Format: Our last interview focused a lot on blogging and sneaker media. Let’s get a bit more personal this time. Please introduce yourself and discuss your history before starting Sole Redemption.
Alex: My name is Alex, also known as Wok on Sole Redemption. I’m just a dude from Los Angeles, was into basketball and Nike stuff from way back in the day, graduated from UCLA and started the website.
“That’s what separates us from the rest. We know the story behind the shoes and how it relates to life, basketball, art, music, etc. ”
Format: What was your inspiration to start Sole Redemption?
Alex: Sole Redemption was one of the first sneaker blogs out there — if not the first! We started in 2005 and have been rolling since. Now there are a lot of sneaker blogs out there, a lot of whom I’m close with but we were one of the originators, a lot of cats don’t know that.
Format: How did you transition from school to blogging full-time?
Alex: I started SR shortly after I graduated from college, within the first few months I knew this would be what I’d be doing for the foreseeable future. I’m dedicated to my sites 100% of the time, this isn’t just my job — it’s my life!
Format: You run a network of other sites, how hard is it to balance all of them? What, if any, benefits do you get from running a network?
Alex: I’m an entrepreneur, so I’m not just into sneakers, I’m into other stuff… expanding into other realms gives our readers a chance to explore cool stuff besides just sneakers, as well as gain new readers who might like to get into other things including sneakers. Balancing is hard at times, but I’m just running it from the top. I let my writers help out as well. But, I make sure things are run well and the information is on point.
Format: What specific niche within the sneaker world does Sole Redemption occupy?
Alex: Sole Redemption is out to keep it real… we’re not just Hypebeast’s (no offense to Kevin). We keep the site historically based; not fad based. That’s what separates us from the rest. We know the story behind the shoes and how it relates to life, basketball, art, music, etc. Does that make us the most hyped blog? Hell no, but it makes us the blog to read for those in the know.
Format: What keeps you passionate about sneakers?
Alex: Air Jordan, Air Max, etc. Those kicks make it easy to be passionate about sneakers because they keep it interesting. I have more Air Max’s than anything because I actually wear the shoes, so it keeps me into it. Though I try not to go overboard in my collecting.
Initially only Nike was coming out with the hard hitting stuff in the last few years. But recently other brands such as Puma has been upping their game; Reebok is back harder now. That kind of stuff inspires us as well as our readers. I think increased output of good sneakers from good companies is causing Nike not to slack either and we like that.
Format: What does Sole Redemption have planned for the future?
Alex: Keep it going. Keep growing and keep improving. Keep getting better info and keep reporting it. I think eventually people will realize what we’re about and why the sneaker game needs us. If we don’t stick around, I think there won’t be slightly older cats around who can tell all the kids out there why this sneaker is significant, or where MJ wore this model, who Steve Prefontaine is, why Eugene, Oregon is the Mecca of Nike etc. and that would be a shame.
Format: Why shoes?
Alex: Why not shoes? There’s a niche for everyone and everything on the Internet. Sneakers happen to be an important thing for many people. It’s like any other collectible out there except that sneakers actually have a utility value – you can wear them! People used to get shot for their sneakers in the 80’s so it’s been one of those â€˜necessary evilsâ€™ or blessings for a long while. It’s something that kids with Payless shoes used to get laughed at in school, sorry to say. Most adults underestimate the influence that sneakers have on your daily life — we don’t!