Sneaker Con Rolls Into LA After Stops Across The Globe In Ever-Expanding Footprint

By the time Sneaker Con pulls into the Anaheim Convention Center Dec. 7-8, the event will have already hosted over 125,000 visitors across the globe in 2019, from Montreal to Sydney and Shanghai to Denver. 

As Sneaker Con continues its steady growth, the event signed IMG to help expand its reach even further. What started in 2009 with 1,000 attendees in a New York City event has now welcomed over one million visitors in 40 cities worldwide, with over $1 million worth of sneakers trading at any given Sneaker Con. 

“Every event has a different essence to it and serves a different purpose,” says Alan Vinogradov, Sneaker Con co-founder. “We are focused on building the community and developing a culture in some regions. Then we have our bigger events, such as LA and New York and what we are doing in Asia, and they are geared toward our partners, brand sponsorship and brand activation with a more robust feeling to it. But the feeling overall from event to event is typically pretty different depending on the city.”

In 2019 alone, Sneaker Con visited Fort Lauderdale, Atlanta, Chicago, Cleveland, the Bay Area, Washington, D.C., and now LA. But that’s just the United States. The event also hit Canadian cities Vancouver, Montreal and Toronto, while stopping in London, Osaka, Japan and, for the first time, Shanghai, China. Following LA, Sneaker Con will stop in Guangzhou, China, before the year is out. 

“A lot of our focus in on the U.S, Canada and Asia,” Vinogradov says. “We do plan on exploring South America at some point.” 

A typical Sneaker Con event centers around the “marketplace,” an area full of vendors — and shoppers — with both a local and international feel. The trading pit has become popular, a section where people can bring their own pair of shoes to sell or trade. Sneaker Con has leveraged its size with an authentication aspect, allowing people to bring in shoes to see if they are real. Along with culturally relevant events, live auctions and giveaways, every event also has a different set of influencers and celebrities, which gives sneaker fans an opportunity to meet and hear from them.

In LA, expect Aleali May, the first female collaborator to design Air Jordan sneakers for both men and women, to host events and show off limited-edition co-branded apparel and accessories.

“So excited to be at Snaeker Con LA, my home,” says May. “I can’t wait to see all the ladies with their favorite kicks.” 

May will be joined by Candace Parker, Prentice Penny, Ben Schwartz, Blazendary, Yeezy Busta, TwoJsKicks and Seth Fowler.

Vinogradov says that teaming with May, a native to the city who is well known and well connected, lets her headline the event and provide that local tie-in. Plus, add in some large sneaker resellers showing up, and he expects millions of dollars of sneaker purchasing across the two days. 

“There are a lot of fascinating things going on right now in this community, whether it is people getting further engrained in resale or people just getting started in this,” Vinogradov says. “It is really a very unique period in the sneaker community, and we are seeing a whole new influencer base develop.” 

As the sneaker culture continues to evolve and expand, Sneaker Con has signed IMG to help it grow, with IMG really focused on developing a new Sneaker Con digital app and an online marketplace. IMG is also leading the international expansion with its China offices producing the May Shanghai event that sold out in minutes and required adding a third day. The Guangzhou show is also IMG driven. 

“They’ve really tapped into exposing us to companies that can really benefit from being a part of Sneaker Con from storytelling, brand activations and giving companies and potential partners a seamless dive into this community,” Vinogradov says. “We are so authentic, and we keep it pure. We are giving some of these companies the opportunity to tell stories and share products with this culture. For us, we are really relying on IMG to bring that to the table.” 

As Sneaker Con builds a more digital home, they’ve done so with an effort to remove the sterility from sneaker transactions, Vinogradov says, trying to bring elements of community and content from shows into its online marketplace. 

Taking Sneaker Con to new areas has also continued to open up new worlds in sneakers. “You would go into a market and there would be no resale culture and after we leave and come back you see four to six resale shops pup up and clothing brand develop,” Vinogradov says. “You start to see the industry growing a lot more because of these individuals really fueling it. That has been fascinating and these people fueling it are meeting at Sneaker Con and getting ideas.”

Whether smaller U.S. cities or stops around the globe, this new fuel is most fervent in China. Between Shanghai in the spring and Guangzhou this winter, the two events will draw over 40,000 attendees, both in their first years. “It was really successful and really opened up great brand partners in China,” Vinogradov says. “The community in China is so big and culture is so strong for sneakers. We are going to be announcing a date for our next Shanghai event. It is a pretty big deal for us out there.” 

A decade ago Sneaker Con created a single event to bring a culture together. Sneaker Con has now gone worldwide with events and plans to expand its reach, both digitally and across the globe. 

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