I got a text from my bud, Al, tellng me he just took some shots of a dude’s collection and that I should definitely talk to him about his shoes. I took Al’s word for it and started the process of getting in contact with Nick and setting up an interview. When I eventually got a look at some of the photos I knew this interview would be something to talk about. So here it is, a new segment we’ll be running with some of your fellow sneakerheads. Here’s an interview with Nick Pocket, photos by Albert NewYen.
Name: Nicolas Paquette aka Nick Pocket
IG handle: @NickPocket (not a big user of Instagram, but I am learning)
TheBragAffair: Tell us about the Lines/Brands included in your collection.
Nick Pocket: Many… My top 10 brands: Nike, New balance, Adidas, Reebok, Puma, Le Coq Sportif, Asics, Saucony, Jordan, Ewing. But I have Converse, Hummel, Diadora, Kappa, Etonic, Lacoste, Pony, DC, Vans, Air Walk, Daoust, La Gear, K Swiss, Sugui, Line 7. I try to follow my roots, good old classic sneaker brands.
TheBragAffair: How long have you been collecting?
Nick Pocket: I’ve been collecting stuff since I was a kid. I think it all started with my childhood toys. I never wanted to get rid off my toys, even the box or the cardboard. Then, the hockey cards, the Marvel comics, the Starter cap, the NHL and sports jerseys, etc. Sneakers took a big place in my life, it’s a part of me, who I am, what I am representing to the society I lived in. In my childhood, the problem was that I would be destroying all my shoes doing sports and the fact that my foot was still growing, my mother wouldn’t allow me to keep my beaters, even if I really wanted to. The day my foot stopped growing (around 15 years old), I decided to buy more shoes so I could have a rotation and not destroy them. That was the start of my sneaker collecting and I still have some shoes from my high school years.
TheBragAffair: What’s the current focus of your collection?
Nick Pocket: There’s different focuses in my collection: vintage stuff, new stuff, shoes that I wanted as a kid, shoes that I had as a kid, shoes made in collaboration from people I care for, shoes I have no idea where they come from. I will say that I try to wear shoes that nobody has, it’s important for me to be a little different. I feel unique when I am walking down the street with a 1980’s Nike. I am not the type of person who likes the big commercial hype, I won’t wear the shoes my neighbor is wearing… Unless he’s a crazy sneakerhead!
TheBragAffair: Tell us about how you became a fan of sneakers.
Nick Pocket: The first sneaker memory I have was in 1st grade during my gym class. Probably the only thing I remember clearly of that of time. We were sitting on the gym floor, I remember looking at the sole of my shoe. That sneaker had a multi-colored sole that resembled a pile of melted Crayola crayons. There was no brand, no hype, no influence, just an all black sneaker with a crazy sole. Three years after, in the middle of primary school, I was ahead of sport’s fashion, I was growing in this 90 sneaker culture and the branding was now something I was learning from day to day … I remember, owning the OG Reebok Pump, OG Ewing, all black Converse Chuck Taylors, Nike Air. I was dreaming about the neon Nike Air Tech Challenge “Agassi”. During the time when the New Kids On The Block and The Fresh Prince of Belair were cool, mid and high tops with crazy neon colours were cool, and that’s why I was influenced by the basketball models, even if I was not playing basketball. I must say, the Jordan’s and the Nike Air Maxes were pretty rare to see at school. In high school, my style changed from wearing Army Boots to Air Maxes. I was trying different things, listening to different kinds of music, experimenting with life and everything. Still, my passion for sneakers was there and at the end of this time period, my style was definitive: polo shirt, cargo pants and classic runners. I was now a fan of my own style.
TheBragAffair: Which pair in your collection represents you the most?
Nick Pocket: It’s impossible to choose only one pair, because my style and taste always evolves with time. Probably like many sneakerheads who have a big collection, some days you will choose the right shoe to go with the right outfit for the right time. Right now, I could say my latest Reebok Ventilator ID custom represents me well.
TheBragAffair: Most underrated pair in your collection?
Nick Pocket: Underrated shoes can also change with time, remember the OG Asics Gel Lyte III before Ronnie Fieg remastered them? I don’t think so. And many old sneakers from 80s-90s were underrated and now forgotten, but anyway… I will give you my top 10 underrated pairs that I own made from 2000 and on: Reebok Classic Leather x Horween (burgundy), Nike Dunk SB “BARF”, Nike SB Court Force “Storm”, Etonic TransAm Lux (navy/brown), Reebok Classic x High n Lows (green/cream brown), Brooks Chenill x Atmos, Asics Epirus x Hanon “Glover”, all my New Balance 1400 from J.Crew, the Nike Talaria Boot (grey/black/blue/pink), and the adidas “Peter O’Toole”.
TheBragAffair: Rank the top 3 pairs in your collection.
Nick Pocket: Again, hard to say, but in reference of my historical sneaker background, I would say: the New Balance 577SNE, the OG Nike Challenge “neon Agassi”, and the OG red Ewing Mid Key. Special mention (top 3): OG Jordan 7 Bordeaux, OG Nike Minot, and OG Nike Cortez made in Japan. By the way, even if those vintage shoes are fragile, I own all of them in my size!
TheBragAffair: Favorite overall model all time? Why?
Nick Pocket: I could say my New Balance 577SNE by Sneakers N Stuff. Those shoes were something big when I found a pair in my size 5 years ago. It was a beautiful day! Ha ha! The shape, the colourway, the limited pairs! But all sneakers have different qualities, different style, different purpose. I don’t think there is one perfect model, ’cause if it was the case, I would probably be wearing that shoe everyday.
TheBragAffair: What differentiates a runner collector from any other type of sneaker collector?
Nick Pocket: I think a runner collector has more choice, more brands, more style. If you love high top basketball shoes you will probably wear 1 brand: Nike (LeBron, Jordan, Kobe). But there’s so much more in the sneaker industry! Just look at the European market, the runners are BIG out there. And now, theres a sneaker style called “classic lifestyle”. Retro runner models for the people who don’t run (just like most of the sneakerheads). Replacing the cheap and light material by using luxury suede or leather made the shoes more desirable. Most of the limited retros are now made for people who want to wear a great quality shoe, or sadly, for people who want to make some money by reselling them. And that’s creating a big hype, something good and bad in my opinion.
TheBragAffair: If you could design your own runner, which colors, materials or designs would you be sure to incorporate?
Nick Pocket: I already design some sneakers with the help of “ID” sneaker sites like Nike or New Balance or Reebok. And my design will change according to how I feel during this period of time. But my classic style is premium suede and leather, with a navy – burgundy – forest green colourway. Also, the most important detail for me, a gum sole.
TheBragAffair: Have you had any difficulties hunting down a pair? If so, which shoe has eluded you?
Nick Pocket: Yes many! With eBay, I’ve missed some auctions quite a few times and when a local shop only has one pair in your size, it’s always hard to get your hands on. But even if I buy less shoes now because of my “way of living”, there are some classic shoes I will get one day or another, or at least try them on: Nike Odyssey, Nike Pegasus runners, OG adidas Country Forest Green stripes, Asics Volcanoes and many New Balance made in the UK from around 2000.
TheBragAffair: What is your favorite pickup story?
Nick Pocket: During a trip to Germany, 8 years ago, I looked at every sneaker store that I could and one day, I ran into a pretty mysterious one: a Munich local graff and sneaker shop called Mighty Winny (I think). They had some old vintage Puma, Nike, adidas gems all around the store and even in the backstore, just pilled up. One of the owners called Sneaker Tony had a vintage OG Patrick Ewing (green and black suede, probably a Euro release) in my size, but at his house. So I waited and went there after his work shift. I bought the shoes, chilled with the guy, took some pictures of his collection and his big Nike Air Force tattoo. Then finally came home to my hostel downtown in Munich around midnight with no GPS, a little wasted, a little bit lost, but with a pair of OG Ewing in my backpack. That was crazy!
TheBragAffair: How would you describe the Canadian sneaker scene? The Montreal scene?
Nick Pocket: Kinda sucks! Big hyped Jordan shoes or cheap all black canva shoes everywhere. And real sneaker stores are a species in danger here in Montreal. Toronto has some interesting shops. Don’t really know about the rest of Canada, but I think it’s just a matter of time. Now younger people have more knowledge of what’s going on in the big cities like New York, Berlin, or Tokyo. With the Internet giving us all the info, people are now more conscious of what they are buying. The hype that creates a buzz around a special release is something very strong for young amateur and I think the market, especially the retro runners, is in full speed. But again, there’s no background in Canada. Big original brands comme from the USA or Europe. We just need to know more about their history.
Something that nobody knows is that the 1978 Olympics in Montreal made a big impact in the sneaker industry. Big events like this made the brand push the envelop a little more. Nike, adidas, Pony, and more brands named some models the “Montreal” because of this. But at the same time, it’s cool, I like being the only one wearing crazy and rare stuff. Being an underground in sneaker fashion. And again, we can be influenced by the high top USA styles, or the low runner Euro styles and make our own mix.
TheBragAffair: When you lace them up in the morning and head out the door, what are you hoping your sneakers say about you?
Nick Pocket: This is How I feel today. They could be low profile, ’cause it’s a rainy Monday or they could pop-up and break some necks, ’cause it’s the weekend and here I am! But everyday, I try to match the colourway of my shoes with my shirt or my jacket, and this is why I usually set my outfit the day before. I am worse than a girl! Ha ha ha!
TheBragAffair: Anything else you’d like to share with our readers, or shoutouts?
Nick Pocket: Of course, big shout-outs to every local indie sneaker store, site, blog, magazine, event, and every sneakerhead from MTL who try to bring something different to this community! Let me see some crazy pairs this summer! And thank you, TheBragAffair for bringing more love and knowledge to this game!