words and photos by Nick Engvall (@nickengvall)

"What am I going to do with all these sneakers?"

If you’re anything like most sneakerheads, you’ve asked yourself that many times over the course of amassing your sneaker collection. The more you add to it, the harder it is to get to those rare gems that have found their way to the bottom of the back row. The stacks find their way into hallway closets, extra rooms, basements and sometimes even into monthly storage spaces. Months become years and your collection now takes up a majority of your living space. The question comes and goes without the need for a clear answer because, “damn, I haven’t worn these in forever!” happens and the thought of what to do with your kicks is quickly forgotten. Instead, those beat 2001 True Blues from the back of the pile are now on your feet, memories of how the first weekend you had them, you got stuck in the rain and mud quickly turned your fresh new kicks into ones with a lot of “character.”

Then, unexpectedly, the experience of a lifetime (or maybe it’s that unbelievably gorgeous brunette) changes your course of direction. Your new life is set to begin in a couple of weeks, a couple thousand miles away.

About that question again…sh*t just got real.

 

I’ll find a way to get these kicks to their new home, even if it doesn’t exist yet.

 

Moving across the country is intimidating. Moving across the country as a sneakerhead makes the “normal” person’s move look like a walk in the park. Just the task of moving tens or hundreds of sneakers around the house is a royal pain. Thankfully, sneakers are self-motivating. All those Nikes that need a new home are sitting there saying, “Just Do It.” When it comes time to move my adidas, “Impossible is Nothing.” That stack of Reeboks reminds me, “I Am What I Am.”

I am a sneakerhead.

Good or bad, whether I like it or not, it’s a part of my life. I love these sneakers, and the friends I’ve made because of them. I’ll find a way to get these kicks to their new home, even if it doesn’t exist yet.

The first step in moving sneakers is getting clear on what you have. You may think you know exactly what’s in your collection, but until you move them all you really don’t. Inevitably you will be reminded of pairs that somehow slipped your mind. If you don’t have them already, grab some shelves from your local discount store; the plastic joints are usually $10 or so. You can reuse them when you get to the new pad. Consider separating your kicks into a group of sneakers with boxes and a group without. This is a great time to get rid of those boxes that showed up looking like the postman used them to fight off the neighborhood ankle-biters before delivering them to your doorstep. If you’re truly hardcore about keeping boxes, cutting off the label and using it on a plastic container instead is a good option because there isn’t much value to a box that has no structure. It may be different for every size but without the bulk of the shoebox, you can combine unboxed sneakers into a larger box, making it easier to load into a moving truck or ship, whichever option works better for your move.

Now that you’ve got some clarity, take some of those kicks you will never wear to your local Goodwill or homeless shelter. There are people out there that will use them and there are surely a handful of sneakers in your collection that you’ve asked yourself, “WTF am I gonna do with these?” On top of that, the money you’ll save in not having to box up and ship or move those kicks you’ll never wear can be used towards one of those saved eBay searches you’ve been making excuses on. In addition, you’ll just feel good about it. For you lame sneakerheads against doing something good for others simply for its own sake, the donation is also tax deductible.

Now that you’ve reduced your collection into a manageable size (yeah, right!), get to boxing them up. For myself, plastic containers are great for storing sneakers. However, since I’m choosing to ship much of my collection, they’re not exactly functional for that task. If your move is going to be done by truck or container, you can use the bigger containers with not much worry. Smaller, single-pair plastic containers won’t survive the rock-and-roll journey a newbie behind the wheel of a moving truck will take them on. I chose to box up the sneakers without boxes into bigger boxes, flipping them upside down on top of each other to free up extra space. 18” x 18” x 24” fits a decent amount of size 13 sneakers, surprisingly. You can grab boxes at Home Depot for under $2. Whether you’re moving by truck or shipping, some advice from the local UPS Store, “tape, tape, and more tape.” Taping up the seams of the boxes you use can give some added protection from movers or shippers looking to improve their shotput distances by using your sneakers for practice throws. No matter how you slice it, your precious kicks are about to become part of the shipping Olympics.

As difficult as it is to choose which sneakers are brought with me and which will be shipped, you’d think they were my children. I’m sure most of you can understand my struggle. How do you choose to leave behind those sneakers you rarely wear but find yourself drooling over on occasion, just because you have them and can? Grab that Good Wood Jesus piece and hope that it gives you more peace than Kanye, because now your sole is in the hands of the postman.

Check back to see if I’ll need one of Russell’s nieces in a couple weeks when I complete my coast-to-coast sneaker move.