The Mayor of Sneakerdom

A cautionary tale laced with obsession

A few days before a big shoe release, he pulls into his driveway in the white SUV, the floor of the car full of designs on paper for 12 multicolored bespoke sneakers he has ordered at $820 a pair.

In the kitchen, his girlfriend is helping her middle-school-aged son with his homework. The Mayor goes to the basement to check on his collection. Sitting on a top shelf are a pair of Live High "For the Love of Money" Air Force 1s, which were designed for the Lance Armstrong Foundation by the graffiti artist Futura. On the day of the release, he would drive from New Jersey to House of Hoops, a store on 125th Street, to smirk at the kids waiting in line. "I'm going to put these on and cause a frenzy in the city all day," he says. He's already preparing himself to be frustrated by the teenage capitalists he will encounter at the door: "I say, Take that entrepreneurial passion and go put it toward something else."

Farese is an unusual collector: He actually wears his shoes.
Gray Hamner
Farese is an unusual collector: He actually wears his shoes.
At the Crash Mansion, even the sneaker exchange has felt the effects of a recession.
At the Crash Mansion, even the sneaker exchange has felt the effects of a recession.

Before going upstairs, he pulls a 1991 Air Force 1 from among the stacks. The shoe is black with a wine-colored swoosh. He lost his original pair from 1982, so this is the oldest pair he has got. "Tinker made these," he says, gazing admiringly. "I'm afraid to wear them."

Correction: the article originally stated that Tinker Hatfield designed the Air Force 1. While Tinker Hatfield is Nike’s most well-known shoe designer, it was Bruce Kilgore who designed the Air Force 1.
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