Photo by Ryan Brinkman | Photo Editing by Haley Hoidal
Senior Sport Administration major Gibson Stump may not dress in designer clothes, but he sure has opinions on what’s cool and stylish. For him, the epitome of style isn’t shirts or pants but the soles on the bottom of his feet.
Stump said he believes tennis shoes are not only the best thing to wear but also have a range of uses, whether it be fashion choices or lifetime family bonds.
“I’d say sneakers are the best shoes to wear,” Stump said. “You can’t play sports in dress shoes, but you can wear tennis shoes to a wedding.”
Essentially, Stump was born into sneaker culture. From Beaverton, Ore., Stump lived right near Nike’s headquarters, so he and his family are hardcore Nike fans and can’t even look at an Adidas shoe, he said.
“I don’t have any Adidas, and that’s definitely a Portland thing,” Stump said. “It’s huge in my family — we’re, like, anti-Adidas.”
While other kids were excited about a new toy, Stump and his family raved over sneakers. The Nike employee store was their holy grail for where to get the best sneakers for the cheapest cost.
While buying or receiving a new pair of shoes is fun for Stump, another layer of family bonding adds to his love of sneakers.
Stump said sneaker culture has allowed him to bond with his father and ranges from the duo talking about the latest kicks to engaging in sneaker-related media like podcasts.
One should not confuse a sneaker fanatic, however, with those who just like designer shoes. Stump said people who buy $1,000 designer sneakers are only paying for the brand and not the actual love of sneakers. A true fan of sneakers, aka a sneakerhead, appreciates the value of tennis shoes.
“You’re a sneakerhead if you are up-to-date with the releases and what’s coming out and you care about what’s on your feet, and you can recognize, like, ‘Oh, he’s wearing those’ and ‘He’s wearing that colorway’ and ‘He’s wearing that model’ and that kind of thing,” Stump said. “So that’s what people would consider as a sneakerhead, and then sneaker culture is made up of sneakerheads.”
So follow Stump’s lead and slip into your favorite Nike sneakers and go to town, because even though sneakers may not always seem like they are the flashiest choice of shoes, they are the best shoe as you strut into life.
“[Sneaker culture] becomes a part of your life and a part of who you are, and that’s what sneakers have been for me and for my family,” Stump said. “We talk about them all the time, we watch sneaker podcasts or we watch celebrities go sneaker shopping on Complex News, and it becomes a huge part of what you care about and what your life is — and then it just becomes a part of you.”
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