Meet JD Cortez, a student-turned-young-professional sneaker enthusiast. Being in the game for almost 6 years isn't a surprising fact for everyone. His collection, which consists of highly sought after pairs, will surely catch your eye. But for JD, sneakers is not the primary meaning of being a "sneakerhead". Sounds strange? Today, as you read this, we hope JD's words can inspire you in different ways.
What makes him extra special in the community? Find it out in our exclusive Q&A.
JD Cortez: I began collecting sneakers when I was in 3rd year high school. But my love for sneakers began with a pair of black and yellow Nike Air Flight Gary Paytons, it was something I wore for almost 2 years. I've always had my love for basketball as I used to play the sport for Ateneo.
I can say that, my love for basketball honed my passion for sneakers.
"I began collecting as early as 3rd year high school. But my story began with a black and yellow Nike Air Flight Gary Payton sneaker, it was something I wore for almost 2 years. Dati kasi yung shoes para sakin it's only once a year. Syempre, I had my love for basketball as I used to play basketball for Ateneo. I can say that my love for basketball honed my passion for sneakers."
JD: For me, sneakers is an extension of my passion for basketball. It made me develop my way of collecting sneakers. When I stopped playing, I lost piece of me. But with sneakers, I'm always reminded of my roots.
"For me, sneakers is an extension of basketball kasi, because it’s my passion. So na-develop yung pag-collect ng sneakers. When I stopped playing, nawala yung piece of me – but with sneakers I’m always reminded with my roots."
JD: It took me 23 hours in Nike Park BGC to successfully purchase a Jordan 11 "Concord". Before, the word "hype" triggered the release to be so big, with the sneaker having a sense of "everyone had to had it". The release was done in the traditional way of lining up, plus it taught me how to sleep outside a store with random people - all for the love of the sneaker game.
"My most memorable sneaker moment was when I lined up for 23 hours to purchase a Jordan 11 “Concord”. Dati the word “hype” triggered the release to be so big and the sneaker had the sense of “everyone had to had it”. What happened was the traditional way of lining up for a sneaker. It taught me how to sleep outside a store with random people - all for the love of the sneaker game."
JD: Right now, I have 115 pairs. It’s a combination of basketball shoes and lifestyle sneakers from various brands such as Nike (my first love), ASICS, adidas, New Balance, Saucony, Reebok, Puma. All of which I learned from SA. My favorite of them all? The St. Alfred x Asics Gel-Lyte III, the adidas NMD “OG”, and my Nike Air Max Zero.
JD: I do not regret passing on any sneaker because there will always be another pair out there. But sometimes, there are sneakers that I really want and we don't have access to it. For me, sneakers is a part of my DNA, and at the same time having sneakers is an expression of who you are and who you want to be.
Due to logistical and availability reasons, I purchase some of my "must-have" pairs from other collectors - who are very helpful.
"I don’t regret passing on sneakers because lagi naman magkakaroon pa naman iba dyan. Pero sometimes, meron mga sneakers na sobrang gusto ko tapos hindi accessible satin. Kasi to me, sneakers is a part of my DNA, at the same time sneakers is having an expression of who you are, and who you want to be. Yung mga sneakers na hindi ko nakuha, due to logistical/availability reasons, I purchase from other collectors, which are very helpful naman."
JD: I learned about SA when I was in college because of the original Sneaker Hunt. During that time, I wanted a classy, fashionable, presentable sneaker - which Sole Academy had that time. It started with a Vans California, which was available that time at the store.
"I learned about SA when I was in college, because of the original Sneaker Hunt. During college I wanted a classy, fashionable, presentable sneaker which Sole Academy had. It started with a Vans California, which was available that time at the store."
JD: I'll go with an Asics Gel-Lyte III. I'm very proud of my school, so it will be Blue / White with a touch of black and maybe gray. Just the combination of the right accents and materials such as suede and leather. I'll call it the ”Asics Gel-Lyte III Blue Eagle".
"Siguro, I’ll go with an Asics Gel-Lyte III. I’m very proud of my school, so I’ll go with a Blue/White pair with a touch of black and maybe grey. Just a combination of the right accents, combination of suede and leather. Maybe call it a Blue Eagle Gel-Lyte III."
JD: It's crazy, super crazy. Just like me, I waited in line for 23 hours for an Air Jordan. Everyone has their own reason, but at the end of the day it boils down to the love for sneakers. So I think it's really crazy, because people can do anything for a sneaker.
"Crazy, sobrang crazy. Parang ako, pumila ako for 23 hours for a Jordan. Siyempre, kanyang kanya rason yan bakit pumipili, pero at the end of the day everyone loves sneakers. So it’s really crazy, because people can do anything for a sneaker."
JD: In 5 years, I think the sneaker game will still be very in demand. Before, big releases only happened every once every quarter,once a month, and now big releases happen every week. Maybe in 5 years big releases can happen.. (pauses and smiles) everyday?
But for me the most important part of the sneaker game is the sneaker community. The scene should promote passion and love, instead of hate and arrogance. There should be a constant collaboration of helping each other out.
"In 5 years, sobrang lakas padin ng sneaker game. Dati once a quarter lang ang big releases, naging once a month, tapos ngayon parang every week na. Siguro in 5 years everyday na? But for me the most important part of the sneaker game is the sneaker community. Kasi doon, it promotes passion, love, instead of hate and pagyayabang. There should be a constant collaboration of helping each other out."
JD: I look up to my father, because he is the most selfless and genuine man I know. He is the type of person that puts others first before himself. I felt his sacrifices as placed aside his personal wants for me to finish my education.
When we got a bit well-off, he supported my love for shoes. I idolize him because he knows how to mingle with others, which is important in this world. Like in the sneaker game, it's very important to be nice, to be genuine, and to be friendly to others. Basically, treat others how you want to be treated.
"I look up to my father, because he is the most selfless and genuine man I know. Inuuna kasi niya yung kapwa niya kesa sa sarili niya, na-feel ko yun before as he would sacrifice his personal wants for me to finish my education. When we got a bit well-off, pinagbigyan niya ako with my love for shoes. I idolize him because marunong siya makisama, which is important sa mundong ito. Parang sa sneaker game, it’s very important to be nice, genuine, and be friendly to others.
Kung anong trato ang gusto mo for yourself, yun din dapat trato mo sa ibang tao."
JD: For me, the most important thing is to be yourself, just be who you are. There will always be people who will pull you down because they will never understand what you do.
I have to quote a good line from Macklemore: "These Nikes help define me, but I'm trying to take mine off." Yes, the sneaker game is an expensive hobby, but like what I said, it's part of your DNA and it's who you are. Just be proud of yourself and live within your means. And never forget those who helped you get to where you are.
At the end of the day, my wish for the sneaker community is peace and unity. Just promote passion and love for sneakers. If you didn't get the pair you wanted, remember, there will always be a different pair. Always give a helping hand to others.
"For me, the most important part is to be yourself. Be who you are. There will always be people, that will pull you down because they do not understand you. Gaya ng sinabi ni Macklemore one time “These Nikes help define me, but I’m trying to take mine off”. Parang ako, may point yun kasi minsan magastos, but like what I said, it’s part of your DNA it’s who you are, I think just be proud of yourself and live within your means. Never forget those who help you get to where you are.
At the end of the day, my wish is tama na yung mga away. Just promote passion and love for sneakers. Kung hindi mo makuha yung pair, there will always be a different pair. Always give a helping hand to others."
JD: What makes me Best In Class is being myself and leaving everything to God as he will do the rest.
Today, as he turns a year wiser, his genuine voice is heard. At 24 years old, JD possesses the demeanor of a true blooded sneaker collector, which consists of passion, love and mutual respect.
Let his words be an example, because at the end of the day, it’s not his sneaker collection that sets him apart, it’s his character that catches your heart.
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