Trendy fanatics get their kicks at sneaker expo

Africa's largest sneaker expo turned up the heat last Saturday as sneaker enthusiasts congregated at Fox Junction, Johannesburg.

Patrons waiting to get in tied their shoe laces together and threw the takkies over their shoulders.

Officially known as the largest sneaker expo in Africa, Sneaker Exchange (SXC) started only five years ago but now boasts close to 4000 patrons.

Very few of them paid much attention to the girls in the mini-skirts and short shorts - everybody was fixated with what was on their peers' feet.

Vans was clearly the favourite of the day as youngsters came out with different models and a variety of bright colours.

The annual event has become more than just a product expo.

Adding live music, activations and entertainment to the mix, the event featured rappers Ricky Rick, Youngsta, Shekhinah, Major League, Patty Monroe, Gemini Major, A-Reece and Tshego, as well as a host of local DJs including Twins on Deck.

High-end sneakers were on display, some selling for a whopping R12000. This included the Kanye West Yeezy brand.

There were all sorts of clothing to match the fancy takkies, including caps, T-shirts and jeans. Vintage clothing was also highly sought-after.

The expo exposes visitors to people from different cultures. Street culture was dominant, with amaPantsula from ekasi performing to the crowd's delight. And Converse All Stars sneakers were not their favourite as usual.

They were clear that the OGs of today seek diversity in their gear.

Skaters also showed off old-school and modern Vans. Old school seems to be the one to get.

Foodies like myself were also accommodated, with authentic street grub from ribs to chicken and a whole lot more.

Not only was there live sneaker customisation, but also a kid's corner and mobile barber showing off their skills.

Special guests included Los Angeles-based SandalBoyz, an American label that is a purveyor of premium pool slides and socks. The founders of the brand, Andrew Dharmosetio and Fran Marchello, are longtime sneaker collectors who have a collection that includes some of the most sought-after pairs.

The event, founded by sneaker collector Zaid Osman, has grown exponentially in cities such as Johannesburg, Cape Town and Durban, with sneaker exhibits planned across Africa.