If there’s one thing Nnanna Okpara wants people to know about Saturday’s “I Got Sole” sneaker show, it’s that it’s not just about the shoes.
When he started the show five years ago, he wanted to create an event that was more than a typical sneaker show. Okpara’s vision was a celebration of American culture by incorporating art, fashion and music.
The self-proclaimed “sneaker-head” looked for area shows to draw inspiration from but found few in the Midwest. Okpara and his wife, Jennifer, still felt Wichita was the perfect place to start the show with the local talent and supportive community.
“I think that’s what’s cool about Wichita,” Okpara said. “We have the ability to surprise people.”
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It’s that element of surprise that Okpara hopes will attract people to the fifth annual “I Got Sole” show on Saturday at The Lux.
“I think when people hear the words ‘sneaker show,’ they think ‘I’m not going, because it’s not for me,’ ” Okpara said. “But it’s a culture show centered around sneakers.”
Okpara said sneakers are pieces of our culture that bridge the gap between all kinds of people.
“The artist, the musician, the doctor, the coach, the hairstylist, the principal – we all wear sneakers,” he said.
Okpara promises that Saturday’s show will have something for everyone. Attendees can bring up to three pairs of sneakers to buy, sell or trade, and vendors will be featuring sneakers of all brands, styles, colors and price ranges. Clothing, accessories and art will also be for sale.
Besides browsing through the selection of sneakers, fashion and art, attendees are encouraged to strut their stuff in their “flyest pair of kicks” for the best sneaker competition. Collectors can also compete.
Okpara hopes that other activities like the NBA 2K Tournament and the live graffiti art and break-dancing demonstrations will draw families to the show.
“For kids age 13 to 17, can you imagine? Gaming, sneakers and clothing in one place. That’s like heaven,” Okpara said with a laugh.
Including a charitable aspect to the show was important to Okpara and his team. He is partnering with MobileComm and is launching a sneaker drive on Saturday. Attendees can donate their new or lightly used sneakers and purchase a $10 raffle ticket for a chance to win a pair of Yeezy 750 boost sneakers, shoes made famous by rapper Kanye West. All proceeds will go to TFI Family Services Inc. foster home.
Okpara said he loves seeing people realize there’s more to a pair of sneakers than meets the eye.
“It’s a feeling that they give you,” Okpara says. “It’s more than the cool factor. It’s a form of self-expression.”
Fifth annual ‘I Got Sole’ sneaker show
When: 1-6 p.m. Saturday
Where: The Lux, 120 E. First St. North
Admission: $10 in advance, $15 at the door, $5 ages 10 and under