What I'm getting at is that once the Internet latches onto something at obsessive levels, they reach the highest levels imaginable, up to and including renting out huge convention spaces to house hundreds (sometimes thousands) of like-minded shoe enthusiasts.
In terms of size, sneaker conventions run the gamut from small gatherings consisting mostly of local sellers in your area to huge blowouts such as Sneaker Con, a massive convention that travels around the country and includes hundreds of vendors. People might not show up in Dominique Wilkins cosplay or anything, but, rest assured, it's every bit as serious as any comic book convention.
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Though this costume is damn sure easier to pull off than whatever fully-working Iron Man bullshit that Comic Con guys do.
Everyone has his or her reasons for going. Most show up to buy, sell, or trade shoes, obviously. Sometimes, it's just to network for their blogs (yep, lots of shoe blogs out there, too). Or, maybe people who might not have hundreds of dollars to throw around go just to get a close-up glimpse at an impossible-to-find pair of sneakers that rarely leave the comfort of their owner's temperature-controlled storage box.
If you think this is a lot of hoopla over sneakers, you're right. People cherish sneakers the way gearheads value a classic car or comic fans value that time Spiderman teamed up with the Incredible Hulk Hogan to save a bus full of Jedis (I don't really fuck with comics, sorry).
But, the biggest draw is the chance to maybe get a pair of sneakers that no one else in your city or state has ever owned or has even seen in person before. If you were wondering what's so stressful about the fact that sneaker conventions exist, there it is. Sometimes, your only option for finding the pair you want is to shell out ticket money for a convention and then just kind of hope someone is selling them at a price you can afford. In fact, let's talk about that next.