September 5, 2012 BY John Kim
In early 2011, a series of jaw-dropping sneaker auctions on eBay began circulating around blog headlines, sparking quite a bit of chatter among our readers around the world. Turns out we stumbled upon a sneaker goldmine of sorts, so Sneaker News offered the cure for the itch and took a trip out to San Diego to explore the ShoeZeum and meet Jordan Geller, the owner of the largest sneaker collection on the planet. A year and a half later and the ShoeZeum has evolved from a personal sneaker collection showcase in a warehouse to an open-to-the-public attraction in one of the most historic regions of Las Vegas, and this past Thursday Sneaker News got to partake in the grand opening of what is undeniably a “one-of-one” showcase of over 2,500 pairs of sneaker heat and history.
Much more polished by leaps and bounds and plenty of more exhibits (a ton of heat did in fact release since we last saw Jordan Geller in California) to enjoy, ShoeZeum is a great bang-for-buck experience at just $10, which nets you free range of the entire ShoeZeum as well as a personal tour by Jordan himself. The Grand Opening drew in an impressive crowd of locals, tourists, members of a local sneakerhead community called Vegas Sneaker Heads, and Mayor Carolyn Goodman,who did the honor of ‘untying the lace’ (a playful rendition of the classic ribbon-cutting). We’ve got a quick Q&A with Jordan Geller for you in which he takes us step by step through some the amazing events that transpired after our first report on Sneaker News as well as a complete breakdown of all twenty-three ShoeZeum exhibits, so take a look below and be sure to check out ShoeZeum for yourself if you’re a local to the area or if you’re out in Vegas for vacation!
450 Fremont St. Suite 135
Las Vegas, NV 89101
Open 4PM-12AM Daily
Sneaker News: Let’s get to it: Why don’t you quickly summarize what happened from the moment Sneaker News published the ShoeZeum feature in February of 2011?
Jordan Geller: Sneaker News came out to San Diego in late February 2011 and published ten stories about the collection. After that, it did not take long for Sneaker Heads to take notice of the collection. Nike took notice too. Seven top level Nike executives visited the ShoeZeum including CEO Mark Parker, Tinker Hatfield, Sandy Bodecker, and Nelson Farris. Nike loved the collection so much that they actually paid the rent for three months for the warehouse that housed the collection.
During those three months Nike sent teams of designers and executives down to San Diego to tour the ShoeZeum. I will never forget the way that Mark Parker got so excited about the Air Safari. Or the way that Tinker Hatfield looked when he discovered that Nike made a Messenger Bag out of the Air Jordan VI, a shoe that he designed. I gave the bag to him! Gentry Humphrey lit up when he picked up the Air Force III and Eric Avar gravitated right towards Foamposites, Kobes, and Hyperdunks. Sandy Bodecker, the head of Nike SB, wore a pair of yellow lobsters to test my knowledge of the shoes. He took one step into the warehouse and the first thing I said to him was “nice yellow lobsters.” He nodded to me as if I had passed a secret test.
As the first group of Nike executives were about to leave the ShoeZeum to fly back to Beaverton, they asked me if I wanted to see their private jet. I said, “definitely” and i grabbed my dog Guinness and followed them to the airport. Nike’s private jet was painted white and orange and was made to look like a shoe. There were even track spikes painted on the bottom. As Mark Parker and I approached the jet, Mark said to me “Jordy, you think you know so much about Nike, tell me the significance of the numbers on the back of our jet.” I looked up at the jet which read N6453. I said “6453 is Nike on a phone.” Mark gave me a fist bump as I passed another secret Nike test. The ShoeZeum was also open to the general public during the same time that the Nike execs were coming down to visit. Guests of all ages came to visit the collection and everyone had a blast. Then the lease ended. I packed up the collection into three giant storage lockers and moved out to Las Vegas.