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The Ultimate Sneakerhead Gift Guide For The 2021 Holiday Shopping Season

GOAT, grail, brick, deadstock, size run, OG, retro, aftermarket, these are all words you’ve probably heard from that sneakerhead in your family or friend circle. Phrases and terms that you’ve probably pretended to know as you politely nod while they talk your ear off about the latest “must cop drop.” As someone who spends every week writing about and looking at sneakers, I get it — keeping up with the world of hype beasts can be exhausting. But if you’ll take a look at the calendar you’ll notice we’re rapidly approaching the holiday season and I’m willing to bet now you’re wishing you paid a little more attention to the wants of the sneakerhead in your life.

Luckily, we’ve got your back! Sneakerheads are a highly picky bunch, while it may seem like shoe culture is all the same to the outside eye, the wants and needs of the average sneakerhead are full of nuance. Is your sneakerhead about checks or stripes? Did you just gift PUMAs to a staunch Jordan head? Do you even know what we’re talking about?

Using this well-curated shopping guide for sneakerheads will help to ensure that your gift doesn’t fall flat this holiday season. Let’s dive in!

Deadstock Los Angeles Shoe Cleaner Kit

Sneaker Gift Guide
Deadstock Los Angeles

Price: $18.99

Yes, buying a sneaker cleaner kit almost seems too obvious, but the simple fact is, every sneakerhead needs one of these. Even if you’re dealing with a person who likes to rock their shoes a little worn and grungy, they likely have one pair they’ve reserved for any occasions when they need to look squeaky clean. Help them make their lives easier by picking up this sneaker cleaner kit from Deadstock Los Angeles.

This kit features an eight-ounce bottle of cleaning solution, which will work on canvas, cloth, mesh, knit, and other common sneaker materials, a bristled cleaning brush, and a cloth to wipe it all down. It’s not the most exciting gift, but the sneakerhead in your life will appreciate it.

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Jason Markk Repel Spray

Sneaker Gift Guide
Jason Markk

Price: $17

We’re in the winter months, which means temperatures are dipping, rains are coming, roads and walkways are getting wet, and that’s a bit problem for almost any pair of sneakers. A sneaker cleaning kit will definitely help to keep sneakers looking as good as new but if you want to prolong the lifespan of every pair, you’re going to need a repel spray, like this one made by Jason Markk.

Repel spray creates a liquid and stain repelling barrier that surrounds the sneaker and keeps them safe from superficial stains. Whether you’re dealing with suede, nubuck, leather, nylon, or canvas, repel spray will keep sneakers fresh without altering the look or feel of the original material.

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Gift Cards

Sneaker Gift Guide
Nike

Price: Varies

The next time you find yourself in a mall you might think it would be a good idea to grab a gift card from Foot Locker or Finish Line while you’re out shopping for everything else. That’s a rookie move. These days with the massive popularity of sneakers and the realities of shopping during a pandemic, the best sneakers are generally sold direct to consumers, so you’re better off grabbing a gift card that can be used at the Nike or Adidas online store than you are a gift card to a generic sneaker retailer.

Don’t know if the sneakerhead in your life is a Nike or Adidas person? Buy a generic cash-loaded gift card that they can use anywhere they want. Buying sneakers can be expensive, so help fatten wallets by taking care of some of the cost for them.

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Socks

Sneaker Gift Guide
Uniqlo

Price: Varies

For every other person aside from sneakerheads, socks are a joke gift. It’s what you get from the in-law who doesn’t know you, a gift for a person whose shopping list consists of only names, no actual gifts. But sneakerheads can never have too many socks.

Buying socks for the sneakerhead in your life will take a bit of easy investigation. Take notice of what they wear, if you never see their socks, buy no-shoe ankle socks, if they wear their socks high and coordinate the colors with their outfit, get them colorful high socks. It’s simple!

As for where you should get your socks, you’ll be happy to know there isn’t a single place sneakerheads flock to. Socks are socks, so just make sure they are soft and 100% cotton and you’re golden. Personally, I like UNIQLO since it’s a store that already caters to the streetwear-wearing crowd.

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Shoe Surgeon Academy Creators’ Paint Kit

Sneaker Gift Guide
Shoe Surgeon

Price: $100

This won’t appeal to every single sneakerhead, but the sneaker customization scene is growing day by day. It’s never been cooler to add your own personal touch to your footwear but that’s easier said than done. You can’t just pick up any marker and expect it to stand up to everyday wear and the elements. So buy a proper painting kit to help lengthen the life span of the creative sneakerhead in your life’s greatest creations.

The Shoe Surgeon Academy Creators’ Paint Kit features a set of 15 oil-based markers, a custom creator’s stencil, collectible pins, and a t-shirt that reads “never stop creating.” The stencil can be used with markers, spray paint, and airbrushes, and can be used on a variety of different materials.

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Shoe Surgeon Academy Shoemaking Toolkit

Sneaker Gift Guide
Shoe Surgeon

Price: $200

This is an even more advanced version of our previous entry and is more geared toward the aspiring sneaker designer in your life. Everyone needs to get their start somewhere, and if you have a sneakerhead in your life who has big dreams of being the next Kanye West or Virgil Abloh, they’ll massively appreciate this tool kit which covers everything they’ll need to deconstruct and reconstruct sneakers.

The full it includes a hammer, safety beveler, scratch awl, bone folder, thread snipper, seam ripper, marking compass, hook awl, leather scissors, lasting pincers, measuring tape, silver marking pen, and two heat erasable fabric pens.

A lot of those terms probably read like gibberish to you, but if you’re working on the bones of a sneaker, they make sense. We promise.

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Nike Air Force 1

Sneaker Gift Guide
Nike

Price: $90

I can’t think of a single sneaker more universally loved than the Nike Air Force 1, which you can generally find for just under $100 dollars. Given the popularity of this sneaker that price is an absolute steal.

Universally loved by both men and women, every sneakerhead has owned a pair of Air Force 1s in their life. If they don’t currently have one in rotation, it’s probably because they don’t want to drop the money on yet another pair. It’s not the kind of gift that’s going to make the sneakerhead in your life break down into tears of happiness, but it’s definitely a sneaker they’re going to love and get a lot of use out of.

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A Ma Maniére Air Jordan 3 Retro

Sneaker Gift Guide
StockX

Price: Varies Based On Size

Sneaker culture is no longer completely dominated by men. Don’t get us wrong, we’re not saying women aren’t into sneakers, they’ve always been, but now brands are finally listening and curtailing releases that better represent and speak to the woman who loves and lives for sneakers.

There isn’t a single better women’s exclusive sneaker that dropped this year than the A Ma Maniére Jordan 3. It’s a beautiful sneaker with a crisp white leather upper with grey suede paneling and accents and was such a sought-after release this year that men are still crying that it was a women’s only release.

Blow her mind by picking up a pair of Jordan 3 A Ma Maniére from the aftermarket where prices are hovering between $300 and $500 depending on size.

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Salehe Bembury New Balance 574 Yurt Team Forest Green

Sneaker Gift Guide
StockX

Price: Varies Based On Size

Maybe the sneakerhead in your life isn’t about Nike or Adidas, and that’s perfectly fine and it probably means they rock New Balances. Maybe they’re into PUMAs, but I know one person who likes PUMAs, and it’s my boss. No one else. There is no designer currently designing New Balance sneakers that is more respected than Salehe Bembury, who dropped this hiking-inspired sneaker a couple of months back.

The 574 Yurt is made with trails in mind so if you have a sneakerhead that also spends a lot of time in nature, this is an easy way to merge their two favorite interests into one.

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Adidas Yeezy BOOST 350 V2

Sneaker Gift Guide
Adidas

Price: Varies Based On Size

The most popular Yeezy silhouette (think of a sneaker silhouette like you would the model of a car) is still the Yeezy BOOST 350 V2, but unlike previous years, they’re now easier to find than ever. That doesn’t mean you’re going to be able to cruise into an Adidas store and pick them up off the shelf, but it does mean when you hit the aftermarket (where you buy authenticated resold shoes from individual sellers) you won’t have to pay too high above the shoe’s list price.

This year’s Light Bone colorway of the Yeezy 350 V2 is a dope sneaker and right now it’s selling for just over list price on aftermarket sites like StockX. That’s not exactly a steal, but it’s not going to break the bank either.

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Air Jordan 4 Retro University Blue

Sneaker Gift Guide
StockX

Price: Varies Based On Size

With prices hovering between $350 and $400 on the aftermarket, this is a big purchase, but if you’re buying it for the right person it’s the kind of gift that is going to make their holiday. The one that is going to illicit the biggest freakout. Not only is the Jordan 4 one of the best and most popular sneaker silhouettes of all time, this year’s University Blue color is one of the best released all year.

There is a high chance if you’re buying this for a sneakerhead that doesn’t already own it, they probably tried in vain to score a pair only to have their heart’s broken. Mend a heart, buy the University Blue AJ-4.

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