Sneakerness Co-Founder Sergio Muestra On Connecting People Through Sneakers

This November Sneakerness, Europe’s leading sneaker convention, hit African soil for the first time ever. When Sneakerness was founded in 2008 in Switzerland they were ahead of the curve. Since then street culture has gone commercial. What still makes Sneakerness events unique though, is their strategy to steer away from the mass retail. Instead, their focus is on an intimate buy-sell-trade setup, where likeminded individuals can connect over a shared passion.

This year Sneakerness travelled to ten cities across two continents, including Johannesburg. While they were in town, we caught up with the co-founder Sergio Muestra:


“Around 2008 social media and e-commerce platform were taking the world by storm. While buying a pair of fake Nike SB dunks through one such site, I was questioning the future of authentic streetwear and the unique culture surrounding it. I started thinking about setting up a show that was the opposite of this online trend, and instead creating a space where I can meet the person I’m buying my sneakers from. I knew of some bazaars, but not one focusing exclusively on sneakers. My vision was to design an experience where the sneaker is at the centre, so true sneaker heads could connect and share all aspects that surround the culture. And so Sneakerness was born.”


“This year ten cities on two continents hosted Sneakerness. Our intension was never to host thousands of visitors at a single Sneakerness event. We think global for sure, but we act local because we know that every city has its own unique street culture. Using Nike as an example: in Paris we see the Nike Air Max TN 1, in London there is more the AM95, in Zurich they love the AM1… That makes it really difficult to organise and curate Sneakerness in so many cities, but it’s also what makes it worth it. We don’t copy paste. We watch, listen and adapt.” 


“Our main purpose it to showcase each city’s unique culture, while celebrating our universal love for a good pair of sneakers.” – Sergio Muestra


“We get hit up weekly from all over world to make Sneakerness happen, and I’m always speaking to people and looking for opportunities to expand Sneakerness. Essentially we choose the cities based on their unique culture and how strong their reselling game is. Johannesburg was the first African city to host us. There is a positiveness about this place that inspires me. People here don’t just adopt global street culture, they’ve really made it their own. It’s fresh, it’s new, it’s SO different to what I’m observing in Europe. I love that!”


“At the end of the day I hope people walk away from Sneakerness with a smile. Even if they didn’t buy anything, I hope they’ve connected with people who share their interests.”


Find Sergio on Instagram and Twitter.

More at sneakerness.com.

Follow all global Sneakerness action on Facebook, Instagram and Twitter.

Follow Sneakerness Johannesburg on Facebook and Instagram.

All photographs taken at Sneakerness Johannesburg by Kgomotso Neto Tleane.

A limited release of the Sneakerness x  ASICS Gel Lyte V dropped at the Joburg event on 11 November. Missed it? We’ve got your back! We’re giving away a pair + a Jameson family goodie bag. Enter via Twitter here. Entries close 15 November 2017.

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