Rainier Doria drops insight into the rise of streetwear
For many modern day sneakerheads, the infatuation with unique kicks and streetwear culture began long before the term ‘sneakerhead’ was even in the mainstream. That’s the case for Rainier Doria, the basketball fan kid from Vancouver who has become a notable sneaker collector, sharing the hype of his unbeatable collection with 17.3k IG followers and over 6k YouTube channel subscribers.
Doria was only 9 years old when the Air Jordan Concord 11s dropped, and as a young impressionable MJ fanatic who was blown away by the impactful 30-second TV spot Nike advertised them with, the sneaker obsession began. At the time he couldn’t persuade his parents to get him the originals, but he eventually copped the pair which remains untouched as one of his current faves, and the rest is history.
We've been chatting with fellow sneakerheads like Doria to commemorate our first ever collab drop with The Shoe Surgeon, and we discussed everything from his childhood connections to basketball to the ever-evolving community of streetwear culture. Scroll down and get ready for major sneaker envy.
You've had the feels for iconic sneakers since you were very young. What originally attracted you to this universe?
My first love was basketball… My Grandpa and my mom were big fans of Magic Johnson and the “showtime” Lakers back In the 80’s. So, at a very young age I was exposed to sneakers and basketball. While they were fans of the Lakers I was becoming a fan of Michael Jordan and the Bulls. It wasn’t until I was 7 years old that I got my very first pair of air Jordans in 1992, the charcoal Air Jordan 7.
Some releases sell out in just a few hours. What makes sneakers and street style culture part of the consumption hype?
Sneakers and street culture were so niche back then, that having multiple sneakers wasn’t such a mainstream “thing”. Sneakerheads weren't seen as “cool” by the masses, we were “cool” in our own way because we loved basketball and were fans of certain players , that’s why we’d buy certain pairs. But now, I think everyone wants to be a part of certain communities and sneakerhead culture is a way for those other people to express their own personalities… sneakers and clothing are a good way to do so.
Sneakers and basketball have gone hand in hand for a long time. What is it about basketball that helps form such an ever-changing sneaker culture?
For me, growing up I idolized the likes of Michael Jordan (the OG goat), Penny Hardaway, and Kobe (RIP 👏 Goat), not to mention I personally love to play basketball. I think now the younger generation of sneakerheads don’t necessarily look at basketball players for “fitspo”, they gravitate toward more influencer type characters. Most of the time artists like Travis Scott are very into the whole “streetwear style” and the sneaker community gravitates to the next wave they set. But, don’t sleep on the NBA players like Shai Gilgeous Alexander, Kelly Oubre, D’Angelo Russell, just to name a few…
You said the "Concord 11 changed the way you look at sneakers." What separates that pair from the rest?
I think the main reason why I gravitated towards the Concord 11s so much is because I grew up as an MJ fan. So, when he first retired in ‘94, as a kid and a fan I was devastated. When I heard “I’m back”, the one thing that I was looking forward to was to see “what pair is MJ wearing?” During the Orlando series when the Bulls lost, he wore the Jordan 10’s, then broke out a pair of Concords during the Eastern conference finals. MJ was actually fined by the NBA for wearing the Concords, that’s why he wore the Space Jams right after. Plus, that original Air Jordan XI commercial was truly something. The Concords are just truly a beautiful sneaker.
As a big collector, you have various editions of the same model — but they all look perfect. What's your secret for maintaining kicks in their best condition?
The key is to have a solid rotation, I can’t stress that enough. I do have my main “collection” but I also love to wear a bunch of random Nikes & other sneakers that I like. I don’t buy everything that releases, I like to have multiple pairs of certain colourways and models. If I really like ‘em, I’ll have a minimum of 2 pairs, sometimes 3.
If you could use only one pair for the rest of your life, which would it be?
This is a hard question for me to answer, because I have two pairs of sneakers that I personally can’t live without: the Concord 11’s and the Air Jordan 1 Chicagos… BUT, if I really had to choose, I’d go with the Chicago 1. Mainly because I can wear it with anything!
Good thing you never have to pick just one when it comes to classic kicks.
For your next read, don't miss more [metcha originals] in honor of our METCHA x The Shoe Surgeon AJ XI drop.