Cincy Sneaker Showcase attracting enthusiasts from across the country

Sneaks. Kicks. Treads.

For a subculture of tennis shoe wearers, the shoe is much more than athletic gear or a simple fashion statement. For sneaker fanatics, the shoe is a work of art, a collectable, or an extension of a lifestyle. When it comes to limited edition or rare sneaks, they wouldn't dare wear them and might even display them like a sculpture or painting.

There are magazines, blogs and websites devoted to this particular shoe fetish with bright pictures, ratings and reviews of the latest specialty or limited edition Air Jordan's, Air Force 1's, Timberlands or Vans.

But if you want to get an up-close-and-personal look at some of these top-notch shoes, more than 75 collectors, buyers and sellers will be at the third Cincinnati Sneaker Showcase June 11, 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. at the Kingsgate Marriot at the University of Cincinnati. For the uninitiated, a sneaker show is akin to a comic book convention, where people buy, trade or just admire sneakers.

The Cincinnati Sneaker Showcase once again is being organized by Matt Tomamichel, who owns Corporate, a sneaker and clothing boutique in Springdale. Sneaker showcases are common in big urban centers like New York, L.A., Atlanta and Miami, but Tomamichel is working to create the premier Midwest show. He also believes this is the only sneaker show in the Midwest where the proceeds go to a cause.

"People starting doing these a couple of years ago … we decided to use it as a fundraiser instead of (proceeds) going into someone's pocket," he said. "This goes 100 percent back to the kids."

Entry is $5 and money raised from the event will go to Shining Star Sports, a nonprofit, mentoring organization that teaches children and young adults life skills and teamwork through the game of basketball. Shining Star supports 20 teams, 200 players and a 35-person staff.

"We've had some great success with kids going on to Division I schools and getting scholarships though Shining Star Sports," Tomamichel said.

The first two shows were held in 2007 and 2009, and have grown each year from 25 displays the to 75 as of now. At least 500 enthusiasts are expected to check out the showcase this summer. Collectors from Cleveland, New York, Atlanta and Texas will be setting up displays, and Tomamichel has fielded calls from as far away as L.A.

Anyone interested in finding out more about the Cincinnati Sneaker Showcase, or in purchasing a table can go to the showcase website. You can also find info on Twitter and Facebook.

Writer: Feoshia Henderson
Source: Matt Tomamichel, owner of Corporate

You can follow Feoshia on twitter @feoshiawrites
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