Lace ‘em up

Local entrepreneur kicks Twin Cities Sneaker.Art Xchange into action.

Sneakers and work by local artists adorn the walls of STUDIiYO23 in Uptown. The high end sneaker shop is one-third art gallery and also occasionally serves as a performance space.

Mark Vancleave

Sneakers and work by local artists adorn the walls of STUDIiYO23 in Uptown. The high end sneaker shop is one-third art gallery and also occasionally serves as a performance space.

Spencer Doar

What: Twin Cities Sneaker Art Xchange           

When: 2-6 p.m., Sunday

Where: First Avenue, 701 N. First Ave.,   Minneapolis

Cost: $12

Ages: All ages

 

Last Saturday morning a line formed outside of a small Minneapolis shop for its 10 a.m. open, and patrons weren’t waiting for Apple products.

Those who had neglected their Friday night drinking for an early-bird jaunt over to Studiiyo23 were there for one thing: The Air Jordan IX “Crawfish” in a maroon and gold colorway.

“It’s exciting to be around people that passionate, when to someone like my sister, it’s just a shoe,” Be Scene Mpls blog founder, Jake Heinitz, said. “But to someone else it’s a lifestyle.”

That lifestyle is what Moh Habib, owner of Studiiyo23, is trying to capitalize on.

It took 12 years of working in marketing for the airline industry before Habib finally realized his goal of owning an art space. “Art space” is what he calls his sneaker-focused apparel shop on Hennepin Avenue in Uptown.

“We do open mics, have DJ tables. We’ve had salsa lessons, guitar lessons,” Habib said. “Art, music, sneakers — to me it’s all the same thing.”

It is that converging mindset that pushed Habib to organize the Twin Cities Sneaker Art Xchange, or TCS.AX.

“I’ve been to [sneaker events] across the nation,” Habib said. “But I would never host a sneaker-only event.”

That is why First Avenue will feature DJs, clothing, short sets from 16 different local MCs, art and, finally, sneakers on Sunday. The official after-party boasts Raekwon of the Wu-Tang Clan.

Studiiyo23’s layout even reflects his multi-faceted approach: displays are malleable. Everything is on wheels or adjustable, so Habib can play with the presentation when he gets bored.

The constant search for something unique marks the sneakerhead.

Jon Goodman, founder of JGoods and TCS.AX participant, grew up playing sports with his brothers, always yearning for the legendary Jordans.

“I wanted different shoes,” Goodman said. “So I started experimenting with different ways to paint shoes and created my own paint.”

A decade later, the Twin Cities native has painted shoes for celebrities from Jay-Z to Torii Hunter. Hunter’s custom sneaks were modeled around the colors and grill of his Bentley. Jay-Z’s shoes played with the colors of clean water in light of his Water for Life tour.

But the majority of JGoods’ business comes from selling his custom paint kit, allowing for customers to put their own stamp on their footwear.

So for someone who does not have $1,000 for the pair of the limited edition Air Jordan IV Doernbechers that hang on Studiiyo23’s wall, there are options.

“[In Minnesota] you might be able to get away with wearing the same thing as someone else, but other places — that’s not cool,” founder of Sneaker Headz Clothing, Mike Jackson, said. “Just like you might have two women showing up to prom in the same dress — it’s not cool.”