Meet the Store Owner Who Wouldn't Sell 'OVO' Jordans to People Unless They Wore Them

Derek Curry, owner of Sneaker Politics in Louisiana, tells the tale.

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Complex Original

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The biggest sneaker happening this weekend wasn't Kanye West debuting an unseen pair of Yeezy Boost 350s, believe it or not: It was the release of the "OVO" Air Jordan X on Saturday, Drake's first official partnership with the brand. The most lively tidbit to come out of that day, oddly enough, had nothing to do with sneaker violence or Drake making a surprise appearance at a store—it, instead, came out of Lafayette, La., and how Sneaker Politicsdecided to sell its pairs.

The store held a raffle for people to get the sneakers, but there was one stipulation for those who made a purchase: They would have to wear their pairs out of the store that day. Resellers were furious. This, essentially, thwarted their plans of being able to flip the sneakers for top dollar later that day. But a lot of people applauded Sneaker Politics, too. The shop had taken a firm stance and thrown a wrench into the scheming of resellers.

I spoke to Derek Curry, owner and founder of Sneaker Politics, and he explained what happened that day and why he chose to do what he did.

Is this the first time you've done this?
We did it once before for a Yeezy release, and it worked. A few people got mad about it, but we still did it. With the "OVOs," kids were coming in the store, like, "Yeah, I’m gonna sell them!" I’m like, “Dude, that sucks. There are a million people who want to wear the shoes. I’m not giving them to y’all. You’re going to wear them out if you want them. You’re going to have to dirty them up a little bit when you’re walking out." I should have put a mud puddle in front of the store.

When did you decide that this is how you were going to release them?
When the kids were talking about [reselling them] and getting their raffle tickets, I was like, “Change the listings and 'put they need to wear them out,' too.” They had to put the shoes on, buy them, then walk out with them on.

Did anyone get mad?
A lot of people were cool with it. They thought it gave them a chance to get the sneakers and weed out the people who won’t wear them. One kid was pissed and said, "It’s my money, you can’t make me do it." I said, "Cool, you don’t have to buy them." He responded, "No, I won the raffle I’m going to buy them." So right in front of his face, I said, "So who needs a size 10?"

Has Nike said anything to you about this?
My Jordan rep was cool with it. She called me up the other day and said, "Did you really do that?" I said, “Yeah, I hope you’re not mad.” She said, “Nah, that’s cool. I’m going to report back to everyone and tell them how you did it.”

You were the only shop in the area to get them, right?
We were the only people to get them in our area. We had people driving from Texas. A lot of people really want these sneakers so they can wear them. What happens, too, sometimes: When the "Black" Yeezys came out, kids who won the raffle came and picked up their shoes, and then people in the parking lot were like, "I’ll give you $800 for them." I was like, "Fuck this," because the dude in the parking lot who paid $800 for them is going to wear them. He wanted the shoes, he just didn’t win the raffle.

Are you going to do this in the future?
We’re definitely going to do this with future releases. We’re only going to do it with super-hyped stuff. But it was kind of a hassle making people try them on.