The next stop of our Sneakerhead in Focus series is Amsterdam. This time, we caught up with Koen “Sneakersheep” Kappelhoff whose great shots and variety had us drooling. Once again, we stumbled upon an excellent collection of collabs and GR beauties that have been inconspicuously sidelined by mainstream hype releases, appearing in all their vibrant glory intact on his feet.
Hi! My name is Koen. I am currently living in Amsterdam and have been for the past 6 years. I’m a physical therapist, specializing in issues with the feet, orthopedic inlays and running analysis. So, I treat my patients’ feet daily and work with related shoes and their performance.
Originally, my love for sneakers began in the mid 90s with the Nike Air Max. This has been an extremely popular shoe here in the Netherlands from the beginning. We are a very Air Max-oriented country.
The one who introduced me to the sneaker game was my brother. He’s six years older than me. He helped me get hard to find pairs, not only from Holland, where we lived but from all over the world. He once came back from Italy with the dopest Air Max Classic BW I had ever seen. These never came out in Holland. Besides his influence, hip-hop culture played a huge role in developing my sneaker addiction. Watching the cover of the LPs, cassettes with all the performers wearing those sneakers you just couldn’t find in the stores. In the early 2000s, the dunk came to Holland with the ‘Be True to Your School’-series. That was the beginning of the real addiction and I started collecting dunks.
I got a job as a paperboy and all the money I earned working those mornings went into buying sneakers. This transitioned into the beginning era of the Nike Dunk Pro B series. From there, I started collecting all the dunks and even the limited ones that started to catch my eye. At this time I turned to the internet and came across all kinds of online sneaker communities!
When 2003 hit, runners came back into play for me with some new releases. This grew and the past decade I have been focusing on getting my hands on all type of runners. This is what I do today, and my Instagram feed is filled with them.
For many, Nike Air Trainer is a tough silhouette to fall in love with. You on the other hand seem to embrace it. What about the silhouette is special to you?
The first Nike Air trainer silhouette was the Nike Air Trainer 1 Chlorophyll. From that moment on, I started buying more trainers. I liked that it was different from what everyone else was wearing and they were affordable too. The strap is perfect for my feet. I can adjust the width of the feet and it keeps my foot in place. Plus, it looks freaking awesome. It gives it that something extra which makes the shoe pop. The color variations on these shoes, from 2000 on, were crazy and so different. The Nike Air Trainer 1 Paul Brown was one of the first SB trainers out there. It had the crazy CW of autumn colors, brown, premium suede with blue leather hits.
What made you sell your dunks? Explain how they played a role in getting you started as a collector
First of all, I am regretting selling most of my dunks. There was some nostalgic value in them for me. I started selling them when I was collecting mostly runners and a number of friends of mine really wanted to have the dunks. These were collecting dust in my closet at the time. So there wasn’t anything to it. I needed the money to buy new kicks so I gave away a number of dunks to my dearest friends, but most went to my brother. It wasn’t about the reselling. It was about making the people happy who really loved the sneakers for the way they looked and felt as well as for their performance.
The ones which I would never sell are my Nike Dunk De La Soul pack and especially the Highs from ‘05. Not only for the way they look, but because De La Soul is my favorite rap group of all time.
Your collection consists of Karhu, Etonic, Le Coq Sportif and the like. Having started your sneaker journey with Nike, what made you branch out and rock these brands?
As a kid, I never got any Nike shoes. I got stuff like Umbro, Karhu, Converse, Etonic and British Knights. So it really started with these shoes. In fact, it isn’t that I branched out, but I came back to the old silhouettes that I could appreciate now all the more. Karhu’s Aria Fuchsia colorway used to be my mother’s old workout shoes, until at some point, I actually claimed them from her. These had the early runner colorways. Now, I had something close to Nikes, but on a different brand.
What’s your take on apparel boutiques doing sneaker collabs? Do you think it’s a popular shortcut to generate sales these days or do you feel they have something to offer that a sneaker customizer doesn’t?
Of course it’s popular to create sales today. Therefore, I just don’t buy all the collabs. A lot of times I buy a collab because the materials are so much more interesting and more premium. I like it when apparel boutiques do something different and drop a collab. Sometimes it’s interesting, but often it’s mainly junk, like all the other GR releases. The sneaker market is simply flooded at this point. Don’t get me wrong though. Although all that is true, I love buying sneakers regardless.
What’s your favorite sneaker brand and why? What are some of the important things you consider before buying a collab? Which is your favorite boutique and why?
At this time I don’t have a brand affiliation. If it’s dope, I rock it. That being said, my sneaker brands are mainly Nike, Saucony and Asics. Collab or not, the first important thing is that I like the silhouette of the shoe and that it fits my style. Next to that, the materials and the colorways are what make me buy.
My favorite boutique? That is Patta. This Amsterdam boutique is known worldwide for their crazy and progressive sneaker collabs and color ways.
Your Top 5 Shoes from your collection
Nike Dunk High SB “De La Soul”
Patta x Nike Air Max 90 “Homegrown”
Atmos x Nike Air Max 1 “Safari”
Patta x Parra x Asics Gel Lyte Speed
24 Kilates x Le Coq Sportif LCS1000 “Gallo”
One of my favorite pairs of all time which I will never own because they are so damn expensive. These are the Nike Air Max 1 Albert Heijn. For the Dutchies or Air Max fans they are the Holy Grail. However, in 2006 I had the opportunity to grab them for what we would now consider a steal – €1200! I chose to pass them up in favor of buying myself a new snowboard and went on a 10-day winter holiday instead.
For the new generation sneakerheads, or the people who want to start – buy the sneakers you like. Be creative and come up with your own style. Don’t jump on the bandwagon. Last of all, wear all your shoes and feel fly doing so.
Shoutout to the IG sneaker community. Also, a big shoutout to all the older Dutchies, the ML75 and Lacebag members that are still representing the Dutch sneaker culture. Keep doing what you’re doing and never stop rocking them kicks!
We knew we were in for a big surprise when our sneakerhead-in-focus happened to be a physiotherapist. A person who understands sports-related injuries, is involved with running analysis and of course works with shoes as a part of a patient’s healing process. His elaborate and colorful inventory full of iconic silhouettes is second only to his intricate knowledge of each silhouette in his collection. His vivid narrative was the final stroke on this perfect picture we had hoped he would paint for us. A big shoutout to Koen for his time, effort and for sharing his amazing collection with us. Also, a big shoutout to him for doing a special outdoor photoshoot just for this feature.
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