When Puerto Rican rapper Eladio Carrión arrived in Madrid for a tour stop in November, he was sneaker-less. He had the shoes on his feet, but a good chunk of his collection was missing. Carrión, who is currently on tour in Spain, had a suitcase full of sneakers stolen in transit.
“I had my Travis Scott Fragment lows in there, the new Off-White x Jordan 2s, Off-White x Air Force 1 University Gold, and other sneakers I had planned to wear for my performances,” Carrión says. “I was so sad man, it hurt.”
He didn’t get a chance to wear some of the shoes before they went missing, like his Off-White Jordan 2s.
“I didn’t even use them,” Carrión says. “I had like 30 unused pieces in there, man. I wish they would have stolen my other suitcase instead.”
For Carrión, who released his new album Sauce Boyz 2 this week, sneakers are a way of showing off his success.
Growing up as part of a military family, Carrión moved around the US before landing in Humacao, Puerto Rico as a teen. His heavy American influence and unique read on the current hip-hop scene gives him his own perspective and sound in Latin music.
On all three of Carrión’s studio albums he begins with intro tracks featuring raps documenting his life at that moment. For Sauce Boyz 2, the intro track is “Par de Tenis” (translation: “Pair of Sneakers”). On it, he says that he went from having just one pair to now spending 10 racks on clothes he’ll wear once.
When he got into sneakers, he says, his first pair of Jordans was the “Taxi” Air Jordan 12. Carrión mentions these sneakers in his song “Me Gustas Natural” as part of the perfect outfit for a girl he’s feeling. Another one of his early favorites was the “Powder Blue” Air Jordan 3, which was one of many from his collection that were ruined during Hurricane Maria in 2017.
“I lost so many shoes during Hurricane Maria,” Carrión remembers. “I had them in the basement studio in Ocean Park [San Juan] and that got flooded.”
Despite the setbacks—from losing sneakers through theft or natural disaster, the Puerto Rican rapper keeps a diverse rotation. His regular wears involve a lot of current releases, which he attributes to his stylist Oscar, with a dash of retros like the Reebok Shaqnosis and designer sneakers from Balenciaga and Givenchy.
“I have this insane love for sneakers,” Carrión says, “all that love has accumulated and is hitting me now.”