Kicks Fest brings sneakerheads together Saturday in Montgomery

  • The fifth annual KIcks Festival is Saturdays from noon to 7 p.m. at 2815 Forbes Drive, Montgomery

Marqus Stokes could walk in a different pair of sneakers every day for a year and a half.

“I lost count a long time ago,” said Stokes, an unabashed Montgomery sneakerhead. “I have about at least 500, and it keeps growing. It is constantly growing.

He’ll likely find a few more for his collection at the fifth annual Kicks Fest Sauce Extravaganza Saturday from noon to 7 p.m. at 2815 Forbes Drive in the Resurrection Catholic Missions gymnasium. Arrington said it was a $10 entry fee.

Anthony Arrington, left, and Vincente Simmons show off exclusive sneakers at their boutique, Too Much Sauce Sneaks, in Montgomery, Ala., on Monday, June 24, 2019.

“I wanted to bring everyone together,” said Kicks Fest organizer Anthony Arrington of Too Much Sauce Sneaks in Montgomery. He’s another sneakerhead who grew up in Woodley Park in Montgomery wearing high-top Nike shoes such as Air Jordans and Air Max Charles Barkleys. His childhood obsession turned into a serious collection, which other people wanted to buy.

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“Back then (in the 80s and 90s) the quality was better for me,” Arrington said. “If you have a pair of Jordans, you’ll try to play like him (NBA legend Michael Jordan). These days you try not to wrinkle them because the value is much higher.”

Arrington said they would be holding a raffle and using the gym’s basketball goals. A prize will be offered for someone who makes a “difficult shot,” Arrington said.

Previous Kicks Fests have drawn diverse crowds to Montgomery, both sneakerheads who have been in the game for decades and new collectors looking for something different. In addition to shoes, Arrington said Kicks Fest also features vendors with clothing lines.

“This will be the first one I can attend because I’m still working,” said Stokes, a tattoo artist. “I will program around that this year. (Arrington) always asks me to come, and I really want to show him my support. I usually go to Georgia for conventions, but haven’t been there for a few years now, so I need this.

He is not alone. Stokes said while the sneaker drive is huge in Montgomery, outside of Kicks Fest, there are few local opportunities to get those valuable shoes in one place. Stokes has gradually built up its collection over years of online shopping and connections in other cities.

Stokes’ love for shoes dates back to the 90s when he started his collection and was passionate about Jordans.

Montgomery sneakerhead Marqus Stokes with some of the sneakers from his collection of around 500.

“But I got married and had to quit,” he said. “I started around 2011, and I’ve been going strong ever since.”

His collection is a mix of new and used, and he’s very selective when it comes to second-hand.

“Basically it has to look like it hasn’t been worn,” Stokes said. “What we call in sneakerhead terms NDS or VNDS” – Near Dead Stock or Very Near Dead Stock.

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“A dead stock means it hasn’t been touched, it hasn’t been tried. There’s nothing wrong with that,” Stokes said.

These days, Air Max shoes are his thing, but Stokes also has plenty of Jordans and such.

Montgomery sneaker collector Marqus Stokes holds a pair of Adidas Boba Fett shoes (from Star Wars) with peel off paint.

Many of Stokes’ shoes are true collector’s items, like his Adidas Boba Fett (Star Wars) with the peel-off paint or Nike Gundam (anime). He has Ben & Jerry’s Nike SB Dunk Low’s worth around $2,500, Nike LeBron James “Space Jam” shoes, and Kobe Bryant’s with Bruce Lee stripes.

Stokes has several versions of Jordans forbidden style, in black leather with red highlights and soles. One of them worth around $3,500 is even rarer due to a date error inside. Stokes said they were called banned because the colors violated NBA uniform rules.

On the front is the Nike LeBron of the LeBron James "space jam" film.

“(Jordan) got fined every time he put that shoe on,” Stokes said.

Stokes is particularly proud of their 2016 Jordan/Air Max combo pack. Sold separately, you could probably get around $3,000 for the shoes.

“My most coveted pair, probably the favorite in my collection, are my Atmos Air Max 1s,” Stokes said. “They put an ode to Jordan here with the elephant print. They have the Jordan symbol at the bottom.

While many of Stokes’ shoes are named after celebrities, Stokes hasn’t touched on the sneakers they’ve actually worn. He wants to wear all his shoes, even if it’s just for a little while. The condition, value and size of celebrity shoes would make this difficult.

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Here is a shoe suitable for anime fans, the Nike Gundam from the Marqus Stokes collection.

“I don’t have a pair that is unworn,” he said. “I wear all the pairs. I try to put them on the first day I get them if I can. I can’t wear them all at once, so I try to put them on when I can.

Stokes’ love of sneakers is passed on to his children, a son and daughter who also receive many collectible shoes.

Anthony Arrington hosts the fifth annual Kicks Fest in Montgomery.

“They’re doing so well in school, so I’m trying to break my neck to get it for them,” he said.

Stokes said her shoes were also an investment in her children’s future.

“I have the pleasure of wearing them. I wear them, wear them, wear them. That’s all I need,” Stokes said. “When (kids) get old enough and need to go to college, all they need is what it’s going to give. It is for sale possibly, at some point.

Although Arrington has no children of his own, he has several nieces and nephews who become sneakerheads.

“They just like Jordans,” Arrington said.

Montgomery sneaker collector Marqus Stokes with one of his banned Jordans.

Take care of your kicks

So you want to start a sneaker collection, and maybe wear them too? Here are some tips to keep your shoes looking great.

  • Store them in a cool, dry place away from direct sunlight. It’s not that hard at first until 20 pairs turn into 50, then 100, then hundreds. When you’re short on storage space, consider turning a guest bedroom into a shoebox or renting an air-conditioned storage space.
  • If you choose to display your kicks on shelves and the like, keep a few hidden and rotate the display ones with these to avoid damage from exposure.
  • If you keep your sneakers in their original box, consider putting the shoes themselves in resealable plastic bags. Clear plastic shoe boxes are also an option, and you can store the original boxes separately.
  • Air out your shoes from time to time to prevent mold damage and cracking.
  • Prevent your shoes from shrinking by stuffing them with a shoe tree, clean socks, or cotton wool.
  • If you wear your collection of shoes, clean them gently and keep them fresh.

Contact Montgomery Advertiser reporter Shannon Heupel at [email protected]

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