If the shoe fits


Marilynn Steuby

Ryan Evans, chemistry teacher, showing off his favorite pair of shoes, gifted by two 2018 KHS gradutes.

Sneaker-heads are scouring stores for the latest drops, admiring their always growing collection or worshiping Nike for their latest Jordans. Three teachers at KHS pride themselves on being sneaker-heads, even if they aren’t as obsessed as some. 

Ryan Evans, chemistry teacher, has a Converse collection of over 30 pairs of shoes. His obsession with the classic sneaker started in 2015.

A pair of Ryan Evans favorite Converse, which he only wears on special occasions. (Marilynn Steuby)

“My first pair of Converse were actually knock-offs that I had in high school, I got my first real pair in 2015 during the World Series,” Ryan said. “I wanted a red shoe. I liked the classic look of Converse, and the way they fit me.”

Since Ryan bought his first pair, a red pair of high-tops, he said he is drawn to the timeless look of Converse sneakers. Ryan collects all types of Converse: high-top, low-top, platform or Chucks.

Ryan’s collection of all Converse has an estimated cost of $1,950, according to the Converse website. Lucky for him, there are sites dedicated to helping people collect high-quality shoes at reasonable prices, such as Goat, SSENSE, Six Slam Jam and Farfetch, which Ryan has said to use sites like these. Online stores allow sneaker-heads across the world to buy and sell collectable shoes easily. Ryan uses sites like these to his advantage, allowing him to rarely ever buy full-priced Converse and grow his collection affordably. 

“It was the best gift I’ve gotten in my entire life.

— Ryan

Despite Converse being considered relatively cheaper compared  to other brands with an average pair costing $75, and a pair of Jordans costing $145. Limited collections or customized shoes can cost more. In fact, his favorite pair of Converse was gifted by two students, Diana Che and Berit Petersen, 2018 KHS graduates. They painted these shoes to reflect him as a person, featuring things like Ryan cats, galaxies, checkerboards and DNA strands. 

“It was the best gift I’ve gotten in my entire life,” Ryan said. “Just because I knew they are one of a kind.”

Ryan is not the only science teacher turned sneaker-head at KHS. Mackenzie Boget, chemistry teacher, also has a broad collection of 25 pairs which she uses as both a hobby and easy approach to elevating her everyday outfits. In the shoe world, Boget leans more towards Air Force Ones, Converse and Vans. And she has said to hate chunky white Filas. 

A pair of Mackenzie Boget’s favorite shoes, tan Air-Force Ones. (Marilynn Steuby)

By not confining herself to one brand, Boget said she is able to express herself through different styles she may not normally try. She said shoes are an easy creative outlet that she gets to take advantage of each day, and she hopes her students can do the same. 

“I like seeing how students can express themselves through the shoes they wear,” Boget said. “They all have their own unique style which is fun.” 

Jason Evans, social studies teacher, is another shoe collector at KHS. His collection is made up of Jordans and other Nike shoes, which he both buys and sells regularly to enhance his collection.

“I think I have what some would say an unhealthy obsession with certain shoes, especially with Jordans and Nikes,” Jason said. “I can’t really explain it, but I’ve never really been interested in any other shoes.” 

Jason’s love for Jordans started in 1989, when he was in 5th grade and his parents helped him buy his first and only pair for years. Jason didn’t begin truly collecting shoes until he started teaching in Chicago about 17 years ago. 

“The culture in Chicago felt like you weren’t called a sneaker-head, it wasn’t a real thing because everyone was doing it,” Jason said. “But it made me feel a part of the [Chicago] culture.”  

I think I have what some would say is an unhealthy obsession with certain shoes.

— Jason Evans

However, when Jason moved to Kirkwood, he quickly realized that he was an avid collector compared to others at KHS. Still, he has continued his tradition of wearing a pair of Jordans every Friday, and sprinkling in other pieces of his collection throughout the week. He continued to buy and sell shoes. Loving the thrill and experience of getting shoes that he both loves and that are new to the sneaker-head community. 

“It’s more fun to get in on the ground floor,” Evans said. “Buying certain shoes that will become popular after a while of owning them.” 

Jason says this is what draws many sneaker-heads into the shoe collecting community: the process of finding the next potential ‘white-whale shoe’ or predicting the newest trends. Though Evans likes this aspect of shoe collecting, he recommends beginners take their time. Shoe collections are something that builds up over a long period of time.

“Shoes are kind of an odd thing to collect,” Evans said. “But just like anything else, if you’re passionate about it then it’s a perfect hobby.”