Tuesday is here, and so is another edition of Community Spotlight. This week we shine our light on a collector that has been in the sneaker world for quite some time: Mark Genato. Mark is a Nurse Case Manager from Southern California and a Los Angeles Clippers fanatic!
In the interview below you will not only learn about what got Mark in to sneakers but you will get a glimpse into his journey as a sneaker collector since 1991.
After you give the interview a read, let us know who you think we should feature next week in the comments section below.
Jeffrey Jason: When did you start collecting kicks?
Mark Genato: I started to collect kicks in 1991.
JJ: Who or what shoe started it all for you?
MG: Ever since the beginning it was basketball shoes that always caught my eye. My parents would never purchase me top of the line shoes like Air Jordans due to price point and the argument that my foot was still growing. Early on I rocked the British Knights Dymacel, then my first signature shoes would be the Karl Malone LA Gear Catapult and the Kevin Johnson Converse basketball shoes with React Juice. Eventually I upgraded to the first Reebok Shaq Attaq. These shoes I would beat up on the black top throughout the school years. It wasn’t until I saw MJ in the Air Jordan 11 “Concord” for the first time where I was absolutely blown away by the futuristic design of a shoe. It was the Air Jordan 11 “Concord” that gave me the very first desire to keep a shoe in the most pristine condition. This was the first time I really would care or get mad if someone stepped on my sneakers.
JJ: What was your last pickup?
MG: The Nike Flyknit Racer “Multicolor”.
JJ: What is your grail or shoe you’re still hunting for?
MG: To this day, my grail has been and always will be the Air Jordan 11 “Concord”. I have multiple pairs I’ve collected over the years. I’ve gone through and beat up two pairs and have a few more pairs deadstock that will definitely be seeing mileage in the near future. Although I really would like to get my hands on a pair of the Nike Air Penny 1 in the White/Royal colorway. The Air Penny 1 has been re-released multiple times in the black/royal and black/black colorways but we have yet to see the white/royal colorway be re-released. That is a shoe that I would love to have again.
JJ: What do you love most about sneaker culture?
MG: I love the almost instant comradery that exists between those in the sneaker culture. The connection is similar to that of the movie scenes when two strangers recognize and know that they belong to Fight Club. Like hip hop, I have met great people from all walks of life and have built lifelong friendships all because we share a common interest.
JJ: What would you like to see change/more of in sneaker culture?
MG: The first thing I would like to see is people going back to actually wearing their shoes. That doesn’t mean you have to beat them up. Keep them clean but put some mileage on your kicks. Shoes are meant to be worn, not to be “stuntin on the ‘gram.” What good is it to have a brand new Lamborghini if you only keep it in the garage? Second, I would like to see people in the sneaker culture focus more on what they really like regardless of the “value” of the shoe. Over the years I’ve seen “sneakerheads” buy some ugly, uninspired, ridiculous and overhyped shoes because it’s worth X amount of dollars, to impress who? I think that’s just mad corny. I respect those who purchase and rock shoes they truly find appealing to their specific style even if it can always be found in any sneaker store at all times at the retail price.
JJ: Someone else’s collection I really admire is _______
MG: The first person’s collection that really blew my mind belongs to Alex “Retrokid” Wang. I got a glimpse of his massive and diverse around 2000-2001. The first time I actually met him was during the Jordan Brand Love Truck tour in 2002. Shamelessly, having been inspired by his collection, I gave him props and even asked for his autograph. We developed a friendship that day which continues to the present. A few years ago during a group dinner, he actually informed me that I was the first person to ever ask for his autograph. Of course, I wasn’ t the last. We all had a good laugh at the table. Having fun stories and memories like this is what I appreciate about the Sneaker Culture, whatever form it may take. It always brings good people together.