Sneaker Con Miami Reveals Swaggy Pre-Teen Economy

The BankUnited Center was packed wall-to-wall with devoted sneakerheads on Saturday afternoon. Middle-aged dudes and middle-school hustlers gathered in the University of Miami's basketball stadium to cop swag while munching on $3.75 Skittles (swag) and sipping on $4.50 Cokes (swag swag.)

Living, breathing children walked around, hoisting Dunks in the air that predated their births. They pumped their unmuscular arms to the beat of "Bugatti," a song that glorifies getting black ed out and waking up in a luxury car with no financial or legal consequences. Blatant and unadulterated consumerism was literally in the air, but there were some base-ground ethics that revolved around respect for product, if not people: The common greeting for bargain-finders was "Can I touch them?" Because the music was so loud, the usual departure was signaled with a grunt or a head shake, which meant the asking price for a certain shoe was higher than what was on the sneaker blogs. Parents stood by, non-plussed, as their pre-pubescent spawn wheeled and dealed and often came out ahead.

But how do kids obtain shoes that are worth the median weekly income of a Floridian family?

KEEP MIAMI NEW TIMES FREE... Since we started Miami New Times, it has been defined as the free, independent voice of Miami, and we'd like to keep it that way. With local media under siege, it's more important than ever for us to rally support behind funding our local journalism. You can help by participating in our "I Support" program, allowing us to keep offering readers access to our incisive coverage of local news, food and culture with no paywalls.
Allie Conti was a fellow at Miami New Times and a staff writer for New Times Broward-Palm Beach, where her writing won awards from the Florida Press Club and the Society of Professional Journalists. She's now the senior staff writer at Vice and a contributor to the New York Times, New York Magazine, and the Atlantic.