Sneaker Talk With DJ Grouch

Now with the all the new technology floating around everyone and their grandmother call themselves a DJ, but when it comes to being a pure DJ they are far and few between…let me introduce you to DJ Grouch. Grouch is as pure as they come when it comes to being a DJ seeing that he has been doing it at the top level for approximately 24 years and still going strong. A lot of people like to use the term “legend” when referring to many people that they consider great, but DJ Grouch is well respected amongst his DJ peers and people within the entertainment industry in Toronto.

He is a well decorated DJ battle champion by himself as well as being part of the Legendary Turnstylez Crew with his partners D Scratch and Lil Jaz. Grouch has been featured on some of Toronto’s long running successful radio shows like the SoundCheck Show and Strait Frum Da Undergound as well as countless guest appearances on various radio shows. Grouch remains very busy to this day because he still does various club venue appearances as well he has taken a step in the direction of music production (which he is VERY good at by the way). One of the most admirable things that DJ Grouch has done is taken the time to pass his knowledge and skills as a teacher, mentor and role model at Scratch Lab in Toronto.

This (Scratch Lab) is where I first met Grouch and it is where I noticed that he had a WICKED sneaker game. Week after week I would see him with his kicks matching everything he had on from his hat all the way down. It may not sound like a big deal, but it is not always easy to match your outfits with the kicks that he was sporting. So, it was a no brainer for Sole Theory to reach out to Grouch and have a chat about how sneakers have influenced and affected his life.

Who in the industry would you say has the best sneaker game that you’ve seen?
DJ wise I would say P-Plus I have seen him with some pretty sick sneakers. Not a DJ, but an industry guy…Craig Mannix. Yeah, he has a sick Jordan game…yeah Big C (Craig), he’s that dude!

How many kicks do you own?
Well you know…not that many surprisingly. I would say under 50 (pairs).

So it is quality over quantity?
Yeah, definitely quality over quantity. I have never been the type of dude to buy 2 or 3 pairs of the same shoe. I just buy a pair and move on. I would like to have 2 pairs of some shoes but…

If you could re-release any sneaker, what sneaker would it be?
I would re-release the (Air) Jordan 4s in the military blue, but if I had my way I would want them to re-release them with the Nike Air on the back of them.

What sneaker would you never wear and why?
I’m not into jacked up high top sneakers or those moon boots. (Laughs) I like simple classic shoes man.

So you like the sneakers from the 80’s and 90’s?
Yeah, pretty much. Not too flashy.

What appeals to you the most about a sneaker ie; color, design, cut, material?
Definitely the colour…colour is very important when it comes to the shoe. As well…not too many crazy colour combinations on it. A simple shoe. The quality of the material is also important. I mean a lot of the shoes that come out now the paint on them cracks so fast now. I remember having my (Air) Jordan 4s in 89 for a whole year and the paint did not crack. I actually remember popping the air bubble on them.

On purpose?
Yeah, you know you’re a teenage and you just wanted to see what it’s like. You’re like (points down at the air bubble heel of his Air Jordan 4s) “What is this?” So, yeah I popped it and I really regret it now.

But, yeah…that’s pretty much it. I just want something that’s not going to rip, that’s not going to tare. Something with some sort of  durability because a lot of the shoes have become cheaper these days.


Do you have any buyers remorse/a sneaker you regret purchasing and why?
Ummm…they were nice mind you, but I bought these New Balance…umm…joggers. They were like brown…they were all one colour. I wore them like once of twice…they are actually still at my house. I don’t know I just wasn’t feeling them, but that has been my only regret that I can think of.

What’s the most you’ve spent on a pair of kicks? Which ones?
(Laughs and hangs his head in shame) Well…ummm…I bought on ebay…I’m probably not going to say the price because it will get me in trouble with my wife. I bought the Air Trainer 1s…the Bo Jacksons 1-12 pack…they were the ones that DJ Clark Kent put out. I bought them like 2 years ago…No; It was about 4 years ago. They have 3M grey, black and neon yellow. I bought them on ebay and paid over 3 bills ($300) for them. (Starts laughing).


That’s fine you’re a collector right?
Yeah, but I don’t even wear them that much. (Pauses) But I’m a big DJ Clark Kent fan and they were fly kicks. He is a legend in the DJ game as well as the shoe game.

What’s the worst sneaker you owned as a kid?
Oh…umm…Racerboks. Some Canadian generic Reebok imitation joints that you could get at Bi-Way or Bargain Harold’s. Yeah…Racerboks were the worst!

Is there a sneaker you missed out on?
Umm…there were so many that I wished I could have copped (got).

Which is the one that makes you say “Oh lord I wish I could have had that one!”?
The last thing that came out that I wanted was that Jordan pack, the “23 Pack”. It was the one that had the black cements (Air Jordan IV) and the others ones…(starts laughing) I didn’t really care for that’s why I didn’t buy them. I’m really just a (Air) Jordan I through V guy. But, I actually broke that rule because I bought a pair of (Air Jordan) VIIs.

The (Air Jordan) VIIs are sweet though!
Yeah, you’re right they were nice…but yeah, I could not bring myself to pay $400 for the set just for only one pair (Air Jordan IV) and then try to sell the other pair (Air Jordan XIX) online and risk no one buying them. Other than that I also wanted to get the early (Nike Air) Flights. I remember looking at the EPMD album covers thinking to myself “I want to get those shoes!”

What’s your top 3 kicks of all time?
I would definitely say any of the (Air) Jordan IVs. The (Air) Jordan IIIs and the Air Trainer I.


When you are going to be playing out, which shoes do you wear for comfort, or do you sacrifice comfort for style?
I would say I go for comfort first, style is secondary because you going to be standing up for 4 to 5 hours. It plays a lesser role, but I mean if you are wearing all black and you throw on a pair of (Air) Jordan Vs that are all black…I actually got all black (Air Jordan) Vs with the “23” on the side and I can actually say that they are quite comfortable. The last pair of (Air Jordan) Vs that I had were too narrow and hurt my feet.

Do you find looking for a good sneaker is almost the same as when you had to dig in crates for a good record…you find something you know no one else will have?
Ya, because a lot of the old gems don’t come out the way that they use to. So when you see a real good shoe on a drop (right away) you want to get it. So it is like buying records… (pauses)…I miss record shopping because I don’t get to do it as much as I did back in the day.

Have you ever saved a sneaker saved a particular sneaker that you bought to unveil it for a special event?
(Smiles) Today! (He points down to his red, white and blue Air Jordan IIIs). You told me to wear something good so…I wore these. If I wore my other ones it wouldn’t be good because they pretty old. I actually have cement laces for them, but I didn’t have time to put them in. These are actually the only shoe that I have doubles of.

So you brought out the fresh ones then?
Yeah, I couldn’t wear the other ones because they have a crack right here (pointing to the instep of his Air Jordan IIIs)

Do you think you have ever suffered from sneaker envy?
Oh yeah all the time! You will be looking at another cat’s (person) feet and wonder “wow where did he get those?”

When you are thinking of picking up some kicks is there a place that you know that you are going to head to get them?
You know what lately it has just been online, but I also have a couple friends in the industry that give me a hook up. Some of the shoe stores that I would go to are places like Live Stock, Good Foot back in the day; sometimes I will check Si Vous Play. But if it is a general release I will more then likely just go online to try and get them.

Sole Theory would like to thank DJ Grouch for his time and sharing his opinions on the sneaker culture. As you can see, Grouch knows his sneakers and has been around long enough to see some of the best sneakers released to date.

Make sure to take the time to follow DJ Grouch on twitter @DJGrouch as well as add him on facebook at If you want to take up the art of becoming a GOOD DJ visit Grouch at Scratch Lab to be taught how to really do it properly. The fact that you can say you learned from a respected DJ like DJ Grouch alone will do wonders for you!

To check out some wonderful work DJ Grouch has put together please check out the following sites:

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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.