where's the distribution, how many quantities were made, resell value -- they care about all these things. It's like trading stocks for some of these guys," Staple Design founder Jeff Staple, who is profiled in the film, told host Marc Lamont Hill.  

This sneaker "addiction" has spawned an entire community, and its members can detect inauthenticity from a mile away, Friendly explained. 

"I saw passionate people that knew their sh-t, that know every brand, they know the designers. And it's pretty easy to discern pretty quickly if somebody really knows what they're talking about or [if] they're fronting," Friendly said.  

So what's the endgame for the shoe connoisseurs who feed the billion-dollar sneakerhead industry? According to Staple, it's all about bridging style and exclusivity -- and ultimately rocking the freshest kicks

"You gotta break necks! That's the point! I walk down the street and I want to see necks dropping," Staple said.

Watch the full HuffPost Live interview with the director of "Sneakerheadz" here.

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