Hundreds of People Converge on DCU for a Big Sneaker Convention

WORCESTER — A sneaker, according to the Merriam-Webster dictionary, is “an athletic shoe with a soft rubber sole.” Having expanded beyond sports into casual wear over the past few decades, sneakers are probably the most ubiquitous footwear in the country.

Although they are just useful and versatile shoes for most people, for many they are a passion and a profession that form an entire subculture.

Hundreds of “sneaker heads” — those who wear and collect sneakers as a hobby — gathered at the DCU Center on Saturday for Boston’s Got Sole, the largest sneaker convention in New England.

The convention serves as a massive hub to buy, sell and trade sneakers with vendors and attendees from across the region and beyond coming to unload extras, mark the next big addition to their collection or, like Seekonk’s Adam Gonzales, to buy some great new shoes.

It wasn't uncommon to see the likes of Seekonk's Adam Gonzales walking around with carts loaded with sneakers at the Boston Got Sole sneaker convention on Saturday at the DCU Center.  Gonzalez bought at least 20 pairs.

Before the convention ended, Gonzales had bought at least 20 pairs, pulling behind him a cart (provided by Got Sole) stacked with shoeboxes. Clearly, it was a good day.

Almost all of the vendors in attendance started out as sneaker collectors before moving on to selling or flipping – buying a particularly coveted pair and reselling it to collectors, who will often pay well above retail price.

“Some people like to wear them and show them off, and some people like to put them in a display case,” said John Lam of Boston, who has been buying and trading for five years since his sophomore year of high school, starting with a pair of ‘Adidas.

Shawn Dowling, 15, of Haverhill walks off with an armful of sneakers at the Boston Got Sole sneaker convention on Saturday at the DCU Center.

Value can come from a number of factors including brand, design, and even size, all of which sneaker heads should consider.

“It’s a Travis Scott shoe,” Lam said holding up one of his merchandise, referencing a shoe design by Nike in collaboration with singer-songwriter Travis Scott, “and in a size that you can’t find a lot.” Lam was negotiating a $3,000 sell for the pair.

“It’s about what’s inside and has long-term potential,” said Jake Diamond of Arlington, a regular Got Sole attendee who runs a vendor booth with his brother, Sam.

In sneaker resale, trends fluctuate every few years with new product lines released from a corporate-celebrity collaboration as demand skyrockets for the newest and hottest thing.

Boston's Roberto Morera holds the Nike

“Right now we’re bringing in a lot of Travis Scott Jordans and Dunks,” said Diamond, both of which are Nike products.

Inevitably, other designs are eclipsed by newness and diminish in value, whether due to their popularity or the breakdown of the partnerships that created them.

Diamond said the rise and fall of the Adidas Yeezy was a good example of this. The collaboration between Adidas and artist Kanye West enjoyed strong popularity for a while, but with the subsequent fallout between the two,

“The Yeezys are a little confused right now,” Diamond said, and won’t find a place at the brothers’ booth at this time.

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