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For the love of His Airness.

Dubai: If the shoe doesn't fit, will you change the foot? It perhaps sounds preposterous to most but not to a group of shoe lovers who will convince you that they can just go any length to pick and flaunt a pair of their dream sneakers. Read Air Jordan sneakers, arguably one of the world's most popular sneaker brand designed, owned, and produced for basketball great Michael Jordan by Nike.

"It's not just about an undying passion for collecting them but also about showing as much pride in wearing them. Even if there's just the one shoe and that doesn't fit us, we are crazy enough in our heads to even reconstruct our foot to own and wear it," says Filipino Richard Vincencio, 34, who personally owns over 60 pairs of Air Jordan shoes that includes several 'heat' (high value) and limited edition sneakers.

"Some of these are really rare ones, so much so that they have gained iconic status worldwide today," adds Vincencio who last year, in a bid to bring together other passionate shoe collectors like him, founded the facebook community Air Jordan Middle East. having completed its first anniversary, Today the group has nearly 5,500 such 'sneaker heads' from the region in love and he says some of the members have individual collection of more than 20 pairs.

However the biggest collection within the group remains with Vicencio himself, a graphics designer by the day and a 'shoe lover' out and out. "What makes this group so special is that every member has the same level of interest in owning special pairs. Even members with a lesser quantity have a collection full of 'hot pairs' (high value). Then there are some members who even possess just a specific pair of collection often considered "big" in terms of the rarity of the sneakers," explains the man from Manila who claims the combined collection of just the founding members of the group is worth Dh60,000. Even those members with lesser number of pairs boast of a collection worth Dh15,000 and above, he adds.

So why do people collect these shoes, often very expensive? "The answer is simple - passion," says Paula Detaro, 23, a Filipina secretary who has bought a few special edition shoes online, paying in her words much more than she earns. "The thrill is many times more when you know that you own a sneaker Michael Jordan (often referred to as His Airness for his slam dunk abilities) wore to create history on the basketball court or may be own one of the only 50 pairs in the world that was produced" says Jobin, an IT administrator and amateur basketball player from Luzon.


Most of these shoes are bough online but how do they determine their authenticity?

Every Air Jordan sneaker that has been released has different ways of determining if its authentic or not.

1.Collectors research on the colourway of the Air Jordan. The same sneaker can have different colourways (sometimes special edition) and the only way to find out if it is legit is by checking from direct Nike supplier sites

2.Collectors check how the sneaker has been constructed by scrutinizing on the different parts of the shoe like the positioning of the Jumpman logo, the soles, the laces, the shoe tongue, etc.

3.The price tag on the sneakers. If it is lower than a $100 retail price it is questionable.

4.Collectors check on the sneaker style numbers as each type is unique and different. If it does not match the same style ID, they are not authentic

5.Collectors also determine is the pair is authentic through the authorized resellers.

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Publication:XPRESS (United Arab Emirates)
Date:Aug 13, 2015
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