“My name is Leonardo, I’m 27 years old, I graduated in production engineering, postgraduate in project management, but today I don’t work in any of these areas. Today I work with sports in a “synthetic” way as I like to say, doing consulting and accessorizing for workout gyms taking care of all the strategic, commercial, administrative and marketing part of the business. I also have a brand in the narghile branch that turns 2 years old this year.
I’ve always been a big fan of Basketball which is where my passion for sneakers comes from. As a kid, I even played for Paulistano, but due to some setbacks I had to stop playing but my passion remained. As our financial situation got better, we would do some crazy things – every time we had the chance (or not) we would find a way to buy that one sneaker we always dreamed about, but of course, it’s never only one, it’s always two, three, four… but in the end we always find that Brazilian way to make it fit our budget. (laughs)
It got to me the most was when I had to get rid of my sneakers to after something that was also important to me – my personal and financial growth. Because of my brand, I had to get rid of some pairs, for that dream to come true.”
Leo what’s your relation with sneakers in general?
I always say that sneakers are an extension of myself, not just me, but everyone who likes sneakers. Whether you like it or not, what we go through to get them, the way we get them, the day to day life with them, there’s always some special occasion that you want to wear some special sneaker. There’s a whole connection, to me sneakers are more than just objects, it ends up being an extension of who I am. Nowadays the few pairs that I still have remained because of the stories I had with them; and the ones who are gone, are coming back slowly.
The first sneakers that I played basketball in, the first Jordans, the first salary, the first gift you get from someone. Well, shoes always have some specific importance to them. For someone looking from the outside, it may sound absurd, crazy, but it’s your craziness and no one can change that. Sneakers are an extension of me – I am Leonardo Lana Henrique / Sneaker / Shoes – it’s like my last name (laughs).
Do you remember when you started liking sneakers, when it “became” your last name?
Sneaker became my last name when I literally had the money to buy my first pair to play basketball in 2002 when I was 12 years old. I bought them with my first salary I got with the sport. The government created a campaign along with clubs called “citizen sport” where we received 150 reais a month, I will never forget that. When I got the money I had to pick a sneaker that fitted that budget because I was playing in some old sneakers and I needed new ones. I didn’t go after a specific model, even because I played in a very high-class club, so I got a model that would fit my pocket – The Kobe 1.
This was literally the first real Sneaker I had, which I then had the pleasure of donating to a person who was starting to play basketball. Just as they gave me my first sneakers, I had the pleasure of donating it; the only thing left of them is the box, it’s still kept away at home.
What’s your relationship with this Space Jams?
It’s not just me, but I believe that whoever was born in the 90’s has a very strong connection with the movie. The mix between reality and animation had a great impact on people who loved basketball because of the fact that it involved a cartoon that had such iconic characters. Not to mention Michael Jordan who is an icon for all those who like and don’t like the sport.
The idea of buying something linked with my childhood is surreal, and I think that’s why the sales on this shoe were surreal and the madness was no different – I had to lie to buy these sneakers, I had other people to favor other friends who did not have the opportunity to come to São Paulo to buy the sneakers.
The important thing about this sneaker to me is certainly not only because of its look and its comfort, although it is beautiful and comfortable, it’s because of this connection I have with it. People asked me “why are you buying these sneakers?” Bro, to have the sneaker worn by the Monsters, with the number 45 on them, the story itself of the return of Jordan in which he wanted to use this model but didn’t have the number 23 on sneakers, so he ended up using the number 45 anyway. It’s a mix of stories put together, it’s surreal. It’s based on a model that has a very fucking important, which is the Air Jordan 72-10, let’s just say it’s a re-creation of this sneaker, which is one of the rarest Jordans there is.
Nowadays I do not consider myself a sneakerhead because of the number of sneakers I have because a lot of people are categorized as sneakerheads, but I consider myself sneakerhead because of the passion for the sneakers I have left – and this is one of them. I rehearsed when I was going to wear them, I bought them in December but it was first used only in May. (laughs)
And what did you have to go through to get them?
Usually when they’re hyped sneakers they only allow one sneaker per person – but of course, there are always some people who know some contacts that end up holding the sneakers for them. But I was not one of those people and I had to get 3 pairs of in three different numbers that are very hard to get – US 7.5, 8.5 and 10.
I got to the mall at 6 am, the salesman arrived later – until then everything was going down for the purchase, there were no restrictions, the consumer code said that I could buy as much as I want as long as I have money – and they couldn’t stop me.
When I found out that I couldn’t get 3 pairs, I had to turn to someone, since I live near the mall I called my Dad, he got out of bed, got into the mall the same way I did (saying to security that he was an employee). Up to that point, I had two sneakers guaranteed, until a neighbor left home to buy some bread but he didn’t buy bread, he went to help me get those sneakers. (laughs)
I felt I had an obligation to help my friends get their sneakers. For one, in particular, I and my friends put together some money to buy, one way or another you want to help, and it worked.
As unbelievable as it seems everyone wants to make clean and looking new, but I can’t wait for the soles to get yellow, I bet they will look even better.