By Dylan Deprey
Whether it is paying for a candy bar or paying a parking ticket, the dollar holds significant value that is more then a piece of paper. While the shimmering blue line that runs along Benjamin Franklin’s face may signify a hundred dollars, what about a shimmering blue pair of Jordan 2 “Just Don Blue?”
The price tag shows $875, but to a sneakerhead, the pristine stitching and gold Nike emblem holds a monetary value all its own. To some it could mean trading in their entire shoe collection for this one pair.
For Trusted Kicks owner Rico Jones, it even has the opportunity to be a way to pay for a car.
Jones grew up trading his entire life. He went to Messmer High School where uniforms were required, and shoes were the only way to express his style. When it came for his mother to buy him another fresh pair of J’s for his freshman year of high school, she cut him off. It was at that point where Jones’ found his entrepreneurial spirit. As he stared at his pile of shoes sitting in his closet, he saw an opportunity to make some money for even more shoes.
While experiencing the true broke college kid experience during his time at Tennessee State University, he started selling his shoes on E-Bay. It only took 6 years of selling and trading his shoe collection online to transform into a storefront on Water Street. From Nike and Adidas to Supreme and BApe, Trusted Kicks is the Midwest’s hub for exclusive street wear and tennis shoes. Trusted Kicks is the only store in the Midwest that buys, sells and trades shoes and clothing.
“This is a place where shoes are a form of currency,” Jones said.
He partially credits the videogame store GameStop for his idea of trading shoes. When he was younger trading an old game or an outdated system for the newest game or system at GameStop was just second nature. Trading videogames ran parallel with the idea that somebody could trade two pairs of decently worn shoes for an exclusively released newer shoe.
“I would ask people to trade back in the day but they weren’t into it, but today they are,” Jones said.”
Trading is one of the primary ways to get some of the most exclusive street wear brands in the Midwest. The hype for brands like Jordan’s is ultimately generated by limited availability.
“There might be 40 pairs of one shoe released in all of Milwaukee but if you go to LA there will be 4,000 pairs,” Jones said.
Clothing brands like Supreme and BApe create even more hype because of the limited amount of clothing sold.
“Levi’s might make a style of jeans for 6o years, but Supreme will only make a shirt once. Jordan might make a shoe twice in a twelve year span, and this drives the hype,” Jones said.
The hype for product is skyrockets when brands like Supreme are only located in Los Angeles and New York.
With all the hype that surrounds shoe and clothing brands, those willing to risk the elements and wait in line for days on end are given a special name in the streetwear industry… these are the hypebeasts. Veteran Trusted Kicks employee Akeem Jacobs is a self-proclaimed hypebeast.
“If it was Saturday and Jordan’s were being released, I was there,” Jacobs said.
After years of collecting limited shoe releases, it started piling up. He linked up with Jones and started selling his shoes online. After Jones opened Trusted Kicks in 2015, two months later Jacobs quit his job and started working at Trusted Kicks.
While parents may not understand the hype behind there child’s clothing and sneaker choices, Jones said that parents have entered a new mindset on a new pair basketball shoes.
“Parents can look at the shoe like its an investment because once their kid gets done wearing it, they can bring it back,” Jones said. “They can’t do that at Footlocker.”