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Rise of sneaker culture

China Daily Asia | Updated: 2017-05-18 13:51
Rise of sneaker culture

Fe Lo Classic White [Photo/Courtesy of Feiyue]

Founded in Shanghai in the 1920s, the nostalgic martial arts-suitable shoe brand Feiyue flew across Chinese borders in 2006 (its name, indeed, means "flying forward") and landed in France. Whether it was or wasn't officially licenced, its unique retro style, coupled with a fresh French redesign, caught the eyes of Europe and launched a new obsession that was unprecedented in China.

The present-day sneaker culture has evolved to combine not only athletics and fashion, but also the omnipresent marketing and business angles. For most sneakerheads, it's about the hardest-to-find pairs. Since the 1980s, they've come to Mong Kok from all over the world to source sought-after shoes at low-tax prices. Fanatics camp out for rare new releases, while others buy through resellers, sometimes paying 10 times or more compared to the retail price.

Globally, limited-edition sneakers are a definite status symbol for those who are willing to pay. One high-end sneaker reseller in Los Angeles shared his recent deals, which included the sale of a pair of Nike Air Jordan 4 Retro "Eminem Encore" for $30,000 – only 50 pairs were made at an original retail price of $180.

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