It’s all too often a scenario when someone who gets into collecting begins to feel the burn of his/her own passion. Be it toys, comics, musical instruments—and for a lot of us, shoes.
How many is “too many?” Where do we draw the line with the stuff we collect?
One thing’s for sure though: the material things can go away in a snap, but the passion and the knowledge for what you love are in the heart and mind. Antonio Aguirre Jr. AKA Mr. Sole Slam has proven this through his lifestyle choice. Narrowing down his sneakers to a manageable amount and living a bit more practical than what you’d expect are things Antonio is practicing these days.
The best thing about his journey is that his sneaker/streetwear background served as platforms for bigger and better things including his expertise at brand consultancy, management, tech, and business.
We sat down with him a few days ago to pick his brain and just get the lowdown on what he’s up to:
First off, how many sneakers did you have before you decided to trim it all down?
At my collection’s peak around 2014, I had 1,257 pairs of sneakers. Then I encountered some debt in some of my business, so I started letting go of pairs I didn’t actually wear, which turned out to be a lot. Mostly (of the pairs I let go were) Nike and Jordan pairs since I stopped wearing those brands around 2014 when I started working with other brands directly such as Adidas and Vans. They were seeding me plenty of pairs back then to promote, so it made it easier for me to let go of those swoosh and jumpman pairs.
Why the sudden lifestyle change? Can you cite the effects it had on you?
It wasn’t really sudden, just became full-blown. I’m what you can call an accidental minimalist. Around 2016, I came across a book about Minimalism and I studied the practice of these people especially Monks. It wasn’t until around 2019 where I really started wearing fewer and fewer clothing, less on the loud branding, with more focus on quality including longevity. Then the pandemic happened and it became full-blown for me. I let go of everything I didn’t wear outside of 2020, so everything 2019 and backward, I had to let go, except for those that I used for special occasions like weddings for example. But even with my suit collection, I narrowed it down to just 3 suits: 1 black, 1 gray and 1 white tuxedo plus 2 pairs of dress shoes. Then I initially set aside 7 pairs of sneakers, but I still have exactly 25 pairs of footwear that I have. I’m still working on that 15 pair rotation, to be honest. It’s really difficult. What people need to understand is that Minimalism is not an end game, it’s a process and a way of life to guide you in your living plus buying thought process. Now, I have to justify to myself if I really need something or not, or if I just want them. Then every time I want to buy a piece of clothing, I have to let go of 5 pieces of clothing to buy it as a personal rule. So it makes it harder now for me to buy a new pair of shoes because now I have to let go of 5.
You have a website, can you tell us what it is all about?
Yes! I always had a website, but it’s now that I really started taking care of it by posting daily blogs every morning. It’s now become part of my daily routine to write 2-5 blogs in the early morning as part of my 3 hour, 100% focused time—where there are absolutely no distractions whatsoever. I talk primarily about business, entrepreneurship, life lessons, and everything that interests me. I might actually start to include my passion for NBA Basketball in it to make it broader. It also includes information about what I do, my work with various companies, my coaching availability among others.
How about SoleSlam? Any talks of actually bringing it back in a different form?
Actually, we were supposed to do a Sole Slam event this September 2020, but due to the pandemic, we had to reschedule it to hopefully next year when the world finally opens up! I want to do more events, I really missed doing events every year. I took too much of a rest period and now I can say that I am back to doing it again with a different twist to it for sure.
Tell us about your all-time fave pairs in your rotation.
Right now, it would be the Yeezy 700 Wave Runner and the New Balance 992 “Steve Jobs” Grey. I’d take comfort, quality and the versatility they offer any day. My collection is mostly composed of white, grey, and earth-toned color sneakers that are simple to pair with my clothes too, which is less on branding, more on quality.
Can you share with us what you think of the line “Less Is More?”
When you have lesser things, you tend to take care of it more than anything. So you put more value in the things that you own, rather than the amount that you own. Let’s just say you have 1 car only, you take care of it very much because it’s the only car you own. But if you have 3 or more cars, you have your favorite of course, so you take care of the one that is most important to you among the 3.
The same thing goes with shoes and clothes, if you only had 3 pairs of shoes by your own choice, you’ll want to take care of it more because they’re the only ones you own. And since it’s your choice to own less, you can actually buy the nicest or even the most expensive ones that you think will give you the most value long term. Think of it this way: if it was the 1st day of the last day on earth (Book of Eli), what set of clothing would you wear and why? And yes, I have it prepared in my closet in case it really happens haha!
Your message to those burnt out by the sneaker game?
It’s considered a strength if you change your mind, not a weakness. People have this sense of FOMO (Fear of missing out) on releases that will make you feel bad that you missed it because that’s how marketing works. If you want to hop out of that wheel, then by all means do you. It will be the best decision you’ll ever make. It was for me. I’ve never been happier now than I ever was in the last decade.
How about one for those just getting into it?
Choose your battles wisely, so you don’t end up losing 90% of the battles. No pair of shoes that you will own will ever make you happy long term. Even if you had all the money in the world to buy whatever you want, it will still never be enough. You will always want more and more. The happiness stops when that “grail” finally is in your hands, then it’s on to the next, and so on. You’ll always be stuck in that circle. So pick quality always over quantity,
never ride on the hype train, or you’ll never be able to get out of that train, and you’ll always be stuck in debt too.
Stuff to promote? Shoutouts?
Check out Sole Slam on the official LazMall account on Lazada and Rilla Supply Co on Shopee. Visit my website antonioaguirrejr.com for more info on how I can help you get your mindset right to achieve your personal or business dreams. Life Deck Show on most podcast platforms and my YouTube channel, Antonio Aguirre Jr. That’s it! I’m out!