Kicks+TixsTO 2014…Bigger and Better!

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Background:


Toronto is a place where you will find a vast amount of sneakerheads…most of which are very undercover. You will not catch many of them posting their kicks on social media or bragging about what they got to their inner circles. BUT, if you ever take the time to look down at the feet of Torontonians you will see sneakerheat that will blow your mind! Last year the Toronto Raptors Basketball Club which is part of Maple Sports and Entertainment took notice of the Toronto sneaker culture and put together Kicks+TixTO…an event to showcase sneakers and the sneakerheads that love their shoes.  This event took place on November 9th, 2013 at the Air Canada Centre, Gate 9. You could not ask for a better venue than this one…as you walked around the event you could see most of the attendees eyes light up from the ambiance of the venue…well actually it didn’t hurt that a couple of the Toronto Raptors Dance Pack dancers were walking around taking pictures with anyone who asked them to.

Fast forward to August 16th, 2014 and the sneakerheads are blessed with another top notch sneaker event…Kicks+TixTO again at the Air Canada Centre. But, this year the event is located on the inside of the arena instead at Gate 6. This means much more room for me people, more venders and MOST important more sneakers. Like, most sneaker events in Toronto I try my best to get in contact with the people putting it on so that I can get exclusive access and coverage of the whole event. After doing some serious digging through social media and speaking with various people I was put in contact with the Communications Manager for Maple Leaf Sports and Entertainment, Abby Albino.

Anytime I get the pleasure to speak with someone that is part of the organization I make sure to ask them the reasons for putting on events like these to see where their head is at. Abby took the time to give me a vast array of reasons why they put on the Kicks+TixTO event to demonstrate not only the benefit for sneakerheads, but to the community as well. Here are some of the points that she gave me for Maple Leaf Sports and Entertainment putting on this event:

  • Kicks+TixTo is a sneaker lifestyle event where sneaker fans can buy, sell and or trade rare and/or limited run sneakers with each other.
  • New this year is the incorporation of artists and clothing with strong influence drawing from the sneaker lifestyle.
  • Second Kicks+TixTO event
  • This year was bigger and better with the event happening on Air Canada Centre’s floor
  • A ticket to the event also includes a ticket to a Toronto Raptors game in the upcoming season (Game TBD)
  • Tickets were $23 before the event and $30 at the door
  • 30 vendor tables – sold out!
  • In less than two hours of the gates being open, there were more attendees than all day last event… final tally of attendees is just under 800
  • 50% of SNKRBOX’s net proceeds were donated to the MLSE Foundation
  • All proceeds of MLSE Foundation’s booth went to the Foundation
  • MLSE Foundation sold Toronto Raptors game worn and signed shoes and apparel

If you were lucky enough to attend this event last year you would know that this quite an upgrade and a welcomed one at that!

The Event:


The first thing I will admit is being an athlete back in high school I always wondered what it would be like to stand on the Raptors court so being a sneakerhead has enabled to me to kind of get one of those bucket list items out of the way. No…the actual Toronto Raptors court was not out, but just being in that area was good enough for me and judging by the looks on a lot of the attendees faces it was good enough for them as well.

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One the things that I noticed right away was there was much more space for you to walk around to take in this event. You were not shoulder to shoulder with people like last year. Most of the vendors had very nice displays setup either showcasing a sneaker collections, products, brands and services…in other words there was A LOT more than just sneakers at this event. This year’s event seem to bring out the best in a lot of the vendors because most of them pulled out all the stops with great big displays a very good usage of all of the space allotted to them. To set the mood of the afternoon the music was provided by DJ Cale Granton and the MC for the event was Mark Strong from G98.7 FM.

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At first glance I wasn’t really surprised at what I saw amongst the attendees…which was Jordans, Lebrons and Foamposites with the occasional Air Yeezy in the mix. A lot of the time you would expect to see things like this from the newer sneakerheads BUT there were many adults in the crowd as well that were rocking the same kicks. Don’t get me wrong…I LOVE ME some Jordans, but I knew from the jump wearing something that wasn’t even Nike would make me stand out…case and point…New Balance  574 in VOLT! Had to answer a lot of questions about these joints LOL

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Sneaker diversity is something that is often lacking in many so called sneakerhead’s collections and it looks like the team from Kicks+TixTO were really paying attention to this aspect of the culture.  Some of the notable companies that made an appearance at this event were Reebok who had healthy spread of classics that I’m pretty sure most people have never seen in person. Li-Ning was there showing off the latest in their offerings with the from their Dwayne Wade collection. Puma, who to me is HIGHLY underrated was there showing some of their timeless classics mixed up with some of their newer additions to their catalogue. Travel Fox was in attendance with a huge display of both classics as well as what is soon to come both in styles and colourways. The Toronto Love Kicks family was in there with a VERY good deal on some premium Asics for sale that were a great deal. It was great do see all these brands there to let the masses know that there are other sneakers on the market other than Nike.

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Aside from the big brands being there many of the other vendors were simply showcasing their collections for a friendly competition amongst sneakerheads. There were lots of great collections of sneakers with some people pulling out some really rare kicks to add some shock value to their collections. Lacking amongst most of the vendors was a nice a nice setup…something that the Sneaker Misfits seem to have on lockdown…hence making them repeat champions for the event. You would think after seeing what they presented last year people would learn to step up their game, but then again right now the Sneaker Misfits are in a league of their own! Special shout going out to @ldoggystyles, @misterqmart, @_spoonr and @jo_doooney for the win as well as all the support they have shown Sole Theory from the jump! Congrats guys!

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All in all Kicks+TixTO is an amazing event to get a sense of what the Toronto sneaker culture has to offer. Once the word gets out the masses I have no doubt that they will fill up that whole floor with people from both Toronto and other parts of Canada if not the United States. Personally, one my favourite parts of this event is seeing all the people from the sneaker community coming together in a very positive manner as well as…the Raptors cheerleaders…sorry I can’t even lie about that one! I think one of the things that may help boast attendence as well as awareness is somehow getting some of the players from the Toronto Raptors, Toronto Maple Leafs or the Toronto FC to come out and show not their sneaker heat, but some love to their local fans…but hey that’s just me!

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Can’t wait for Kicks+TixTO 2015…great work Maple Sports and Entertainment as well as a VERY big shout out and thanks to Abby Albino for the great exclusive access.

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About Sole Theory

Sole Theory is a sneaker lifestyle guide that explores the social impact of the sneaker culture. Users can expect to gain insight on recent trends, historic brands and signature styles that have heavily influenced the shoe industry. Content will be driven by articles, interviews and reviews that will uncover interesting facts and stories that have rarely been told.