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I never chose to be a sneaker writer, it just kind of happened. I grew up reading NikeTalk and Hypebeast, and spent much of my twenties obsessively collecting sneakers and working at footwear stores. Some time after getting a journalism degree and writing about menswear every day for several years, I landed a full-time editorial job here at Complex, and my beat was, you guessed it, sneakers.

Everything sort of fell into place. This was also the time that I began to look at sneaker blogs more analytically. The only way I could be better at my job—besides working hard at it everyday—was to see what the competition was doing and take notes on what I liked and what I didn’t.

A lot has changed since 2006, when I was checking blogs to get an early glimpse at Japan-exclusive Air Maxes or to find out release dates for the latest Nike SB product, which could usually be sourced from NikeTalk. I wanted to learn the back stories on why certain releases were important, along with reliable information and reading writers that made it feel like a personal dialogue was going on between them and whoever was visiting the website. And there was very little of that going on, at least at the major blogs.