J’s On His Feet: Junior Brandon Kannady pursues passion for shoes

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Getting started

   “When I was 9 or 10 years old, my wallet got stolen [at Foot Locker] with around $400 in it. The manager promised me to make up for it by reserving any shoe I want for the rest of my life,” junior shoe-connoisseur Brandon Kannady said.

Kannady has been repping Michael Jordan’s line of Nike basketball shoes since the day he was born. Sixteen years later, his collection has grown upward of 50 pairs of limited edition sneakers.

“My first pair of shoes were Jordans. My older sibling had a collection, my cousin also had one. It’s a family thing, it’s been passed on,” Kannady said. “My real personal collection started when I was 7 or 8 years old.”

Kannady’s cousin, Jennifer Turner, also collects sneakers and admires Brandon’s amassment.

“One of the things that differentiates his collection from others is that he doesn’t buy every release; he really only buys the ones that speak to him or have a special meaning to him,” Turner said.

Kannady collects the sneakers because he grew up admiring Michael Jordan.

“I’m not a sneakerhead. I like to collect, I appreciate the story. I was raised on the story of watching and looking up to Michael Jordan. I would sit for days and watch Michael Jordan clips. I fell in love with him. You really have to understand Michael Jordan to appreciate the shoe for what it is,” Kannady said.

“The 11s are the most sought out Jordan shoe and one of the more valuable in my collection. People camped out for days to get these shoes,” Kannady said.
“The 11s are the most sought out Jordan shoe and one of the more valuable in my collection. People camped out for days to get these shoes,” Kannady said.

Buying and maintaining

Since Kannady was 8 years old, he estimates that he has spent thousands of dollars on shoes. His collection is composed of rare limited-edition shoes.

“An average pair of shoes is in the range of $160-$170. In total, I think I’ve spent $5,000-$6,000 in my lifetime. I probably buy about 10 to 15 pairs a year and spend upward of $1,500,” Kannady said.

Shoes are Kannady’s only request from his parents when it comes holiday season or his birthday. Half of his pairs have been bought with his own money while the other pairs have come as gifts.

“I’ve been really smart about when I choose to get shoes. I’ve been lucky that the shoes I want come out around my birthday or Christmas. That’s all I ask for,” Kannady said.

His large sneaker collection requires a lot of maintenance.

“I wash the bottoms. I use toothpicks; clean out the mud and everything just to make sure that they look good,” Kannady said. “I definitely get them to wear them, but I take care of the shoes over time. I clean the shoes every time I wear them.”

Future of the collection

With the assistance of Kannady’s father and cousin, his collection has flourished and become one of the best sneaker collections in the area.

“My dad is the one who has gotten me most of the pairs. He’s the one that got me started with this hobby,” Kannady said. “My cousin Jennifer is like my biggest sister. We text every single day about shoes and talk about which pair we are going to get next.”

Other sneaker connoisseurs truly admire Kannady’s hobby.

“Brandon Kannady is my sneakerhead God,” freshman Nivek Graham said. “The best part of my day is when I get to look down and see his Jordans.”

Kannady plans to collect more shoes and someday get his own children involved in the hobby, just like his dad did with him.

“I really get what I want, not just to buy it. I have a bucket list of shoes I want before I’m 30. I’m trying to reach that, and my goal is to keep collecting and maybe start preserving some of them for my kids,” Kannady said. “I’d like to pass it on to other generations sort of how it’s been with me. My dad wears Jordans. My cousin wears Jordans and so does my little brother. I’d like to pass it on and keep it going.”

For students pursuing their own collection, Kannady urges them to stick to the original sneakers.

“My advice to younger collectors is not to buy fakes,” Kannady said.

– Jake Goldman