The man behind the most-read sneaker site... in the world, Sneaker News.
Based in the melting pot of sneakers, New York City, Yu-Ming Wu established his name as becoming the main voice in seeding sneaker information.
His life revolves around sneakers as for being in-charge of familiar names such Sneaker News, Sneaker Con, Freshness Mag, Stadium Goods and Jordans Daily.
10 years after the launch of SneakerNews.com, and with more than 10.8 million followers combined in his social media accounts, Yu-Ming stays true to his roots, in being a true-blooded sneakerhead from New York City.
9 months ago, Yu-Ming made his first visit to the Philippines for Sole Academy's Sneaker Carnival. These aligned goals and strengthened ties between the two sneaker icons.
In this exclusive Q&A we learn about his history, his favorite sneakers, and his thoughts on the world of sneakers.
SA'ICHI: Tell us about the early days of Sneaker News.
Yu-Ming: Back in 2005, I purchased a domain name called SneakerNews.com. In 2006, I saw a big opportunity to do something cooler in sneakers, as I built a website called Kicks Finder. It came through my mind that eventually if I could do well in this, if I can build more traffic, there must be a bigger thing.
I felt it was a great opportunity to combine Kicks Finder with great reporting on sneakers and call it Sneaker News. The early goal was to call it “The CNN of sneakers”. I just love sneakers so much that I wanted to do everything around it.
SA'1: Sneaker News was founded 10 years ago, how was the sneaker game back then?
Y-M: Sneakers back then was like the early days of anything, something similar to the early days of comic books. 10 years ago we looked backed at the sneakers from 1985 – 1990, we had the Air Jordan I, Air Jordan III, the Air Max 90, there was a buildup of great models.
Flashback to 2003, as we were seeing the early days of retros, it felt like there was a lot of needs and wants for certain models. Looking back since I started in 2003 up to 2007, it had a slow growth period. But after the economy collapsed in 2008, things started picking up as companies needed to make more money by creating different products.
SA'1: Do you have a rough estimate on many lifestyle sneakers you currently own?
Y-M: That’s a hard question. Six months ago, I unleashed about 400 pairs of my personal triples and doubles. I believe my current collection of lifestyle sneakers is probably around 1100 pairs.
SA'1: 1,100 pairs! Can you describe your current sneaker rotation? What inspires you in choosing the right pairs?
Y-M: Basically, the first two colorways of the NMDs is what’s on my feet the most, it’s pure comfort. I've been also wearing a few retro Jordans, namely Columbia Jordan IVs and Sport Blue Jordan IIIs. I am also in to New Balances right now, the Premier pair, plus J.Crew also gave me a few pairs which I really love.
SA'1: Hmm. If you could only wear one pair of sneakers for the rest of your life, what would it be?
Y-M: I would probably go back to the Air Jordan III, I think it’s just the best looking sneaker, nothing can come pass.
SA'1: How do you see the sneaker lifestyle/culture in the next 5 years?
Y-M: I think comfort is going to trend for the next several years, we can see with the release of the NMDs and the UltraBOOSTs that a lot of people started to call out “comfort, comfort, comfort". Looking back at stuff like the Huaraches, Sock Darts, and Flyknit Racers, we know that comfort around the foot has probably been most important and I see that as the trend moving forward.
SA'1: Based on what you saw in Manila, how does our sneaker game compare with the rest?
Y-M: I was actually quite amazed with the Filipino sneaker community. It may probably be still young, I'm not quite sure as I only spent a few days there, but from what I saw, most of the people were very into it. I know that the Filipino sneaker community on the web is the strongest, as there is always a Filipino version of a certain Facebook group, I think that is the most interesting thing.
SA'1: Can you give us a small tease on the future of Sneaker News?
Y-M: As of the moment, we're going full blast on digital media. We're doing a lot of things on social media and will be continuing to increase our web presence. We're also working on our mobile app, which should be out really soon.
SA'1: Lastly, can you give a quick message to Sole Academy and all the Sneakers News followers in the Philippines.
Y-M: To Sole Academy, please continue to do what you do, I think you have a very incredible program that you have built around education. It's important to continue spread the message of positivity especially to the young sneakerheads.
To the communities out there, just continue to love sneakers. It’s not a thing where you have to be as cool as the next guy. It doesn’t matter what shoe you wear, just keep loving sneakers and look fresh.
Yu-Ming, thank you for your endless support in what we do. You serve as an inspiration to us at Sole Academy/SA'ICHI.
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