It’s late, and it’s dark. The only source of light in the room is from the screen of my laptop.

It’s not just any Sunday night—it’s the tail end of Black Friday weekend, and I’m looking to see if I can score some last-minute deals. I quickly click back and forth between tabs on Google Chrome.

On one tab, Gmail. I scroll through subject lines promoting sale after sale after sale.

On the next tab, Twitter. Plenty of influencers are sharing deals, a thinly veiled front to get some sucker to click on their affiliate link and make a purchase.

That’s what NikeTalk’s staying power boils down to: its community.

Then, NikeTalk.

The Flyknit thread is absolutely lit. News has spread that there’s a 25 percent off opportunity on a pair of 2015 "Black/White" Nike Flyknit Racers on Road Runner Sports. Some members are copping for as low as $112. Others asking what the promo code is and how they can take advantage of the deal. It’s NikeTalk in its element: members helping members with no incentive at all, except maybe a simple “Thumbs Up” that increases the user’s reputation.

I cop, discount applied. Thanks, Road Runner Sports. Better yet: Thanks, NikeTalk.

I discovered NikeTalk in 2001. This was pre-social media—no Twitter, no Instagram, no Facebook. Back then, any and all information about sneakers I got from the Eastbay catalog, KICKS magazine,, and going to the mall.

Until, that is, I found NikeTalk. The forums introduced me to an entire community of sneakerheads. These were knowledgeable people I could learn from and to obsess over kicks with. At the time, Vince Carter was my favorite player, so I was all about BB4s.

I learned—and I lurked. I lurked for the better part of my high school and college years. I even lurked my way to a pair of Air Yeezys in 2009. Finally, I registered for an account. I asked questions and answered others. I shared stories and commiserated on missed pairs. Eight years of lurking, and I’d finally become an active member.

While NikeTalk may have helped me cop a pair of Yeezys a few years ago, if I had relied on NikeTalk to scoop up a pair of “Red October” Yeezy IIs, which were released without warning via Twitter, the odds would have been stacked against me. That’s because these days, you don’t have to be a member on NikeTalk to be privy to sneaker information. Social media has democratized information, and news travels faster than ever. Let’s face it: News won’t break on NikeTalk. By the time news about a big release hits the forums, it’s already been blogged about on numerous sites, retweeted hundreds of times (maybe even thousands) on Twitter, and shared over and over again on Instagram.

Even though it’s been years since I registered for an account, NikeTalk still remains one of my most-frequented sites, except now it’s my main source for sneakers that usually fly under the radar: The random non-hyped sneaker restocks, the outlet deals, the low-key launches, and even general releases like those Flyknit Racers I picked up for under retail. Just another reminder that there are plenty of sneaker-obsessed folks out there, on the same black-and-red message board at all hours of the night, just sharing any and all information regarding sneakers. It's how this single forum changed the sneaker game

That’s what NikeTalk’s staying power boils down to: its community.

Whether you’re active or just lurking, NikeTalk is a place to share with and learn from. It’s the reason why a thread still thrives long after a sneaker release has come and gone. It’s the place to swap stories, give in-depth reviews, share WDYT photos, and get educated opinions.

It’s being able to contribute to a larger conversation—sometimes conversations as long as 2,000-plus pages. And that’s something that 140 characters or over-filtered photos can’t replicate. Fifteen years’ worth of new technology, new social networks, and a new generation of sneakerheads haven’t shaken NikeTalk. Fifteen years later, and the community is as strong as ever.

John Q. Marcelo is a contributing writer to Complex and he judges your post-to-join-date ratio. You can follow him on Twitter here.