The hunt had been on for some time. If you are a Sneakerhead like me, you probably have a “grail.” Well, let me rewind and be honest; ifyou are a Sneakerhead like me, you probably have several “grails.” Grails, for the unitiated, are pairs of sneakers that you are on a constant quest to get. It might be a pair the obvious Air Command Force or something simpler like an OG Air Max 1. Whatever it may be, the grail is the ultimate goal and a culmination of sneaker-hunting, research, and dreaming. My grail at one point was the Royal Foamposites. It is such a groundbreaking concept and a sleek design. Couple that with the clean royal blue colorway and the Penny Hardaway memories, it was just a no brainer to get a hold of when Nike retroed them.

They dropped and I missed out initially. Of course, I was angry, but determined. I broke down and went the Ebay route. Days went by and the day had arrived; I broke up the USPS box, ripping open the box like a dying baby was in it, anxious to get to my grails. Just as I remember; sleek, clean, and just all the way around thoroughly dope. I immediately slipped them on my feet and exhaled. Ahhhhhhhh….the feeling.

“Ughhhhh,” my girlfriend chimed in.

“Huh?” I was puzzled.

“Yea, those are ugly,” she retorted swiftly, so sure of her opinion.

“What!” I said. “These are the foams. These are THEE shoe. If you think they are ugly now wait til you see how much I paid for them.”

It wasn’t that my heart sank. It wasn’t that I cared so much what she thought of my clothes. I was offended FOR my shoes. How could someone be so ignorant to diss the royal blue Foams? Its outlandish to even think about it.

The situation brought me to an interesting epiphany. Sneakerheads dress for themselves, not others. Many people dress a certain way to attract girls, or to impress others. People wear nice suits to work in some environments to impress business partners. Teenagers wear clothing that identifies themselves as part of a certain group, whether it is a subconscious or conscious choice. Sure, a Foamposite looks like a dream come true to me, but to that random girl walking behind me at the mall, it probably looks like a pair of bulky plastic blue moon-boots. Its an acquired taste, if you will. When I was 12 years old and sipped a beer I thought it was disgusting. Fast forward to today and, yes, I can knock back a couple. The acquired taste, in the case of sneakers, comes with education, research, and a little storytelling.

Sure, I looked like a douchebag explaining to my girlfriend why these shoes meant a good deal to me. I mean, I might as well have been a Star Trek convention-goer wearing a Spock uniform convincing a dime piece why warp drive is cool. However, as you might have guessed, I still, to this day, have the Foams in my closet and I rock them proudly. Still have the girlfriend, too.

Besides, we all have our vices and warp-drive is cool, isn’t it?

TypeCastAaron is a lifelong sneakerhead, residing in Columbus, Ohio. He chops it up with fellow sneakerheads and studies Sociology at Ohio State Unversity. Reach Aaron at www.twitter.com/typecastaaron