Fashion

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?

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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.