NiceKicks.com has become the premier website for sneaker news and content on-line. Nike heads and seekers of exclusive kicks log into the the site to find out what’s new and trendy daily. How the site gets all its information, nobody knows, but Sojones got the exclusive interview with the founder.
Introducing Matt Halfhill, the young Texas entrepreneur and blogging professional who founded Nice Kicks. With a fetish for the worlds most elusive Nike and Air Jordan sneakers, he launched NiceKicks.com in 2006 to share his cravings. His dream turned into a gold mine as it’s now the web home to millions of Sneaker heads worldwide and growing.
Matt has teamed up with Sojones.com to educate people on who he is and what his site is about. Lets Get ‘Er Done!
[ SoJones ]Most people don’t know about you Matt! Lets start by asking the basics. When did you first start buying sneakers and were you mainly Nike head?
[ Nice Kicks Founder Matt Halfhill ] That is something that is funny about my upbringing. I loved shoes, but I was only ever to wear skippies and admire other’s shoes as a kid. The first pair that I went nuts for and did enough parental persuading to get were the patent leather navy Answer I. I was onto a Reebok and adidas kick for a couple years then and actually the Nike Air Assailant, one of Agassi’s last shoes, was the first Nike I absolutely had to have. The first Jordan shoe, and the first shoe I treated like they were a child laced to my feet, was the “Last Shot” Air Jordan XIV. Those I wore for sevearl years almost every day. I had other sneakers, but I just couldn’t find any that I loved as much as those.
[ SoJones ] When did you realize your sneaker buying became an obsession and did it cause you any problems?
[ Nice Kicks Founder Matt Halfhill ] My obsession was full blown in high school when I was memorizing every shoe from the Eastbay catalog and knew people by their sneakers. People would ask, “hey do you know this dude?” and usually I would respond with, “Is that the dude who wears this shoe?” Yes, crazy, I know, but hell, that’s just who I am. I wouldn’t say that sneakers caused me any problems. Because I knew sneakers so well, my first job was working at a shoe store.
[ SoJones ] Growing up. What was your ‘staple’ Nike or Air Jordan shoe? Did you have a model you were fixated on a while?
[ Nice Kicks Founder Matt Halfhill ] There never was and never has been a staple item for me. There is so much out there in the market that I think sticking to just one model is robbing oneself the opportunity to try new things. Sure, I am a fiend for a few different models, but until I was probably 20 or so, I never had two of the same pair of shoes – I wanted to try everything at the buffett.
[ SoJones ] Was there every a sneaker you wanted but could not get when younger? Something you might have purchased today.
[ Nice Kicks Founder Matt Halfhill ] Though I had the Nike Air Assailants, I never had the color that I wanted. I want the White/Black-Red pair that he wore for most from 1998 through 1999. I found a pair that is a half size too big for me, but it is the first pair that I have come across in about 2 years so I think that I will purchase it.
[ SoJones ]Moving along into your advancement into business… When did you start your sneaker site NiceKicks?
[ Nice Kicks Founder Matt Halfhill ] Some may remember what Nice Kicks was before 2006 when I got ahold of it – not exactly a “contributor” for the sneaker community to say the least. I found myself browsing forums constantly trying to find news about kicks just to make sure that I was “in the know” of releases. I think anyone can tell you that if you aren’t aware of a hot shoe or limited release until its already out and on eBay, chances are you are paying much more for it than if you knew about it ahead of time. At the time there were a few blogs that talked about shoes, but they weren’t dedicated to just shoes like I was just interested in kicks. I wanted to create a site that people could trust for news when it comes to accuracy, consistency, as well as knowledgeable.
[ SoJones ] Was NiceKicks your first site and did any others influence you?
[ Nice Kicks Founder Matt Halfhill ] I have been active with internet projects for a majority of my life which is kinda sad since I am 23 (almost 24), but hell, that’s me. I first took on internet projects (building sites) for fun and experience, but my first “internet job” was doing internet marketing. You might say that this was my first site, but since then, I actually have a few partners and I can’t really mention the name or go into too many details other than it has to do with marketing and branding online.
As for influences of Nice Kicks, I was an avid reader of Hype Beast for content, but I always liked the narrow focus of a handful of tech and college sports blogs. I think that in this day and age of mounds and piles of info, the stand out sites are the ones that pick a narrow range of focus and stick to it! Sure, people go onto the net and want to see the latest celeb sex tape, but there is a celeb gossip site for that. I could post that on Nice Kicks and it may bring in visitors (as well as enjoyable for the readers) but that just isn’t what we do. Like my English prof always told me – know more and more about less and less.
[ SoJones ] What made you start NiceKicks and did you feel it would progress to this incredible site with millions of visitors?
[ Nice Kicks Founder Matt Halfhill ] I never knew it would grow as big as it has nor as quickly. Who I really have to thank for that are my readers. Those who stumbled upon Nice Kicks and either linked to us or told their friend about it. I really can’t thank anyone else but them.
I started the site because I didn’t really feel that there was an authority for sneaker info in the market that was online based, accessible by everyone, updated several times per day, and free!
[ SoJones ] Lets turn this factual to help readers understand the numbers your site does. How many visitors does NiceKicks.com recieve daily at this point?
[ Nice Kicks Founder Matt Halfhill ] It all depends depending on the day of the week, but our highest day ever was upwards of 90,000 thanks to the world searching for news about the Air Jordan XX3.
[ SoJones ] You also have a Sneaker Community like myspace for the people who love kicks! Has that been pretty successful for you and where do you plan to go with that idea?
Can you picture ever selling NiceKicks.com to another person or company?
[ Nice Kicks Founder Matt Halfhill ] I built Nice Kicks for the sneaker community. Whenever I consider a new addition to the site, I always ask myself, “does this benefit my readers” and “does this benefit the community of sneaker addicts.” That being said, I don’t think I would ever sell the site unless the people who would buy it would either have myself or someone who respects sneakers and the community be in charge of direction of the site. Yes, we have had a few offers from some companies, but honestly, Nice Kicks was done out of love for shoes and providing a place for people to check out for news and history of something that is so important to me – shoes. I am able to pay my bills and work from home getting to spend time with my wife and daughter. In my mind, I couldn’t ask for much more than that.
[ SoJones ] Well moving back to sneakers. What’s your latest big pick ups?
[ Nice Kicks Founder Matt Halfhill ] BIG pick ups? Well I did get a pair of Barkley’s shoes. I think those are size 15.5 or 16. I really don’t have any “major” grabs anymore. I just buy what I want to wear. I am def not on the Tier Zero kick where I have to only wear something that was only produced in uber-limited quantities, but probably my most major pick up of recent times is the Jordan III black/cement….3 months before release.
[ SoJones ] I know you went to Barcelona for the Jordans released, how was that experience? (give me photos if you have them!)
[ Nice Kicks Founder Matt Halfhill ] The trip to Barcelona was great. I went there for a number of things so I knew it was the perfect time to take the trip and get raped by the exchange rate. I went to go see the Bread and Butter show which is like MAGIC minus all the garbage. I also went to go see my friend Ricky from Limiteditions and his new shop Opium Barcelona. At the grand opening they released the Miro Jordan VII which I absolutely love. So many hate this Jordan 7 because they think that it looks like something from Canal St., but the shoes are detailed with the history of the 1992 Games and pay homage to the Barcelona born and bred artist Joan Miro. Miro was an amazing artist that is still ahead of todays times. I have been a big fan of his artwork and when I heard that JB took inspiration from his work for this shoe that they had done this shoe the right way no matter what the uninformed may think.
[ SoJones ] Was the sneaker culture in Spain in attendance or mostly people from other places like you?
[ Nice Kicks Founder Matt Halfhill ] Barcelona has a wonderful sneaker scene. Beautiful weather virtually year round with plenty of things happening in the city means that good footwear is a must.
[ SoJones ] The hype of sneakers has definitely died down in the recent years. I think more people are shopping but less are willing to pay the back-breaking prices. Do you think this sneaker culture will ever die down?
[ Nice Kicks Founder Matt Halfhill ] Though there are more “limited” sneakers coming out, I don’t think that the actual culture of people who obsess about shoes has grown that much. To illustrate, if you go to the mall on any given Saturday, the lineups are split with one segment of the crowd who are die hard fans of Mike and then there are those in the line buying the Jordans just because they think it will give them respect amongst their peers. The true culture loves shoes for what they are and what they represent.
[ SoJones ] What do you think contributed to the smothering of the Hype that was alive and well in sneaker culture in 2004?
[ Nice Kicks Founder Matt Halfhill ] I truly blame 2005. That was the year that it all changed for me in terms of shoes. The release of those God awful Altitude Green XIIIs was the start of it all for me when I began to become numb to shoes. That summer also saw the release of the Dub Zero, the laser Jordan IVs, and of course the Tiffany Dunks. That summer I started getting onto other brands and have been ever since. Sadly I fell in love with Callous that year, but that brand is no longer in existance.
[ SoJones ] Can you ever see yourself without 20 or so sneakers in the closet?
[ Nice Kicks Founder Matt Halfhill ] 20 sneakers in the closet? Damn, I think if I had 20 sneakers in the closet my wife would be really happy. I have a problem of letting go of kicks since my foot stopped growing in the 8th grade. I could never see myself with that few sneakers. I use sneakers to express my emotions and how I am feeling as a person that day. If the sun is right and the day is bright, I will probably throw on some Zoom Havens with no-show socks and shorts. If I am feeling like listening to some really old school hip-hop, I’ll throw on some Puma Clydes and try to picture myself hearing these talented artists live. If I am going to a University of Texas football game, you better believe I am throwing on the burnt ornage dunks from 2004! I suffer severely from ADHD. Limiting myself to 20 shoes (and 20 personalities) would be a death sentence to me.
[ SoJones ] Well, we appreciate the interview Matt! If you would like, leave any last comments to the SoJones.com readers, NiceKicks.com browsers, and all others who come across this exclusive interview via the web!
[ Nice Kicks Founder Matt Halfhill ] Please everybody, be true to yourself above anything else. Buy what you like and what is you and ALWAYS keep an open mind towards a shoe. Go to a sneaker shop and try on different shoes than you normally buy. You will be surprised what great products are out there that few people have picked up on.
[ SoJones ] Those SoJones Don’t just keep up with the trends… We set them… Until Next Time, Stay Tuned Everyone and Stay Up On What Hip-Hop Fashion Is Doing! Kicks, Chicks, and Love y’all!