Sneaker Influentials – Sneaker Freaker

Sneaker Freaker started in 2003 in Australia and is the first and only international sneaker magazine to document the modern footwear craze as a global phenomenon. The magazine is produced three times a year and is sold into the
best stores in something like 43 countries. OZON talks to Woody, editor and founder of Sneaker Freaker.

How did you develop your love for sneakers? What was your first pair of kicks?

Since I was about 8 years old, I’ve been conscious of obsessing over sneakers. The first pair I recall was in the late seventies, the Dunlop KT26, which is a running shoe I think, it’s hard to tell. They were only made in Australia and
are pretty bad by today’s standards but back then they were so tough they took my breath away! A while afterwards, Adidas Rome in leather and the Oregons were also very big where I grew up. I’d love to say I was rocking Vandals or
Shelltoes but I wasn’t. There’s no point trying to make myself look supercool as I was just a regular kid and we had no money. Kids have so much finance now it is incredible, they seem to buy a lot of shoes but in my day we had to make
each pair last all year so it was a very careful choice we had to make.

Is there still room for innovation in the sneaker industry?

Everyone has been doing collaborations, releasing retros, customizing etc. There is always room for innovation. From technology to more efficient manufacturing and new materials, innovation has many disguises and the brands are
always looking for an edge.

What are the most innovative products/projects you’ve seen lately?

A new brand called Native is making sneakers from injected EVA. They’re a bit like Crocs, but they look more like Vans… very unusual and totally cool. Another brand called FEIT is also innovative, at least in the sense of their business
model, which is now internet sales only. Their boots are very interesting and super high quality, the materials are insanely luxurious. Aside from that, Nike always has some heat, such as the new Lunarlite shoes which are unbelievably
lightweight. Reebok also has a new project called Zig Zag which is pretty radical. It’ll be interesting to see how kids react, things certainly don’t look like moving away from Vans and Converse anytime soon. But I hope to see more lunatic design that polarises popular opinion!

You have collaborated with Puma and New Balance in the recent past. Any other project you’re currently working on that you’re particularly excited about?

Yes, of course, we have quite a few projects we are working on. The next one is a shoe for ASICS called Alvin Purple which will be in the next issue of Sneaker Freaker, then we have two projects for PUMA, one which will released in the UK
only, the other will only be on sale in Asian markets. We also have a Quiksilver project for Europe, which is more apparel and flip flops!

Name five pairs of sneakers that you have currently on rotation?

Sneaker Freaker x New Balance ‘Skippy’
Vans x Proper Chukka Del Barco
Nike Aina Boot
Nike Huarache Light (Ultramarine)
Kazuki x adidas KBall
Most cherish ed pair of sneakers?
C’mon, you can’t expect me to pick one pair can you?

Link: sneakerfreaker

Interview: Aris Karatarakis