The Addiction: Some students are finding themselves hooked on shoes

Classic sneakers such as Nike Air Force One and Jordan kicks have become a fetish for Florida A&M students.

What defines someone who has a classic shoe fetish? According to Raleigh Stewart, 23, a junior Bio-premed student from Orlando, who is also an assistant manager at Finish Line, believes that a person who has a classic sneaker fetish has to havethe “I don’t care factor.”

Stewart said that collecting sneakers has become a culture for students on campus, which expands to students being addicted to sneakers.

“The phone bill is due and the rent bill is due, but this person will do whatever it takes to buy those pair of shoes,” Stewart said. “My phone was off for four months because I wanted to buy Scottie Pippen’s Olympic classic Air Moore Uptempo and Penny Hardaway’s Olympic classic Air flight 96.”

Similar to Stewart’s shoe fetish, Finish Line sales associate, Jerrod Douse has a classic shoe fetish. Douse purchases shoes for his unborn children.

“I’m planning for the future,” said Douse. “They are going to stop making Jordans. They end at 23. I want my children to be able to wear these shoes.”, an internet retailer of brand name sneaker, based out of California, reports that 1982 was the first year that Air Force One shoes were released. The shoe was originally released in a low, mid and high-top version.

“The Air Force 1 has survived over two decades with little change to its basic design and continues to remain a legacy and a fashion statement,” Stewart said.

Stewart believes that Michael Jordan brought the sneaker fashion trend to another level when he released his first Air Jordan shoe in 1985.

The Web site sneakerhea, gave the history of the Air Jordan One. It said that the introduction of the Air Jordan shoe turned the athletic shoe industry upside down. The National Basketball Association banned Jordan’s first shoe, Air Jordan One because of its unique colors of black and red. In the past, most shoes in the league were white. To reprimand Jordan, the NBA gave him fines of up to $5000 a game. Nike was more than happy to pay these to keep the shoes on Jordan’s feet and in the public eye.

Because of Nike’s decision, the company has continued to sell millions of Jordans each year.

Stewart said college students make up an estimated 65- 75 percent of Finish Line’s sales at the Tallahassee Mall store.

Sales associates for Foot Locker and Finish Line, from both Tallahassee Mall and Governor Square Mall, said that their top five selling shoes purchased by college students, in no specific order are Jordan Retros, Jordan Spizike, Nike DJ Max 96, Nike Air Force One and Nike Shox.

Although a lot of students buy sneakers, Tyrone Salmon-Jarrett, 22, a senior education student from Ft. Lauderdale does not believe that shoe fetishes exist.

“I don’t think that I have a shoe fetish. I would call it a collection, “Salmon-Jarrett said. “I’m not interested in what is the latest sneaker. It has to just stand out to me, and then I will buy them.”

Salmon-Jarrett’s next purchase will be the Jordan 11 sea blue and black sneaker because he feels that this shoe fits his personality.

However, this sneaker fetish does not only appeal to men. Shaiasia Itwaru-Womack, 21, a junior food science student from New York City said shoes are important to women as well.

“Shoes are very important,” Itwaru-Womack said. “I buy at least two pairs of shoes a month,”

Price does not affect the shopping habit of sneakers for females.

“Being a female and having a sneaker fetish is cheaper for us. If your feet are small enough you can buy kids sizes,” Itwaru-Womack said. “The shoes also come in more funky colors.”

Stewart believes that females score “gangsta points” when they wear classic sneakers.

Students who are anticipating the release of the Jordan Retro Eights, they are coming soon. According to Stewart, Sept. 22. is the expected release date for the Jordan Retro Eight “The Aqua” and Dec. 22. is the expected release date of the Jordan Retro Eight “OG”.