SELECT Collections: Justin Amazing
As part of our newly launched Sneaker News SELECT features, we’ll be showcasing some of the best sneaker collections in the world, as well as the dedicated individuals behind all those shoe boxes. First up is a man whose name has been ringing bells for quite a while on the sneaker forums, blogs and social media thanks to a seemingly never-ending supply of rare samples, promos, and PE’s.
You may know him as lilpennymagicfan, TheHeatCheck, or better yet Justin Amazing, but regardless of what name he’s going by, chances are, he’s dropped your jaw numerous times over the years with photos of his remarkable sneaker acquisitions. Continue on for our interview with Justin and an extensive look at one of the more impressive collections you’ll ever see.
From: Lancaster, PA
Sneaker News: Approximately how many pairs of sneakers do you own?
Justin Amazing: Currently a little over 400 I would say. I hit a rough patch in 2007 where I sold over 300 pairs from my personal collection…
SN: What was the first shoe you ever fell in love with?
Justin: Penny 2 White/Atlantic Blue. That is my favorite player of all time and 1996 was a huge year for sneakers. That shoe stood out as the must have for me at that time.
SN: What’s your favorite model of all time?
Justin: I almost hate to say this because I sound like one of the “new” LeBron collectors that kind of jumped on the bandwagon around the time of his 7th shoe and 8th shoe, but the LeBron 7 is probably my all time favorite model.
SN: How long have you been seriously collecting sneakers?
Justin: I would say about 13 years now.
SN: What’s your favorite genre to collect?
Justin: I know that I have a reputation for being one of the guys with the PE’s and samples, but I’m a fan of Nike basketball in general. I obviously lean more toward the LeBron line, as I’ve been a huge fan of his since watching him play in person in high school. So naturally, I try to get my hands on any pair that I like from his line whether it may be a GR, PE, or sample.
SN: How did you make that elusive jump from buying stuff that anybody can get in a store to the crazy rare samples and PEs of the world?
Justin: I think the simple answer would be that I love to network. This goes back to the Sole Collector events/competitions. I would always chop it up with people like Bobby Cyclee, Flip Jays, Sole Supreme, Lovethexiv, as well as numerous other people who were always deep into the PE game. Back then, the shoes didn’t cost what they do now. I was never big on Jordan PE’s, even though I do own a few, but I talked to everybody I could that were big collectors of the LeBron line and got in contact with the right people around 2005-2007. Some of the PE’s then were pretty cheap, but you had some high dollar shoes like the Dunkman 2-4, Fruity Pebbles, OSU 4s, as well as the school PE’s that used to fetch a pretty penny back then as well.
But all in all, just networking and having the money or resources to be able to buy things when they were offered to me really kept me in the circle amongst a lot of the people who had access to sell the PE’s. Now we have people who willingly pay 5k for some shoes, which is insane. That has brought out a whole bunch of new people who want to sell the PE’s and also buy them, which kind of killed the market for a lot of the OG collectors who I’ve made friends with over the years.
SN: What was the first super rare pair you ever acquired, and how did you get them?
Justin: I would say the Dunkman 2. I didn’t get a chance to buy the shoe until midway through his 3rd season. A good friend of mine had them and then got the Dunkman 3. He liked them much better and didn’t think he wanted the 2 anymore. I was a senior in high school working at Finish Line and it took me about 4 paychecks of saving for me to buy them. I felt so stupid afterwards, but in retrospect, that purchase really opened up a door for me that I still use today.
SN: What’s the craziest thing you ever had to do to get a pair of shoes you wanted?
Justin: Wow, that’s tough. I never camped out for a shoe, so I don’t have any campout stories unless we count the Sole Collector Vegas competition that I waited in front of Niketown all night for that spot in line. I think I would have to go with the time that I was offered my first pair of Fruity Pebbles Lebron 4’s, but the seller was going out of the country on a Military Mission and didn’t have Paypal, and I didn’t trust him enough to do a bank deposit. I drove an hour to Philly after getting off the phone with him and flew out to Los Angeles 3 hours before he had to catch his flight to pay him in cash.
SN: What’s the most you’ve ever spent on a pair, and what was the shoe?
Justin: I missed out on the SC Penny Pack in Vegas, so I ended up paying $4500 for that pack, but if we were talking about 1 specific pair of shoes, it would be the Watch The Throne LeBron 9 and the What The LeBron 9 which I spent $2200 each for.
SN: What’s the crown jewel of your collection – the one centerpiece that you hold above all the rest?
Justin: The Lebron 8 V2 MVP. That shoe was made prematurely and never released for obvious reasons since D. Rose won the MVP that season. I got two different versions of that shoe. One with a white swoosh, and one with a black swoosh. I have every MVP shoe that has been publicly seen for LeBron.
SN: What’s your ultimate grail that’s still missing from your collection – the one shoe at the top of your wish list if you could get your hands on it?
Justin: The Lebron 8 V2 Graffiti. He wore it during the lockout in a game in DC. I fell in love with that shoe and have not been able to track it down. I never had a grail until that shoe. I’m not sure if that has anything to do with my favorite shoes of all time being GR’s or what, but I NEED THAT SHOE!
SN: What’s a shoe that you’re showing us here that people might not know too much about?
Justin: I’m giving the world a first look at a pair of Air Max 95s that were made for LeBron and a short list of his friends. It has his logo stitched on the tongue. I have a bunch of running shoes that I did not put in pictures at all, but I think it’s pretty cool for an athlete of his stature to be able to get shoes from a different category at Nike made for him.
SN: What are a few shoes that are heavy in your current rotation?
Justin: As odd as it may sound, I wear a pair of Neon Flyknits and a pair of Roshe iD’s more than anything. I keep those two shoes at my house and everything else is in storage. So it’s a hassle that anytime I wanna rock a pair of kicks, I gotta drive to my storage. I do play basketball pretty often when my ankles are not all swollen and I tend to rock everything, but the LeBron 8 V2 Home colorway is what I wear most.
SN: What percentage of your collection is worn and how much is deadstock?
Justin: I would say 70/30 with 70% being worn. I do have a few shoes I have no intention on wearing, but other than that, mostly everything will be worn sooner or later.
SN: Have you ever had buyer’s remorse on a major purchase – where you put in a ton of work or money for a shoe and later ended up with a dusty box now wondering what you were thinking?
Justin: Yes. A few times actually. I think we all get that feeling that we “NEED” a pair and then we get it, look at it, take some pics, then put it back in the box.
SN: What’s a sleeper shoe that you love – something that might not be the most popular or well known model, but is one of your personal favorites?
Justin: I love Jordan 17’s. I have every released color and a few PE’s. I think the White/Red 17s are a sleeper in my collection. The oxidized Jordan 14 I would have to throw in there as well.
SN: What are your thoughts on the sneaker resale game?
Justin: I know resellers get a bad rap in this community, but I always tell people that I’m a collector first. I have a collection that are shoes that I love, and I have a story behind every pair and why and how I purchased them. I never let “hype” dictate what I buy, so I think that makes me enjoy my collection even more. I RARELY ever sell anything from my personal collection anymore.
SN: What’s the most recent pair you’ve picked up?
Justin: The Lebron X MVP for retail. I’m actually at the airport at the moment and just closed a deal to purchase the Lebron X Championship pack. I’m not much of a fan of either pair, but anything that can be tied to a big moment in LeBron’s career is a must have for me.
SN: What are some current or upcoming releases that are on your radar?
Justin: Honestly, not much. I don’t like the butchering of the Foamposite and don’t see anything appealing with any of these new colors. As of now, I’m not a fan of the Lebron 11 either, so hopefully something catches my eye soon. If not, I get more time to catch up on childhood shoes that I beat to the ground that I want again and have yet to retro.
A huge thanks to Justin for sharing a look at his incredible collection with us and all of you. Keep reading to see much more, including a look at his son’s collection of kids shoes, which likely puts many of yours to shame. You can keep up with Justin on his social media accounts and his blog TheHeatCheck, or drop some cash on the mouthwatering goodies he’s not keeping for himself over on InStyleShoes.