Nike Dunks, Air Jordans, Yeezy slides: Huskick’s club is all about sneakers by Mark Conti July 13, 2023 Share Mastodon Facebook LinkedIn Twitter In less than two years since it was founded, the Huskick’s Sneakers Club has grown to nearly 100 members. Photo by Matthew Modoono/Northeastern University Yuhong Su, known to his friends as Henry, remembers the day when he first fell head over heels. He was a high school sophomore visiting New York City on spring break, “No Role Modelz” by J. Cole was playing on the radio, and he was standing in the Flight Club store holding fast to his first love: a pair of Nike Air Jordan 11s, Bred colorway, a black and red high-top shoe also known as the “playoff” colorway. Huskick’s Sneakers Club members, Letao Gong, who studies computer engineering, Napat “Ta” Chindasook, who studies music industry, and Yuhong “Henry” Su, a business and design combined major. Photo by Matthew Modoono/Northeastern University “I just saw that shoe. Just to touch the shoe or just even hold it one second. I never thought the magic or the power behind that shoe would be this great in hindsight or this influential in hindsight. So yeah, it all started with that pair of sneakers,” says Su, who graduated from Northeastern University this year with a major in business and design and a concentration in marketing. “I think that that pair changed everything or I would say that period elevated my collection, because that’s when I started to go crazy on Jordans for my collections,” Su says. “And Jordan 11 is still my favorite, most favorite, Jordan model up to this day. It doesn’t mean, necessarily, I have to wear a pair of Jordan 11s every day, but for some specific reason it just stands out from all the Jordans. Jordan 11 is single-handedly hands down my favorite model.” Su has been a “sneakerhead” ever since purchasing that pair of Jordan 11s, believing sneakers are more than just footwear, they are a fashion statement, financial investment and “spiritual” obsession. His collection has climbed to about 100 sneakers and his passion remains intense. When Su arrived at Northeastern a few years after that watershed purchase, he went looking for a sneaker club, a community of like-minded sneakerheads. However, he did not find one, so he decided to start such a campus group. The COVID-19 pandemic stalled his efforts but he eventually picked a name and started the process of forming a new club in his third year, which was the fall of 2020. He called it Huskick’s, a combination of Husky and kicks, another name for sneakers. Photo by Matthew Modoono/Northeastern University Photo by Matthew Modoono/Northeastern University Photo by Matthew Modoono/Northeastern University Among the members’ sneakers collections are, clockwise from top left, Air Jordan 1 Retro High OG Chicago, Travis Scott x Air Jordan 1 Low OG SP “Black Phantom'” and Jordan Tatum 1 “St. Louis.” Photos by Matthew Modoono/Northeastern University Huskick’s received tentative recognition in the fall of 2021 and he kicked off the sneaker club—an organization of one at that time—with a Sneaker Summit, a hybrid event that included three speakers from the sneaker industry. The event was a success. Less than two years later, the group now has nearly 100 members and about 200 followers on social media, as well as full recognition. Su says sneakers are an attitude and way of life. They can be worn casually or formally. “Just let people be themselves, wear what they love or are comfortable with,” Su says. “I think people’s mindset switch is the main reason why sneakers are being accepted in formal settings today, because we’re more inclusive now, we want to make people feel comfortable wearing what they love, that is the meaning of wearing sneakers. “We can call them sneakerheads. A sneakerhead is an individual who’s obsessed with sneakers physically, emotionally or even spiritually. I think people’s mindsets today finally allow them to have their emotional or spiritual ties with sneakers kick in, even formal settings.” Napat “Ta” Chindasook, the former vice president of Huskick’s and current president, agrees: Sneakers can be worn with shorts, jeans, a dress or a suit. “I would say that sneakers have really changed the way we dress for special events or just formal events in general. It has become normalized (to wear sneakers),” says Chindasook, a fourth-year music industry major. The sneaker industry generated about $73 billion in 2022, up from $45 billion in 2014, according to Statista. The largest brands in the market were Nike, Adidas and Puma, but Nike’s $28 billion in sales was more than Adidas and Puma combined. The resale market alone was worth about $2 billion last year. The industry is expected to reach about $100 billion by 2028, Statista reports. Chindasook’s first major sneaker purchase was Kanye West’s Yeezy Boost 350, which he bought on the secondary market in 2017 for $300. He says those sneakers are now worth about $500. “I was really happy. It was my first ever hyped and limited sneaker. And then I started wearing it to school and people were just staring at my feet, giving me compliments. ‘Oh, is that the Yeezy, like the famous Yeezy Boost, how did you get them?’” Chindasook says. “That’s really when I started spiraling into just digging more, learning more about sneakers. I really started loving sneakers from that point.” Chindasook says he has about 60 sneakers in his collection, keeps about 20 in his apartment and wears six or seven regularly. His current prized footwear is a pair of Nike Air Jordan 4 A Ma Maniere sneakers designed by James Whitner that he purchased last semester. A short time after the purchase, he was able to meet Whitner during an appearance in Boston and had the sneakers and the box signed by the designer. “I was gonna wear them initially, but you know, after he signed them, I don’t think I will be wearing them anytime. They will probably go in a glass box back home on display,” he says. If you meet a sneakerhead, don’t expect to make immediate eye contact, according to both Su and Chindasook. “I always do shoe contact before eye contact,” Chindasook says. “I tell my friends or any people that I just met that I actually made shoe contact before eye contact. I constantly look at what’s on people’s feet,” Su says. Su has graduated and recently moved to the West Coast, where he is working as an online marketing associate for ServiceNow in Santa Clara, California. He has handed off Huskick’s leadership to Chindasook. Chindasook says the five most popular sneakers he sees are as follows: Nike Air Jordan 1 Nike Dunk Nike Air Force 1 Yeezy Slides Yeezy Foam Runner (also: RNNR) Weekly meetings are not the “sneakerheads” style. They do meet occasionally but the group focuses on digital information and special events, such as sneaker summits with industry leaders and Q&A sessions with sneaker experts and celebrities. And these have proven to be popular with members and guests. The group will throw around terms like player exclusives (made exclusively for a player and usually not released to the public), general release (sneakers you can walk into a store and buy), deadstock (brand new pair of sneakers in the original box), or bred (black and red shoes). The club has also done benefits, collecting footwear and donating the shoes to local charities such as Cradles to Crayons. Mark Conti is managing editor of Northeastern Global News. Follow him on Twitter @markconti11.