Whether you're a newbie or a seasoned sneakerhead, you don't have to break the bank to snag a standout pair of kicks.

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Words: Hayden Horner | Images: Supplied

When you consider their humble beginnings as a comfy yet plain canvas-top around 1892, there’s no denying that sneakers have evolved. They’ve progressed from their merely functional role in wardrobes around the world, to firmly cement their footprint as works of art.

And as any art collector will tell you, it can be an expensive hobby.

However, Devon Daniels - Senior Buyer of adult footwear, sneakers, and trainers for Superbalist - offers the disclaimer that you don't have to be a “sneakerhead” or shell out stacks of cash to build a dope collection.

“Just keep an eye out for a few coveted styles and move quickly when you see them,” Devon shares.

But what if you are not up to speed with the latest and hottest drops? How do you know whether to go for low-, mid- or high-tops? And which kicks will remain fresh for years to come?

As a proud sneakerhead with an impressive collection boasting around 90 pairs of sneakers, Devon sheds light on these questions and more:

Would you consider yourself a sneakerhead? If so, why?

In a sense, I guess I am a sneakerhead. I collect sneakers and live sneakers 24/7 - it's part of my life and it has brought me to where I am today even with the job I'm doing.

I’d prefer to call myself a sneaker enthusiast, though. I am interested in innovation and technology in footwear; the history and stories behind products.

How many pairs of sneakers do you own?

I have around 80 to 90 pairs of sneakers. Probably 80 good pairs, and others I've held onto like old love letters in a box. There’s no specific brand I favour. It's all about what attracts me and looks good on me.

Name your top picks of mid - and high-tops that you would recommend we add to our collections.

There are plenty of options out there; from mids to highs, basketball, vulcanised silhouettes, and more. My favourites are Air Force 1 Hi, Jordan 1s, Dunks, and Converse Pro Leathers.

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Why are some sneakers more popular than others?

I guess it’s what the market makes it. Usually, it's celebs and influencers who incubate products for the brands and set that “I want to be like you” standard and appeal.

But actually, it’s the brands and their marketing strategies - they build hype or release products in minimal quantities, making the allure that much more impactful. If you can't get it, you want it more.

Name a few must-have low-tops.

A classic must-have is Air Force 1 white/white. Also, lots of different silhouettes from running styles to courts, etc. But if I could add a new low-top to my collection, it would be the New Balance 550 Aime Leon Dor in any colourway or even just a GR pair of 550s.

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What’s the most money you’ve spent on kicks. Was it worth it?

Phew, I'm quite stingy on spending a lot on shoes, and kicks are getting more and more expensive every year. I managed to get a pair of Nike x Supreme Tailwind IV on the countdown on my mobile phone, beating bots on PCs (and who knows what supercomputers), but I managed to get them.

However, I already had a pair of Nike AF1 IDs in my basket and couldn’t take the time to remove them so I had to pay for both, which was around R7000. It was hectic on my budget, but the best day of my life and I cherish both pairs.

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What’s your favourite pair of classic sneakers that later got a remake?

There is a pair I have been wanting Nike to remake, and they haven’t yet. But there are some whispers around the internet. They are the Nike Air Max TL OG 1998.

Wow! Childhood memories of a shoe I never had.

Devon’s top kick picks:

All these staples and you’ll be shining:

Chuck 70’s

Puma Suedes

adidas Forum’s

AF1’s, Jordan 1’s, OG Superstars

Reebok Classic Leather

New Balance 574

Asics Gel Lyte III

Vans Checkerboard Slip-Ons.

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History of the sneaker
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