Sneaker Junkies: Chris Duran

In this feature, get to know a good man, a Vans HQ (U.S.) Marketing Assistant, handler of Vans OTW twitter and a contributor in the OTW blog, Chris Duran, on his love for sneakers, in particular his great jaw-dropping collection of very rare Vans pairs.

1. Name?
Chris Duran

2. Occupation?
Marketing Assistant at Vans U.S.

3. Website/Twitter/Facebook?

4. Where did you grow up?
Covina, CA about 20 miles east of Los Angeles

5. How many pairs of footwear do you have?
Psssh the last time I checked it was over 60 but I've given some pairs away since then. I'm trying to consolidate, apartment closets aren't made for sneaker collecting!

6. When did you start to get hooked on sneakers?
About 8 years ago in my junior year of high school. I grew up in the era of basketball shoes and wanted to be different, so I wore skateboard shoes. The most popular skate shoe at the time was the Classic Slip-On but I still needed something a little less mainstream and chose the SK8-HI as my shoe of choice! I love the SK8-HI! They remind me of boots without the discomfort of the hard leather soles. As I got older my tastes matured and needed sneakers with a more sophisticated look. I discovered limited edition/premium lines like Vault by Vans and really got into it. At the height of my sneaker collecting, I copped at least 3 pairs of shoes a month.

7. What's your go-to everyday sneakers/shoes?
It's a tie! I run the Akat LX a lot as well as the Pritchard. They're comfy and casual dressy. I really appreciate the detail on the Akat. I pretty much dig anything Taka Hayashi does, he can do no wrong!

8. What's the pair that you don't have but wanted to get ever since?
The Marc Jacobs denim Sk8-hi! I've searched high and low for that with little luck. The only times I have seen them on sale is on eBay but they're usually listed at outrageous reseller prices and I'm not down for that!

9. If you can only wear one pair your whole life, what will it be?
Like I said earlier, I'm a huge TH fan. I really dig the TH-Hi LX where he redid the SK8-Hi with Pendleton wool on the uppers and used moccasin stitching throughout the foot. The release was so limited and I really thought I wouldn't be able to track down a pair! I watched the sneaker blogs all throughout the month of December 2010 and as soon as I got word they had shipped, I called Bows & Arrows in Berkeley as soon as they opened. I called them right at 10am and got the only 10.5 in that region of California! Two hours later all stores that had received the Taka pack had sold out. Since then, the TH LX has been a good luck charm for me and I've received a lot of good news while wearing them. It's also a good conversation piece because strangers will come up and ask me where I got them or they'll just compliment my kicks. So for the hunt, the good luck and the cool people I've met because of them, I will say the TH LX. Sorry for the long-winded reply!

10. Best place to shop for sneakers/shoes?
I'm going to tip my hat to Bows & Arrows in Berkeley and Blends in Southern California! Both have always provided great customer service and fast shipping!

11. What's your favorite color?
Brown's a good color for me!

Photos by Chris

A huge thank you to Chris for accepting my request on doing this feature and sharing us his thoughts and collection. You showed us that a love for sneakers can get you places, in your experience, land you a job in a world-renowned footwear company that you liked ever since.

Catch Chris tweeting at and check the Vans OTW brand out, they have a sleek collection. Something you non-skateboarding fanatics (and those fanatics too) would surely love.