RICHMOND, Va., -- A majority of the hundreds of sneakerheads waiting in line for the sale of a Nike shoe left Carytown empty-handed. Only a few dozen who were given wristbands outside the Need Supply Co. left happy.
Rich Love, a New York City native, drove from Chicago to Richmond to stand in line for the Nike Air Max 97/1 beginning Saturday. The self-professed Sneakerhead was giddy as he opened his pair of $160 sneakers designed by a local artist.
"I'm getting a nice little outift and I'm going to wear them," Love said. "Half of these guys will probably sell them. A true sneakerhead wears his items."
Roberto Graham drove from New York City and waited 72 hours to stand fifth in line for the sneakers.
"I've been waiting for this shoe since last year. People will never touch this shoe," Graham yelled. "This is a perfect, perfect shoe."
Collectors from as far away as Ohio, New York and Florida drove in for the release.
The shoes are designed by Sean Wotherspoon, who won a Nike contest “RevolutionAir” that brought together 12 of the influential creatives to reimagine the Air Max. Wotherspoon’s 90s-inspired corduroy design was a hit with voters.
Wotherspoon is a Virginia native who now lives in Los Angeles.
A sample pair of the shoes sold on eBay recently for $96,000. Others were on sale for as much as $2,500 plus shipping.
Richmond was the first city in the world to publicly release the Air Max 97/1s.
"No wristbands, no barricades, no security"
Need Supply Co. hired two off duty officers, but 25 more officers were called out overnight Tuesday to help control the growing crowd.
Police said that crowds of over 500 people showed up Monday evening and around 4 a.m. police sent people home. A store manager started to hand out wristbands when the crowd got crazy and people tried cutting the line.
"I've never seen anything like this. It was calm for days. Ten minutes before they started handing out the wrist bands 150 people rushed the door," Graham described. "Police came and separated a couple of people. But, it was all worth it."
Police said they planned on keeping additional officers on scene through the morning, in case more people showed up.
"The cops a big chunk of the time police were just watching with macing bottles waiting for us to get crazy instead of organizing the crowds," Mario Reyes said. "I'm upset, and I buy a lot from Nike."
Around 30 people were given wristbands to buy the shoes. On Tuesday morning, Need Supply Co. opened the doors to allow people to go in four at a time to purchase the shoes. There are still people lined up on Belmont Avenue and across the street, who hope they too can also get the shoes.
But, Need Supply Co. had made it clear that only the 30 with wristbands can buy them.
Just before noon, managers closed the store to the public and announced they may release the remaining shoes. They did not specify how many shoes they had on stock.
Wotherspoon will head to L.A. for the West Coast release on Wednesday. The shoes will be released to the public in March 2018.
The shoes have a variegated corduroy colorway, unfinished edges, dual pull tabs, tonal laces, removable velour insoles and exclusive ‘have a NIKE day’ graphics. The shoe is also completely vegan.