Sneakerheads flooded the Tobin Community Center on Saturday afternoon with hopes of getting their hands on the most exclusive shoes in streetwear. Rap music played in the background as the young crowd of sneaker buffs maneuvered through the sea of people packed into the community center’s gymnasium.
The Boston Got Sole sneaker convention brought together sneaker enthusiasts from all across New England looking to buy, sell, and trade high-end footwear and apparel. An estimated 1,000 attendees circulated through the event space with many carrying shoe boxes while negotiating prices and making deals on the hottest sneakers.
The stylish crowd dressed in the latest streetwear fashions, with many donning apparel from Supreme and pricey retailer Off-White. The convention gave shoe lovers access to purchase sought after sneakers like Adidas Yeezy Boosts, NMDs, and Air Jordan’s in exclusive colorways which are virtually impossible to buy in store.
Boston Got Sole was founded by high school senior Jonathan DiModica and his older brother Joseph. DiModica’s passion for sneakers came about through tragic circumstances. Over five years ago, his family lost everything in a devastating house fire. In the aftermath of the incident, DiModica turned to high-end sneakers and apparel.
DiModica’s entrepreneurial mindset was apparent even at an early age when he started a small business, called J and N Restorations, with his best friend. The duo cleaned sneakers for short change, but DiModica was unsatisfied with the money coming in.
Subsequently, DiModica established a sneaker consignment business called We Got Sole. Customers pre-ordered sneakers ahead of hyped footwear releases and DiModica would track down the shoes, waiting in lines overnight to guarantee his clients a pair. The business began to make a profit of $60 to $70 per pair of shoes sold at a higher resale price.
DiModica faced yet another setback when sneaker stores put an end to overnight campouts and instead, sold sneakers though a raffle where everyone had equal shot. While in theory this was good business wise, it appeared to be the end for We Got Sole.
“This was horrible for my business,” DiModica said. “There was no longer a way for me to guarantee my customers a product.”
Fortunately that same day, the brothers went to their local mall to attend a sneaker convention. DiModica describes that he looked around the convention space and was immediately inspired to take the sneaker show concept and make it his own.
When one business ended, another one began. At just 14 years old, the ambitious young entrepreneur launched Boston Got Sole in 2013. DiModica’s mission was to create an event with more than just buying, selling, and trading sneakers. He wanted the convention to have a vibrant atmosphere with performers, giveaways, and raffles to add onto the overall experience.
The preparation for the convention began with the announcement of the date to the public. The company utilized its social media presence to advertise the event on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram. DiModica went to lengths traveling across New England, distributing fliers and posters in footwear stores to spread the word within the sneaker community.
DiModica described those who attend his events as businessmen, collectors, and enthusiasts.
According to him, the businessmen buy a lot of sneakers and look for a profit. The collectors aim to expand their shoe collections with the latest colorways. While the enthusiasts are just interested in the sneaker culture and attend for the experience.
Billy Saxton, one of the conventions largest vendors, described his aspirations to build a business around his love of exclusive footwear.
“A lot of my shoes I bought to sell,” Saxton said. “Hopefully one day I can take this passion and open my own sneaker store.”
The convention reinforces the fact that the most sought after sneakers right now are Kanye West’s Adidas Yeezy Boosts. Adidas now produces the Yeezys in more styles and larger quantities with everyone wanting to get their hands on a pair. DiModica believes West deserves the credit for elevating Adidas to the forefront of streetwear fashion.
DiModica explained that he thinks people are tired of wearing the same ordinary sneakers that can be found at every Foot Locker in the country, whereas footwear sold only at flagship stores in New York and Los Angeles are more desired.
“There is a certain status that comes with owning a rare pair of shoes that no one else has,” DiModica said.
DiModica made reference to Pharrell Williams, another prominent figure in fashion and music for a recent collaboration he did with Adidas. He praises Williams for designing a unique sneaker silhouette in bold colorways called the Human Race collection. He insists that sneakerheads are always looking for something out there and different which will set them apart.
DiModica is set to begin his studies at Bentley University in the fall, and he and his brother plan on hosting their next sneaker convention in April.
“What makes a sneaker special is definitely the hype,” DiModica said. “What will create that hype almost every single time is quantity.”
Featured Image by Will Batchelor / Heights Editor