Photo by Brittanee Lee Taylor
I swear that Salt Lake City has a sneaker culture. It may hold the record for being the smallest, but hot damn, it’s there. On May 22, FICE hosted the SLC Dunk X-Change. I have had a love/hate relationship with sneakers for years but even so, I have been to an overwhelming amount of sneaker releases (enough to be considered a true sneaker nerd) and have even found my share of low-key skate shops with nice accounts. I recollect a few people with real nice closets in the Salt Lake area; these lucky sons of bitches bought stock cheap and are now sitting on a pair or two of $600 dollar Nike Dunks SB’s from 2002. It’s almost like walking around with credit cards on our feet, worst comes to worst, sell the kicks and you at least make it home to really assess the problem and pick up of pair of general release joints to keep you kushin’.
Rolling up on FICE, I will admit, was a little questionable at first; the idea of a Dunk X-Change in SLC, is a lot like a Sci-Fi convention… anywhere. I am still a little green in the collar and new to the area, so I did some asking around and found out this was not the first Dunk X-Change the Salt Lake scene has seen. Last year four dudes got together and talked sneakers. This was by far one of the most intimate sneaker gatherings I have been too. It was clear right off the bat that there are some serious collections in the area, and some real friendly folks. For those who are not as up on the sneaker nerd lingo, a Dunk X-Change is a gathering of “sneaker heads” to buy, sell and trade sneakers in order to obtain sneakers they may have missed out on or just to make some money to get more sneakers. May 22 wasn’t a big day on the Salt Lake sneaker exchange, but tacos, beer and beats were high in the trade market. Unfortunately, sneakers sales stayed consistently below market share. It wouldn’t be a proper Dunk X-Change with out someone on the wheels of steel while the sneaker nerds wheel and deal. Luckily for everyone on hand, DJ SUPeRB and DJ Goobers were there to entertain. I, myself, didn’t bring out the goods like these cats. There are some serious closets in the area. The Jordan selection without a doubt outshined everything else. Complete with Laser 4’s and 5’s and array of the packs, it was like a Jordan family reunion. There were Dunks on hand and even some real bangers. Deadstock California Dunks are nothing to be mad at, real OG type. A couple people even rolled up with a few nice runners in the collection, not to mention an impressive pair of original Air Mariah’s. As anyone could imagine with such an intimate culture, the sizing is a major problem. As it goes with any sneaker swap, the ol’ “ too bad, wrong size” excuse is always excusable. No harm, no foul. After getting your sneaker nerd on and making a few social networking connections, there were tacos being grilled up out back behind the store and you could network some more.
Upon returning inside, I was greeted by a growing scene. Drop-ins, sneaker fans and weekend downtown scenesters were all swinging by. In the terms of urban and youth marketing, Salt Lake’s sneaker and hip-hop culture scene is growing. Don’t totally count SLC out of the sneaker culture just yet. The gracious host of the gathering, FICE is locked and stocked with some real heat for your feet this summer season. Don’t be afraid anymore, no one’s getting killed over their kicks anymore, its once again safe to wear your favorite runner, or even that pair of Koston 1’s you have hidden, out and about. As it goes with the sneaker game- older is colder.