HomeAir JordanDiscussion: Camping for Kicks

Discussion: Camping for Kicks


Camping for kicks… I was told this is something that needs to be experienced at least once in a SneakerHead’s lifetime.

While I’ve been buying and ‘collecting’ sneakers since my Freshman year of High School, camping is something I’ve never actually done until earlier this week. The age of the internet is upon us, camping for sneakers is something I’ve never HAD to do because everything I had wanted was just a click away. Ten years of collecting and never one camp-out… until now.

My experience was very interesting, to say the least…

I work a normal 9-5, as most of us do, so camping isn’t usually something I’m able to do. This week, however, saw the release of the Air Jordan 1 ‘Banned’ in limited quantities at select Nike Outlet and Factory Stores. Hype isn’t even the term one can appropriately use to describe this particular release. Want is a term we SneakerHeads use frequently, because we all WANT the shoe… but these were different… I NEEDED these!

Never have I put in more work prior to a release. We all know when a certain sneaker is releasing, we prepare for such releases patiently; making room in the closet, saving up some extra cash in case there is a need to double up. That was not the case with the Banned AJ1… I called every Nike Outlet and Factory Store located in Northern California. Getting a different answer each and every time which was excruciating and quite frankly… It was starting to irritate the crap out of me. Once I finally had the location, I only needed to know when. Again, getting the runaround at this store was just as irritating as trying to find the shoes in the first place. “They’ll release in store on the 3rd”, a few hours later… “We will release them on the 1st”… this went on for 1 ½ weeks. Once the release date was confirmed, it was on… I was getting these shoes, no matter what.

I had the whole thing planned, I would leave work and drive 2 hours to the Nike Outlet and sit there until doors opened so I could get my kicks. As soon as I was dead set on the situation at hand, I received a swift kick in the genitals as my wife reminded me she had work that day so I could not take our car for the night. Of course, I told her to call in sick… and of course, she refused. What is a SneakerHead to do in a situation like this? Well… I rented a car… seriously.

I arrived at the Nike Store in Vacaville, CA after a 2 hour drive. Once I pulled into the lot, I noticed the line was only 14 deep! I whipped that rented Chevy Cobalt into the very 1st parking space I saw. Rushing out of the car with only a chair and backpack in hand, I sat in my spot proud as ever… I made it… I was going to get my sneakers!

Shortly after arriving, others soon followed. Not only was I one of 114 or more people in line waiting for our chance to obtain just 1 of 98 pairs available, but some of my fellow SneakerHeads actually knew who I was. They were supporters and subscribers of mine on my YouTube Channel. At first this was slightly awkward… however, it soon turned from being a weird situation to being one of the coolest things I’ve ever been apart of. The community atmosphere that I yearned the sneaker world to be actually was just that… we were a community of people, all different races, sizes, ages, genders from all different backgrounds and walks of life who had come together to one place with one intention; to buy a pair of sneakers. Waiting for 15 hours in the cold together, talking about kicks… it was something I will not soon forget.

Not surprisingly, there were also others in this same line up of individuals. They were into sneakers as we all were, however… these were resellers, and they made it clear why they were there. This group of people were not only in the same line as I, they were holding spots for others to just walk up by day break and stand in line as if they had been the ones sitting in the cold all night long. To top it off, this group, which kept on growing, were directly in front of me. It went from two guys, to four, six… then by 7AM there were roughly 12 additional people in front of me. I went from being 15th in line to 27th and I soon began to worry if I was even going to get my size. Believe me, I was not happy about this… this is exactly what I had written about in a previous discussion thread on resellers. These people were out there hustling to get every single pair they could get their hands on.

It was around 5AM when the head honcho of the reseller group and I had a conversation. Everyone else was either asleep or higher than Smokey from ‘Friday’. We had a great conversation to be perfectly honest, and he wasn’t a bad person either. I cant recall exactly how the subject came up, but we eventually dove into the fact that this was my very first camp-out. I think he was more shocked that I was essentially a virgin to the art of camping for kicks than I was that he and his group of friends were blatant resellers. This isn’t even the most interesting part…

Two hours later, the Manager arrives so he can open doors early for all of us. Numbered tickets were being handed out and now everyone, for the first time in 15 hours, was dead quiet. This is where we all started to wonder if we were going leave with a pair in our size… let alone a pair at all. It’s also where I ended up eating my own words for the 1st time in my entire life! As I said earlier, more and more people were getting directly in front of me, which made me think I rented a car, drove 2 hours and sat outside in the cold for 15 hours to end up leaving empty handed… all because of a group of resellers.

Now this is where it gets interesting… We are about 5 minutes away from 8AM, which is when doors open, allowing six of us in at a time. I see the group of resellers in front of me discussing who will purchase which size. Then out of nowhere, the head honcho points towards the back of his group. At this point I’m nearly a member of the walking dead, so I’m not sure who he was pointing at, I was just positive it wasn’t me. Sure enough, he was pointing at me… directly at me. He tells me and my two friends I was waiting in line with to come up to the front with him… he said “I’m going to guarantee you leave your first camp-out with exactly what you want.” Now, you have to understand that I’m a 5’7” white kid from the Bay while this guy looked like he could be a stunt double for Big Black (Rob & Big) so I wasn’t about to argue with him either way. I will say this, I wont take back the things I said in the discussion on resellers, however, they aren’t all bad people. I don’t agree with their ways, but I will not judge them as harshly either… especially when one showed me such kindness when it was going to cut into his profit.

That 15 hour period was a wonderful experience, one that I wont forget. Not only will I always remember that day and night full of memories, every time I look at the Air Jordan 1 ‘Banned’, I cant help but think of that crazy night I had trying to chase a pair of shoes and actually succeeded.

I’m sure most of you have been camping for kicks, how was your experience(s)? Share your stories with us below and let us know which campout was your favorite and why.

Brian Betschart
Brian Betschart
Founder and Editor of SF, Brian is considered an expert when it comes to sneakers. Collecting since he was in elementary school, his collection has grown to over 500 pairs and counting. Brian has published articles since 2004, and in 2006, he decided to create Sneaker Files.

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