TAMPA, Fla. - It was the sneaker that started it all. In 1985 the Air Jordan 1 flew off shelves and an underground business was born.
Sneaker collecting is now a billion-dollar business fueled by celebrities, athletes, and teens whose shoes are their most prized possessions.
But to understand today's sneaker culture, we have to go back in time. William Mendez runs a shoe and clothing store called KICKZR4US. He remembers the old days when he and his friends would camp outside of stores to get the latest pair of kicks.
He also explained why people are so passionate about collecting shoes.
"It's like a must-have staple in your closet. Something that people want, you want to have it so you can show your status," Mendez said.
Some people are willing to shell out top-dollar for a coveted pair of high tops.
"One of the most expensive ones is the Trophy Room 5's and that shoe came this year. I sold one the other day for $3,500," said Mendez.
The quest to secure the newest, rarest, or limited edition sneakers can reach epic proportions.
"Somebody came in from Iceland and was like, 'We follow you on Instagram and we wanted to check out your store.'"
Sneakers at KICKZR4US can go anywhere from $100 up to a few thousand dollars, leaving some parents with sticker shock.
"They come in and they shake their head like they can't believe that this is actually a business," he said with a laugh.
To learn more about KICKZR4US visit https://www.instagram.com/kickzr4us/?hl=en