There's a fine line between being a sneaker fan and a full-blown obsessive sneaker fan. Strangely enough, N-SB.org's creator and editor in chief Jeremy Wilder falls in the former category. Although he knows way more than the average bear about Nike and Nike SB product, Wilder doesn't categorize himself as a sneakerhead as much as he does a creator of a special place in internet land where fans and sneaker nuts alike can come together, trade information, tell stories and share photos of the shoes they love. CCS caught up with Wilder this week to get the full story from his humble beginings to his standings today as one of footwear's top bloggers. Here's what he had to say.
How did you first become interested in sneaker culture? How long have you been involved? What got you hooked?
My stroke of luck came in convincing my mom to buy a pair of Reebok Pumps for the first day of middle school. I got somewhat hooked after the Pumps were torn apart with ollie holes. I got an appreciation of wearing something unique that I’ll always associate with that time and place.A lot of it also was initiated from my days working at a surf and skate store on the oceanfront in Virginia Beach.
Are you an avid collector like most sneakerheads? How big is your collection? How do you determine which shoes to save and which ones to let go?
I’m not an avid collector at all although I did become absorbed in it for a minute. It was fun, but sneaker collecting is way different now. I think I have probably 14 pairs of sneakers. Most of my recent pickups come from the Nike outlet. You vote with your wallet, you know? Especially a skate shoe that's designed for shredding. The one's that were "rare" I let go simply because I wasn't going to wear them and the ones I did I would always get so worried about messing them up that it just turned into a hassle. I constantly trip over my own feet, so they would be much better in the hands of someone else.
Dunk Low Pro by Nike SB
Let's talk a bit about NSB.org. What is it? How did you start it? Who looks at it? What makes NSB different than other footwear blogs?
NSB basically stemmed from an idea and an obsession I had with XBOX and Star Wars Episode 3. There were two really awesome forums that I checked on the regs—x-scene.com and millenniumfalcon.com. Long story short, I think I tried to join Niketalk and it was locked down for joining and the Nike SB hype was crazy at the time. So I just took the XBOX forum structure and applied it to what I felt was a void in the scene. Later on I made an eBay auction for one million dollars to broadcast the original Nikeskateboarding.org domain and the rest kind of flowed from there. Lawsuits from Nike legal hit near peak of the site's popularity and we ended up ditching the old domain. So what you see today on the site is something I feel proud to be a part of and it's also been a great tool of education for me. We've built a marketplace that spans from resellers all the way to local business. They'll be more on that soon. It's a fairly unique commerce platform that's worked out pretty well so far.
Why Nike? What makes Nike so important in the world of footwear? In what ways do you feel NIke and Nike SB have changed sneaker culture over the years?
I ask myself that same question often—how much better can a shoe be? Skate shoes from the 90's are so different than what we have today. There was so much padding on them before and now you have a sole and virtually no padding. Nike’s quest for innovation is probably the one thing that can be identified with their success and their deep marketing pockets. The site’s roots stem from being a fan of their skate division. I think ultimately Nike SB has upped the stakes where brands have to make better quality products and innovation.
P.Rod 5 Lr by Nike SB
What's an average day in the life of a top footwear blogger look like?
I wish I could take that honor. [laughs] NSB has been fortunate as of late to have some really great contributors flesh it out and make it fun to read. As for my daily run around, it consists of checking the site for any major issues and writing code—test, rinse and repeat.
Are there any particular shoes you like the best? What are some of your all time favorite footwear brands, models, exclusives, etc?
I bought a pair of P.Rod 5's recently and they're awesome and the P.Rod 7 looks interesting as well. My favorite design is the Puma Clyde. I also picked up a pair of Converse Sea Star S last year and they fit amazing and break in very well. Some of the upcoming stuff from New Balance Numeric looks cool too. Ultimately the go to shoe for me is the Dunk Low and I’m currently on the hunt for some Boca Jrs.
P.Rod 7 by Nike SB
What about skateboard shoes? Have you seen the skateboard world taking cues from some of the more mainstream footwear brands in terms of their approach to building and delivery quality stories around product?
To a degree I think the footwear from the early to mid 2000s was in a weird state where form and functionality weren't exactly there. When I worked at the skate counter I saw the D3 from Osiris was fairly popular then—at least on the east coast. I’m not sure what they're doing currently, but I remember times when I would be in a mall a few years down the road and see inspiration from the stuff Nike SB did showing up in other products. As far as stories go, nothing really has had the impact or honeymoon phase like the Nike collabs—at least in the skate footwear world.