Ten-year collector shares his passion for shoes and restorations talent

Ceiling-high piles of shoes occupy Albert Myles Mejia’s home. Estimated at 150 pairs, his collection ranges from Nike, Jordan, Adidas, Pumas and Reebok. Costing from around $100 to $250 each pair, the total retail value of his collection is about $30,000.

“Growing up as a kid, I always travelled to the States with my parents,” Mejia said, “and buying sneakers from a different country was always my thing.” He added that he always wanted to have the sneakers that nobody else had.

Even with his whopping amount of selection, he doesn’t wear all of his shoes– like his Nike Air Yeezy 1 designed by Kanye West. He’s had them for about four years and they stay fresh in the shoebox.

With the hopes of expanding the sneaker community in Calgary, Mejia and three other friends created YYC SOLEmates. A Facebook group where other sneaker lovers connect to share pictures and sell or exchange shoes. This is also where Mejia presents his talent on shoe restorations – a hobby he picked up since the beginning of his collection.

Quite a few of his pairs are limited editions and even more of them he patiently had to wait for.

“Me and my cousin slept in front of a store for 11 hours to grab a pair of Air Jordan 1 – the very first pair Michael Jordan wore in the NBA,” he said.

The sneaker maniac started colleting at 13 years old and he hasn’t stopped since. He said he started learning more about the sneaker culture when he played basketball in junior high. He learned through reading magazines and books before the onset of his online research.

In fact, Mejia owns a company Legal Hustle Clothing where some of the apparel designs where influenced by sneakers.

Mejia continues to work off of YYC SOLEmates to someday host the very first sneaker convention in Calgary.

ksumalpong@cjournal.ca