EagleTribune.com, North Andover, MA


November 30, 2013

Kids getting new kicks out of sneakers

Dear Doctor,

Are we losing our grip? For Christmas our 14-year-old son wants sneakers. That’s not so bad, but he wants $320 ones that he says are for collectors. We never heard of something like this. It makes no sense. We don’t have lots of money, but what is going on? Do other boys his age want or collect sneakers?

Shoe Mom

Dear Shoe Mom,

You bet they do. This is a social phenomenon.

Your son is what high school kids are calling “sneaker heads.” These are boys who are collecting sneakers of various, and sometimes rare, makes. For example, one youngster told me he would be waiting at the mall one Saturday for the doors of a particular store to open. He wanted a “release” of a “limited edition” sneaker. He told me he could double his money within a week because everyone else wanted them. It sounded better than the stock market and I was tempted to stand in line myself!

Some high school boys have amassed a fortune in sneaks. What used to be a basic white or grey sneaker is no old hat. If you have 20 or more pair, you can pick and choose the “cool” ones. They are in every color and hue, certainly different than when most of us were growing up.

One boy explained to me that, “Doc, it’s like jewelry.”

Another young man was teased about his shoes because they were leather and old fashioned, a new type of bullying.

Still another advertised a pair he wanted to sell. He was contacted by a person who said he would meet him at a certain spot after dark. When he arrived, he was met by a man who looked at the sneakers and then ran away with them without paying. Happily, the youngster did not chase the man, but has learned a bitter lesson.

There can be sneaky people trading sneakers.


Dr. Larry Larsen is an Andover psychologist. If you would like to ask a question, or respond to one, you can email Dr. Larry Larsen at lrryllrsn@CS.com.

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