While many brands are embracing the vintage trend by releasing sneakers with an aged aesthetic, hunting for truly unique vintage sneakers in wearable condition is an art in itself. Dennis Mazur, known as @sneakerdenn on Instagram, has turned his passion into a full-time job. We talked to him about the hunt, the vintage hype and big sizes.
Hey Dennis, how about a little introduction?
Hello! My name is Dennis. I am a seller and archivist of a curated selection of vintage iconic Nike Dunks, SBs, Air Jordan 1s, Air Force 1s, Bapes and Reeboks dating from 1985 to the late 2000s for the most part, and I own a clothing brand called Outsoul through which I ambition to retell iconic chapters from sneaker culture.
How did you get into sneakers? Do you remember the pair that got you hooked?
I’ve always enjoyed going into sneaker stores and window shopping as a kid, and the bi-yearly sneaker shopping for school or basketball was always the most exciting type of shopping to me. I went through Puma Suedes, Nike Blazers, a few Asics, Sauconys and Adidas NMDs.
But I wasn’t aware of the existence of a sneaker culture and history until my final year at university in 2018-19, when two of my friends on my basketball team introduced me to limited Jordans and the whole sneaker hype/resell market. After that, there was no turning back.
My first pair of Air Jordan 1s was the ‘Sports Illustrated’ in January 2019, shortly followed by the Air Jordan 4 ‘Flight Nostalgia’. My sneaker journey was under way! The two pairs that really got me hooked on Dunks were the Syracuse and Goldenrod colorways, which felt extremely special to me back in 2019-2020, right before the mega-mainstream Dunk resurgence.
What motivated you to turn your passion into a business?
Buying and selling are an essential aspect of sneaker culture. Although true passion for sneakers is what fueled my entering this culture and this ‘game’, trying my luck at raffles and on the SNKRS app to make a few extra bucks here and there was undeniably another fun aspect to this passion. It was never the plan to turn this passion into a business – it happened very organically.
I anticipated the return of the Nike Dunk with the rumors of the upcoming Off-White Dunk collaboration in the fall of 2019, started doing my research on the Dunk model (which I was not familiar with whatsoever back then), and realized there were a lot of affordable older models out there. I started making low-risk investments buying Dunks from the 2000s for as cheap as €25-€50 a pair while working a regular day job as a teacher.
As the Dunk craze grew and the pandemic hit, my side hustle took on another dimension and became a full-time business that I’ve been running for the past three and a half years!
How do you find the vintage sneakers you sell?
It’s a lot of hunting on the Ebays of the world, and through connections that have been made with collectors and sellers within this relatively niche part of sneaker culture.
Other than the most popular Nike models, you also offer a lot of lesser-known vintage silhouettes. And then a lot of the Reebok Ice Cream stuff. Is there a market for those pairs?
The lesser-known models are a segment that I particularly enjoy, because there is no true market for them, so it’s all up to me to dig out some cool stuff and give it justice by telling its story and taking cool pictures. Ice Creams kind of fit into this category. There isn’t that much of a market for them, but I like creating it by curating an interesting and relevant selection and showcasing them to a new public that is not necessarily familiar with them.
You carry a lot of very big sizes. Is there a particular reason?
Nice spotting! Yes, I sell sneakers to a lot of NBA and NFL players, who all wear size 13s and up. Those size 14s and 15s are extremely hard to come by in the vintage stuff, so it’s my job to make sure I secure them when I see them in order to then offer them to my clients.
I’ve gotten my hands on crazy pairs such as size 15 Stussy SBs and OG Skunks, size 14 Red Lobsters and Black Cement Supremes, amongst many others. It’s a lot of fun to hunt down as all these pairs are true unicorns in these sizes!
What do you think the next trend in sneaker culture will be?
In recent months, you can definitely spot new trends arising within Nike such as Foamposites, Footscapes, Air Max 95s or Air Max Plus. I think the market is saturated with Dunks, Jordan 1s and Jordan 4s, although they are among my favorite silhouettes of all time.
The vintage push that Nike made with the Air Ship, Terminators and Mac Attacks seems to have come slightly too late, the peak of the neo-vintage wave being between 2020 and 2022 I would say.
It is definitely an interesting time in sneakers though, as there isn’t a clear trajectory like we could see since 2019 with Jordan 1s, then Dunks and SBs. The market has cooled down because of the redundance of the sneaker landscape, and more underdog brands such as Hoka, Salomon or New Balance are making serious waves.