Sole Exchange – The Ultimate Sneaker Show

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One of the great things about being a part of Sole Theory is being able to attend the great sneaker events that are held in Toronto as well as getting exclusive access to them. Early this summer an event by the name of Sole Exchange was brought to my attention and I had never heard about it, but within days I saw the buzz showing up on my Instagram timeline. From what I saw I knew it was something that I would have to check out, especially seeing it was right in neck of the woods…

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With just days before Sole Exchange was going down I decided to reach out to people in charge of the event via social media. (side note: Isn’t social media a GREAT tool when used correctly?) I was able to get a hold of Alvin Sidlacan who was one of the organizers of the event and was able to organize getting me some media passes for the event.  But as always I had to ask him to give me some background behind Sole Exchange and why they were putting this event together…here is the answer that I got:

“It all started when I met my partner for a local sneaker trade deal. We both got acquainted and connected once in a while to talk about sneakers, sneakers, and more sneakers. Eventually, we came across a conversation noticing how sneaker events/conventions in the city are uncommon. We were then fascinated about the idea of hosting such an event in the GTA. It was once just a “dream” Who would’ve known if we could do it? We thought of every obstacle ahead of us if we were to attempt hosting an event knowing that we’re just two young dudes and nothing more. Despite having all odds against us, it never really halted our chase towards our aspirations. Instead, it motivated us to make it a reality. Thus, Sole Exchange Canada was born. We put it all together solely for the city. More specifically to give sneaker enthusiasts a.k.a. “sneaker heads” around the GTA the opportunity to come together and share the same passion we have.
Our mission is to sustain the overwhelming love for the shoe game and act as a foundation for all sneaker heads to look upon. Who wouldn’t love a building full of sneakers anyway? To have everyone looking forward to our events is a plus. Due to the success of our first event, we envision ourselves growing amongst fellow sneaker movements and/or organizations and continue catering to all sneaker aficionados out there who have shown us a huge amount of support. We cannot stress how thankful we are, for without them, we have not been able to step our foot into doing this. To sum it all up, all we can say is that we did it for the love of the game.”

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Sole Exchange “The Ultimate Sneaker Show” took place on Saturday August 9th 2014 at On The Rox on 1600 Steeles Avenue West, Vaughan, Ontario from 11 am to 7 pm. It was a very nice spot with lots of space for people to walk around as well as had a great floor layout for the vendors to take advantage of to set up their collection of kicks or merchandise. To check out this event I got together with Jemelle Williams (@iamsoca) from YYZ Hilightz (@yyzhilightz) and photographer Jalani Morgan (@jalanimorgan) to take in the Sole Exchange event.  It was the first time my companions were taking in an event like this so I was doing a lot of explaining in regards to sneaker culture and why we do what we do as a sneaker community for them to understand…but once they got a taste Toronto sneaker culture no more explanation was really needed at all! At these events it is all love and respect for both the sneakerheads, their kicks and the culture. Most people would think with thousands of dollars worth of sneakers sitting around something would get stolen or damaged…but from what I have experience it has always been a beautiful safe environment!

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Like most sneaker events there were lots of vendors there…people showing off their collections, people selling shoes, selling paraphernalia like key chains, clothing and various services, as well as brands like Peak Canada were there showcasing what’s to come from them this 2014-15 NBA season. I also got the chance to chat with my man Dom from Doms Restorations doing his thing at the event and networking…as I said in the past if you have a pair of kicks that need life brought back into them he is the person that I would HIGHLY recommend doing it for you!  It was a great vibe seeing people from the sneaker community coming out to support a newer event as well as getting to see the different generation of sneakerheads out there. I even got to catch up with some of Toronto’s finest, The Sneaker Misfits who came through to show some love! (If you truly want to know what sneaker culture is about…you NEED to check these guys out!)

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Usually when you attend these events you will tend to see the same thing over and over again…Jordans, Lebrons and Foamposites in every year, colourway, size and style possible. BUT, for once I saw something different…there were a couple people there that actually had collections of rare kicks that were hard to find when they originally released much less now. One of the most notable collections belonged to Juice (@Kamakacci_Juice) who not only had a lot of the newer kicks, BUT he had A LOT of vintage kicks from the likes of Fresh Prince of Bel Air, Martin, In Living Color, 227 and A Different World era! (If I’ve lost you here then you know you need to break out them DVD sets and start paying close attention to 90s sneaker game) What was even more impressive…they were worn! He wears them…and does it with no problems. Too often people will have some nice kicks, but they will have them just to say that they do and nothing else…WEAR YOUR SHOES!!! If that wasn’t enough though…my man had the 90’s gear to match all the shoes! I’m talking about team jackets, snap backs from all the vintage brands and so on…it took me back! Good looking out Juice!

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There were something for everyone’s tastes at this event and what made it so impressive was the fact that this was the first one! I know it is not an easy thing to pull off a sneaker event of any kind so my hat goes off to both Alvin Sidlacan and his partner Mathus Kanaga for putting together and amazing event! Sole Exchange will definitely get better and better as the years go on and make sure you DO NOT miss it! Alvin also wanted to make sure that Dalton Jackson aka Jaffy (@yongejaffy) got a shout out for all the hard work he put in as well to make this event possible. You know you have put together a good event when people from outside the culture can come and take in vibe and leave with not only a better understanding of sneaker culture, but a better respect for it as well! It is not always about how many shoes you have and how much they cost to you…it is what the shoes mean to YOU and the story behind them…real sneakerheads know what I’m talking about…

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I would like to send a special thank you out to Alvin Sidlacan for giving me full access to Sole Exchange that day it was greatly appreciated. It was an amazing event and I was glad to take in the first one because I know it will grow just like the sneaker community of Toronto continues to garnish notoriety around the world! Keep up the good work!

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*ALL PHOTO CREDIT GOES TO JALANI MORGAN

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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.