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Davis Journal

Big shoe plans for Big Apple purchase

Sep 30, 2022 11:25AM ● By Bryan Gray

Some of you invest in stocks and bonds, precious metals, or real estate. Others soak money into rare coins and collectibles or Bitcoin. Porter, a 20-year old Utahn, invests his money in his passion:  Shoes.

He’s not the first or only. Some 10 years ago, I wrote about a work colleague whose wife admonished him to clean out his closet. He sold the worn – and somewhat almost destroyed – Air Jordan shoes for $5,000. Since then, the market for sneakers has ramped up even more.

Porter bought his first limited edition sneakers in 2019. He paid $175 for Michael Jordan Retro High-Tops – and sold them soon after for $700, a 400% profit. He was hooked!  

His favorite shoe, a numbered Jordan 1 Low-Top, was initially limited to 4,250 pairs.  The shoe, a collaboration with Christian Dior, drew five million interested buyers willing to pay $2,000 for the rights to buy a pair.  Porter was one of the lucky 4,250 and sold the shoe within a few days for $5,000. (“I could have got $10,000 for the shoe moments after buying it in Las Vegas,” he said, “but I wanted to look at them for a while.”) Today the shoes he sold for $5,000 are worth $6,000.

Over the years, Porter has sold some of his collection to make a sizable down payment on a car and to buy more shoes. His current collection includes some 35 pairs, mostly Nike or Jordan varieties.

And last week he got an alert.  An estimated 25 million people had entered a lottery to be the first to purchase a limited set of 500 Nike Air Force 1 Low-Tops.  (The following day an additional final set of 16,000 would be offered.). To his amazement, Porter was one of the 500 to win the jackpot of shoes.  The shoe itself was only $160 – but he would have to be at a specific Nike store in New York City two days after the notification.

He had never been to New York before. With the encouragement of co-workers, he paid $700 for a red-eye flight from Salt Lake to Manhattan, was the second in line at the Nike store, bought the shoes at 11 a.m., spent several hours visiting Wall Street, the 9-11 site, the Empire State Building, and Times Square – and then stepped on a subway to return to JFK for a 6 p.m. flight back to Utah. By 11 p.m. he was back at his home, carrying a precious box of green shoes and legs which had tromped 22,000 steps, over 10 miles, scurrying around the Big Apple. 

As of this writing, he hasn’t yet sold the shoes, but if he did he could sell them for nearly $2,000.  (One pair, smuggled out of the factory prior to the lottery, has already sold for $4,000).

He keeps his shoe collection in pristine condition, even the seven pairs of “Baby Jordans” made for children.  He has only one pair of traditional leather loafers.

I supposed he wore that pair for work and church.

“For work, yes,” he said. “But not for church. I wear Jordan sneakers to church.”

Bryan Gray, a long time Davis County resident, is a former school teacher and has been a columnist for more than 26 years in newspapers along the Wasatch Front.λ