#Canada150

Dear Canada,

Happy 150th birthday.

We all have you to thank for not only being an amazing country, but for allowing us to live alongside some of the best people in the world. You are one of the nicest and most accepting nations in the world, and you are the reason that all of us are connected in one way or another. We connected through a common passion, sneakers, but the fact that we were all Canadians brought us even closer together as a community.

We brought together some of the best individuals from the Canadian sneaker community and decided to share some of our stories to show our appreciation for you.

@misterqmart – Toronto, ON

Being a part of the Canada Got Sole and The Brag Affair Family has given me a lot of opportunities to curate amazing relationships, some with individuals who have the same passion for sneakers as I do. More importantly individuals from across Canada!
One of many memorable times was being able to meet up and chill with a few of The Brag Affair Fam. A couple of years ago @JustKalby, @Christopher.Chiu and @Clarel came down to visit Toronto. It gave a lot of us a chance to get together and meet for the first time in person. When the Canada Got Sole Family got together with The Brag Affair Fam, it was as if we were all homies for a long period of time, who came from the same neighbourhood. But really we were all repping Toronto, Calgary, or Montreal. We all got to talk sneakers, basketball, and anything else a young successful dudes would talk about. At the end of the day sneakers brought us together and our common passion for sneakers helped to create a long lasting brotherhood.

@jo_doooney – Toronto, ON

We formed like VOLTRON back in 2012 at the Infamous Sneaker Battle in Toronto at The Great Hall… back then we were known as the SneakerMisfits.  We formed through BBM group chats and Twitter, all sharing the Same Interests – Sneakers.

Shoutouts to Dee and Lee at @TorontoLovesKicks for making it ALL HAPPEN.  From the sneaker battles that began at there at The Great Hall to filling up places like the Air Canada Centre floor!  It was only the beginning, the movement was real.

Canada Got Sole was made.

LDoggy and Qmart combined forces and recruited Spoonr & Myself.  A brotherhood bloomed.  With the powers of social media and CanadaGotSole.ca, we’re definitely helping the culture grow Canada wide.

Ride with Us and Brag About it.

@CidTheKicks

@CidTheKicks – Montreal, QC

I think I was around 13 years old when I was struck by the sneaker bug. My cousin from New York City, who was a few years older than me and a die-hard Jordan fan, was the blueprint. Now around that time, it was considered blasphemy to root for the Chicago Bulls if you were a Knicks fan. Me being from Montreal, I had no idea about this over the top rivalry, so when he spent his summers in Canada, he brought a bunch of VHS tapes with unheard classic hip hop videos, basketball dunk contests of the past, and his prize collection of sneakers. The crown jewel was his Jordan 3’s that he kept in mint condition. I still remember being in my mom’s basement, watching the 1988 dunk contest on her VCR when his “Airness” did the ultimate dunk from the free throw line. I was hooked. Not only by the dunk, but also by the kicks that MJ was rocking. My cousin was beside me with an old toothbrush cleaning his 3’s. He was always preaching to take care of your possessions and always put your best foot forward. Didn’t make sense in my mind at that time, but when I got old enough to get my own sneakers, guess what I copped as my first kicks… you guessed it… Air Jordan III’s.

All in all, its not just about the fabric and style of the shoe, it’s the backdrop story that comes with that shoe, that makes it worthwhile.

@onairwithmiked – Montreal, QC

This bridge was the one thing I always remembered about Montreal from my family trips when I was a kid.

Now, Montreal has a completely different meaning to me as it has become my home, where I found my closest friends, my beautiful wife, and my passion for sneakers. This 2014 Air Jordan “Carmine” 6 was the first pair I bought where I considered myself to be a “sneakerhead” and not just a guy who likes sneakers. When I first laced them up I felt like I was winning at life and nothing could stop me. It’s crazy how one shoe can change how you feel on the inside, yet you’re still the same person. It just goes to show the power that lies within a sole.

@hardie_girl

@hardie_girl – Toronto, ON

The quintessential Canadian sneakerhead experience is probably lining up in -30 degree temperatures and freezing your toes off to enter a raffle/buy some shoes. The struggle of trying to decide whether to wear something dope and freeze or wear boots and maybe freeze a little less. I have literally run out to MEC to buy hand and toe warmers during a line-up (in March!!!) to prevent frostbite. Most times, you can’t even wear what you lined up for till the snow melts or risk the dreaded salt stains. Why do we put ourselves through this? Its all worth it when you get to wear something you wanted so much and put in work to get.

@sneakercloset – Burlington, ON

I started collecting sneakers much later than most.

I always had an appreciation for sneakers, and always had a clean pair of Air Max or ATC2’s in high school. It wasn’t until I married a shoe designer that my eyes were fully opened and I got bit hard by the collecting bug.

My wife, at that time, was traveling to the far-east a few times a year to shoe factories, and was also doing trend forecasting trips all over Europe to see the latest and greatest in the sneaker world.  On each trip she always brought back something that we didn’t see in Canada, whether it be a new Europe only colourway or a new brand/model/style that wasn’t over here yet.

Within a year of being married, I went from a guy who loved sneakers to a collector, and it was all because of whom I married.  So now when she complains about the number of sneakers in the house I politely (or not so politely) remind her that it was all her fault….

@sgo8

@sgo8 – Toronto, ON

Canada’s 150th is equally a celebration about how far we’ve come, as well as where we began.  On that note, my own “beginnings” as a sneaker enthusiast trace back to the late 90’s. Growing up in a household that was fortunate to have Chicago’s WGN on our TV through a scrambler, I was able to follow Michael Jordan and the Bulls through their second three-peat. Some of my fondest memories are watching MJ in his last two championship series against the Jazz, alongside my entire extended family. The memories of the plays, Jordan’s mannerisms, and of course, his shoes, became ingrained in my mind even after he retired from the game. In 2000, my aunt’s boyfriend gave me his pair of OG “Playoff” Jordan 12s which I broke out for the first time during my elementary school basketball tournament. Wearing the 12s on feet made me feel unstoppable, and although I probably committed more turnovers than points scored, Sean Go the 13 year old sneakerhead, was born. The rest, they say, is history.

@flippinlaces – Toronto, ON

Truth be told I haven’t bought shoes online in over a decade. You see, anyone these days can amass a collection and stunt like they’ve been down. And accessibility to whatever my heart desires with a few clicks actually grew tiresome; to the point where I’d unbox my latest purchase and just toss em with the rest. The thrill of the chase was gone. From time to time I will scour the sneaker boutiques and visit outlets, searching for a more organic experience. But the local ads are what I’ve found to be the most rewarding. Connecting with like minded people has kept me engaged in this sneaker game. And my collection is a testament to the diversity of our culture in Toronto.

@crtsdsnkrs – Charlottetown, PEI

I was 10 years old when I can easily say I fell in love with Sneakers. We didn’t have much in Charlottetown, PEI back in 1996, but I walked into Bata shoes in the mall one day and saw the Uptempos. Instantly fell in love with visible air units, it started everything for me. Bata closed years later and maybe that was the hidden driving force that made me open my store many years later in 2011

@ibsnegative
@ibsnegative – Vancouver, BC
Way way back in 1989 I attended grade seven at Highlands Elementary school in North Vancouver. I remember coming back to school after spring break and seeing one of my friends wearing the craziest shoes I’d ever seen. He had just returned from visiting relatives in Germany and was rocking a brand new pair of the latest high end running offering from adidas, the ZX 8000. If you’re in any way familiar with the og color of the ZX 8000 you would know that adidas took a big risk putting out an aqua blue and yellow running shoe as its flagship model. It was so colorful, futuristic and unlike anything I’d ever seen. When he showed me the sole that was comprised of two pieces of black rubber with a bright yellow torsion bar cut into the centre of it my 12 year old mind was blown! The color, the shape and oh man the yellow torsion bar hiding underneath, it was a thing of beauty. I never saw the ZX 8000 in a shoe store here in Vancouver and there was no way my parents would buy them for me anyway given the high end price tag. I was forced to enjoy their aesthetic vicariously through my friend. Over the subsequent years I had many other adidas shoes, but I didn’t own a pair of og ZX 8000’s until 2005 when I began my career with adidas. To this day the ZX 8000 remains one of my all-time favorite models, I would even venture to say I appreciate the design even more now that I know its history.

@styleyourlife.xo – Edmonton, AB

Growing up, the first pair of kicks I ever bought myself were the all white Nike Air Force 1 hi-tops back in Junior High. I never really got into Jordan’s for I was so enamoured by the colorways and styles that came with the Air Force 1, plus they were popular in hip-hop culture. I didn’t get into Jordan’s until I got into my first relationship. My ex at the time was a sneaker head and he always kept his ear to the streets in terms of latest sneaker drops. I remember one summer we were vibin’ out and I remember him going online to Sneaker News to check the the latest Jordan heat and releases. He was scrolling down through the release dates and I remember leaning on his shoulder. He skipped over a pair of Jordans that had red & white accents. These kicks instantly caught my eye and I made him scroll back up. They were the most flyest, most crisp pair of Jordan’s I have ever seen. I asked him what they were called and he said they were the Jordan 4 “Fire Red’s.” I remember being so extra with my reaction because I wanted them so bad. The release date said August 4th and I had to work that day. The release date passed and I was mad pressed about not being able to cop those sneakers for they would of been my first pair of Jordan’s. Coincidentally, my birthday happened to be in the same month as the release date and to my surprise, he got me those Fire Red 4’s as a birthday gift. And they were the right size! I was so happy not because they were my first Jordan’s, but the fact that he remembered my reaction when I first saw them. From there on, I became an Air Jordan fanatic! From checking Sneaker News for the latest drops to lining up in front of Foot Locker on a Saturday, all thanks to him. Coincidentally, the last pair of sneakers I copped were the Air Jordan 4 “Pure Money” after an 11 year hiatus. It’s crazy how someone can put you on to new things and thanks to him, I find myself constantly checking sneaker sites and pages on Instagram. I am happy to say that my ex and I are friends and we still talk to this day. If he’s reading this right now, I just want to say thank you!

@luketigz – Edmonton, AB

It was the release for the Lance Mountain Jordan 1s. The Source Skateshop (in Edmonton) was offering one pair each per colorway. Working that day never gave me the chance to camp out so I reached out to Mike (@10mikeg10) who then contacted Noble (@noblebains) who at this point I haven’t met in person yet; I told him I wanted the black pair and I couldn’t remember any finite details about the conversation but I think there was a little back and forth (haha). To this day that pair is the one I cherish the most because of the friendships I made from that particular pair.
Meeting @ldoggystyles and @justkalby are bonuses too!

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