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HOW TO BUILD A SNEAKER COLLECTION Ian Williams got into sneakers literally via the back door. In 2006, he took a job as a janitor at Nike World Headquarters in Beaverton, Oregon,

just so he could get a foothold in the sneaker world. Within five years, he’d worked his way up to become a footwear developer, creating his

own “Wet Floor” colorway and working closely with Nike’s shoe designers. Today, the 31-year-old owns Deadstock Coffee in Portland—a

sneaker-themed coffee shop and a meeting place for like-minded enthusiasts. Here he shares his tips on how to build a sneaker collection.

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THE COLLECTOR’S ITEMS With a personal assortment of 300-plus pairs, carefully assembled over 15 years, Williams is a respected

authority on sneakers. While his mantra is to “get what you love,” these are the four must-have icons that

every true sneaker fan needs in their collection.

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NIKE AIR FORCE 1 A time-honored favorite that has hardly changed since its introduction in 1982,

the Air Force 1 is a sneaker that anyone can wear. “The AF1’s stance—how

heavy it is below, but still lighter up top—means you can wear it with

anything,” says Williams. “They’re timeless.” Choose simple white on white for

maximum versatility or punch up your look with a more colorful pair.

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Nike Air Force 1 '07 Men's Shoe

Nike Air Force 1 High '07 Men's Shoe

Nike SF Air Force 1 Mid Men's Shoe

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NIKE AIR MAX 1 We now celebrate Air Max Day every year and this is the original design that

kicked it all off back in 1987—the first shoe to feature visible air pockets. “The

Air Max 1 is super clean,” Williams says. “With shorts or jeans, on the shelf—

however you display them, they always look good.”

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Nike Air Max 1 Premium Men's Shoe

Nike Air Max 1 SE Men's Shoe

Nike Air Max 1 Men's Shoe

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NIKE HUARACHE Among Williams’ most prized sneakers are these Nike Spectrum Huaraches,

one of only 175 pairs that were made for a TedxPortland event in 2017.

Although a perennial silhouette since its inception in 1991, the Huarache is

enjoying a particular resurgence right now thanks in part to the rise of the

chunky “dad sneaker” trend. “Nike is still dropping dope colorways,” says

Williams. “It’s one of the sneakers everybody chases after.”

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Nike Air Huarache Men's Shoe

Nike Air Huarache Drift Breathe Men's Shoe

Nike Air Huarache Drift Men's Shoe

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NIKE SB DUNK Everyone has their favorite sneakers and for Williams, the SB Dunk

is the one that got him hooked. “I first started to collect in 2003–2004

and it started with SBs,” he says. It’s a blank canvas that makes it

such an adaptable shoe. “You can put mesh on it, leather, suede,

nubuck, reflective—whatever,” he says. “It’s the simplicity of the Dunk

that makes it so dope.”

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GRIND AND GRAILS In 2015, Williams sold a third of his sneaker collection to open Deadstock Coffee in downtown Portland, a

place where the city’s creatives can commune (and can ask for their favorite sneaker silhouette to be

rendered as latte art). There are parallels between those who know their coffee and those who know their

sneakers. “Obsessing the perfect cup is the same as chasing down the perfect shoe,” says Williams.

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