TH: First off can we get a quick intro for the people who may not be familiar? Name, Age, Hometown, Occupation.

NICK: Nick DePaula, 28, Sacramento, CA (currently living in Portland, OR), Editor-In-Chief at Sole Collector Magazine.

TH: Being the Editor-In-Chief over at Sole Collector as you celebrated your 10 year anniversary this year, have you had time to reflect at all how much Sole Collector has contributed to the sneaker world over the last 10 years?

NICK: That's a great question, and I really haven't yet. Maybe another ten years from now, I'll be able to figure out whatever impact it is that we've made. I'm not too big on self-congratulations, so I keep a pretty present-tense view of our work and am always just excited about whatever our next issue, project or feature might be.

The most fun part about everything has just been all of the people I've gotten to meet. I've met people through shoes that have become lifelong friends, and one thing that's great about shoes and basketball is that it brings people of all kinds of backgrounds and regions together. I've gotten to know friends from all over the place, whether it's Oakland, Las Vegas, Miami, London or Toronto and it's all because we had a common love for sneakers.

TH: The Sole Collector team has done some very big things in the last 10 years. What is the one specific event that you still look back on in disbelief and pinch yourself that you were able to be a part of?

NICK: Definitely the Penny Signature Pack Event at Nike Las Vegas in October of 2010. To be able to work on not one, but five models from the Penny line was tons of fun and hopefully people liked the colorways that we came up with for each model. The I and III are probably my favorites, just because Nike Sportswear hasn't done too many wild themes or colors on either of those and I like how bold the blue upper and white wings look. 

The other thing that makes it so much fun is how great Penny is. Not only was he really excited to interact with his fans at the event in Vegas, but we initially were going to have him pull the first raffle ticket for the 25 Penny Packs we had on hand, and then he could exit the event.

He insisted on pulling all 25 winners, shook each person's hand and congratulated them and also stayed extra to sign autographs for as many people as possible. You don't often see that, and he's definitely one of the best.

TH: What’s your opinion on the recent Kanye x Nike x Adidas fiasco over the past couple weeks? Do you see the Adidas venture and the now-dead Nike venture as a good or bad thing for the culture?

NICK: I love it. I'm a huge fan of variety, and growing up in the 90's, my favorites silos of stuff included the Nike Flight line, Reebok's signature models and the adidas Feet You Wear line. I thought each batch of models had a great unique design language, were bold and represented the future of where each brand was headed as footwear shifted into a new millennium of design.

Unfortunately, we got away from that variety into the 2000's, but I think Kanye's move to adidas is really going to spark a new shift once again. There's a ton of potential and I can't wait to see the impact it has.

TH: Out of all the various materials used on sneakers like Suede, Cement, Elephant, Flyknit, Patent Leather, etc., what is the one consistent personal favorite of yours that gets you every time?

NICK: I really like crazy leathers. There's just something about the texture and touch of a great full-grain or premium leather. Obviously most of the performance brands have moved entirely away from leathers, but a shoe like the Balenciaga Arena really got me the past two years 'cause the materials were insane.

TH: Being a Sacramento native myself, I have to ask you about the new ownership and acquisitions of the Kings. I saw you recently met up with Derrick Williams when he first got traded to Sac recently. How do you like the Rudy Gay addition as well?

NICK: Even though I've been living in Portland for awhile now, I'm definitely always going to be a Kings fan and that's never changing. I've known Derrick for a few years now and helped him pick out shoes to wear when he was in Minnesota, and it's been pretty cool since he got traded to Sacramento to start looking for some size 15s in purple. 

Like with any mid-season trade, there's an adjustment period where guys have to figure out how to play alongside one another, and it'll take some time for everyone to get comfortable. I've really liked the energy Rudy has been playing with as of late, and now that Isaiah is learning how to be more of a facilitator instead of just a scoring point, I think the team can end up with a solid season. Hopefully we can get a top 7 pick in the 2014 draft and we'll see where things go from there.

TH: Out of all the Sole Collector collaborations you have done with Nike, what would you consider your personal favorite shoe and colorway out of the bunch?

NICK: The Penny Pack is my favorite because of the Vegas event and the magnitude of it all, but I also really like the Zoom Flight Club that I did in 2009. It was an underappreciated model at the time, but I just REALLY liked it all along and thought Jason Petrie killed that design. I pushed hard for a SC collab version on it, even though the Basketball group had other models they were higher on and wanted to push. 

It was great to be able to do a Kings colorway on them that I think turned out pretty nice. I played in the Flight '89 and Hyperflights in High School growing up in Sacramento, and have always really liked The Glove too, so to work on the Flight Club, which combined those three models together, was really cool.

TH: Do you remember what specific shoe and colorway sparked your interest in sneakers, and if so, what about that shoe did it for you?

NICK: It was definitely the carbon fiber colorway of the Zoom Flight '95. That's my favorite shoe of all time, and I remember being 10 years-old and the exact first time I saw it at the Foot Locker at Downtown Plaza in Sacramento. Even almost twenty years later, it's still one of the most futuristic and crazy designs ever, and it's part of the reason I think Eric Avar is the best footwear designer.

At the time, Jason Kidd was one of my favorite players, and I really don't know if I'd be into shoes like I am now if that shoe never came out. I've got around 20 pairs now in almost every color, and I don't see anything topping it for me anytime soon. It's a perfect design.

TH: With the many negative things a lot of the young kids have to deal with nowadays with sneaker bots, everyone reselling, people getting shot for shoes and higher prices than ever, what would you say gives the sneaker industry the biggest black eye?

NICK: I think the way shoes are released now makes it really tough for everyone. It's just really, really hard to get something that everyone else is after, and ever since Instagram and Twitter picked up, the frenzy over pretty much every launch is just insane.

It's somewhat of a good problem to have though, because it means brands are putting out shoes we can get excited about and that there's lots of options out there. I just think most people would like to see a smoother process for web launches, and I obviously hate hearing about fights in line ever taking place.

TH: If you could be a Nike exec for the day what would be the one original shoe or colorway you would retro immediately and why?

NICK: Well luckily I wouldn't necessarily have to be an exec to make that call, but a shoe I'd really like to see again is the LeBron II. It's one of my favorite player designs and Ken Link nailed every aspect of it. I also really like the Vis Zoom Uptempo, Talaria, Spiridon and Pippen II. NSW could do a ton with all of those models and it'd be great to see them come back. The one Jordan I still NEED is Indiglo XIVs. I'm just hoping they do those right with some solid full grain leather when they do come back out.

TH: What’s one of your biggest guilty pleasures besides sneakers?

NICK: I'm a really bad cook -- because I never even try -- so I pretty much eat out every night, and Portland has a great mix of all kinds of different restaurants. I'm big on seafood, steak, thai and sushi, and I've been loving the past six years out here because of all the great spots I can check out regularly. I like trying new stuff and this is a great town for food. Other than that, I like checking out interior design and architecture blogs.

TH: Any last words for the people out there?

NICK: I think the biggest thing that I always try and stress is that sneakers are the most fun when you're finding things you personally like and have a connection to. Whether it's a player you grew up liking or a specific design that catches your attention, I'm really big on just enjoying my own tastes and the things I like, versus going out and getting stuff because it's hyped up or something everyone else wants to get their hands on. 

The other thing I tell people is that there's no threshold of knowledge or number of pairs required to be into shoes. I didn't necessarily have all of the best sneakers growing up, but I just really liked looking at different designs and following what all of the players around the league were wearing. I've met people that have 500 pairs of shoes and people that have 10 pairs that have the same passion and love for their shoes, and I think that's pretty cool to appreciate. 

I never like seeing people make fun of someone else for not having a big collection or getting a name wrong or something. It's definitely never that serious and the more the community can embrace eachother, the better.

TH: Where can people follow you on social media and contact you?

NICK: You can catch me on Instagram [link: instagram.com/_NDP] and Twitter [Twitter.com/_NDP] on my @_NDP accounts. One is for daily shoe shots of random things I'm into, and I'll also post up player endorsement deal info on Twitter.

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Stay tuned for more as we will have much more content and inside looks into the lives of the sneakerhead's that keep it moving in the right direction.

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