Those of you that know me know that I have a passion for trainers (sneakers being the new vernacular in the UK). It’s a love that I’ve had since being in primary school when my brother and my mum bought me my first pair of Nikes in the Philippines (special prize for anyone who can guess what they were). I’ve watched the sneaker culture evolve – enthusiasts went from being lame weirdos queuing for kicks to it being a cool, social norm.
A lot has changed personally in my time collecting kicks – like becoming a dad for instance. And I’m not the only one.
In this series of conversations / interviews, I’ve asked some of my Sneaker Dad mates a few questions about what it’s like to be both a dad and a sneaker enthusiast. First up is Rain who is an integral part of the running of the “Sneakerplay” FB community and runs a sneaker review channel on YouTube: Rain Da Mask amongst many of the other pies he has his fingers in. Enjoy!
The Uncool Dad:Who are you, what do you do and how long have you been a dad for?
Rain Nelson: Who am I, I wonder that myself sometimes! What I do I work for a multinational coffee company as a Business Partner (fancy name for HR manager) so I talk all day and get paid to problem solve, kinda. also I have hand in a Trainer group, where we talk about the scene, trends and all that good stuff, on top of all that I run a food blog with five of my friends (Food, another passion) and finally I have hand in a small independent clothing company where my Brother is the owner, Phew! I’ve been a Dad for three and a half years and loving every millisecond of it apart from when he gets up in the middle of the night wanting to sleep in the “big bed” and I have a 5am start!
TUC: I think you’re being modest here bro. To be honest, I don’t understand how you find the time and energy to do all the things you do!
TUC:What’s your favourite thing about being a dad?
RN: For me it would be teaching and watching this lil man grow, for example I’m currently teaching him about Bob Marley and he loves the music even know the words but watching him dance, smile while we sing is something that cannot be replicated via any other means. I guess in essence it the spending quality time with him I actually wish I could be a stay at home dad to spend more time but hey! We are not rich so of the nursery he goes.
TUC: Speaking of stay at home dads, there seems to be a bit of a stigma about them. What are your thoughts on the topic and what do you think life would be like as one? Would you be teaching little man how count by using all of your shoe boxes? 😂
RN: Stay at home dads! I believe if your able to do that do it! I’d love to be able to spend more time with my boy, more time to teach him, develop his learning as he goes to nursery all of that, well at least part is in someone else’s hands. Also the house keeping, cleaning and what not, no issue to me, in fact if I could retire now and become a full time dad I would, minor!
TUC:What are your Top 3 kicks?
RN: Ahhhhh, I hate this question. The reason being it changes weekly, my issue is I love all sneakers (I call them trainers) and with that when I delve into the vault I pull out something I haven’t seen in a while and that joins my rotation, with that I’ll answer in regard to my current favourites:
Jordan 3 from the Fear Pack
Asics Gel Lyte iii x packer shoes x dirty buck collab
Air Max 98 X Supreme snakeskin
This is at the moment, I go to the vault on Thursday so this will change lol
TUC:Does your missus give you shit for buying kicks?
RN: What kicks? I haven’t bought a pair in a while! That’s my story but she isn’t stupid, her actual words are “You have a problem” so yes she gives me shit every time she sees a new pair, always a snide comment or sometimes a direct comment! She doesn’t understand!
TUC: Do you buy her sneakers too? If she were a sneaker, what sneaker would she be? 😂
RN: Do I buy her trainers, yeh but her taste is a lil off, and she hardly wears them, she’s more a converse girl, sorry lady. I show here new bits and she’s like “Ummmm, they’re ok” psh! That’s not the response you want to hear where your showing her a pair of off White Vapormax!
If she was a trainer what would she be, hmmmmm a pair or Air Max 1 Bespokes! Premium, strong, Stable and 1 in billion!
TUC:What is a “Dad Shoe” to you and what is your ultimate Dad shoe?
RN: Dad shoe, well for me it has to be the Air Max 1! Style, comfort and varying colour ways, and I think it’s Zanes (my sons) favourite shoe, well so he says.
RN: Ultimate shoe would have to be the vapormax, as it’s a trainer which is up 2 Di time! Again, comfort, innovation and it’s not a yesteryear trainer where I have to explain the history it’s current.
TUC: So in your opinion, a dad shoe is something that is a good balance of style and comfort?
RN: A dad trainer has to be good for comfort! When Zane decides he want to chase birds and he runs scarily close to a pond I need not worry about trainers squeezing my foot, or worry about the crease on the toe box. But in saying that they need to be stylish enough that when I pick him up from Nursery I’m seen and the trendy dads with the cool dress sense and wassie trainers!
TUC: Will/has your child inherit/ed your sneaker habit and how would you feel about your child buying expensive kicks?
RN: Realistically, yes he will but I’m not sure I want him to be as dogmatic as me when it comes to buying, as I said before I seem to like everything or a lot and that reflects on how much I spend, it’s not like I’m not going to eat because I’ve spent it all on trainers (nowadays) but if he buys like I do and he develops this collectors bug while living with me (meaning before he moved out and finds his flat) the storage issue will be a issue as my shit will take priority! Why, because I’m da daddy! I won’t mind him buying expensive trainers, but I will always tell him do not live beyond you means Mr!
TUC: But will he get your sneakers?!?!
RN: Not while I’m alive!!!! I can still wear them! Haha! I may give him a pair to stunt with but while I can still wear them, he needs to stay back and wear what we buy him! Bah, get my trainers! Nope! And that’s not mean for those of you that are shaking yours heads while reading this!
TUC: Describe your fondest / worst memory tied to a shoe you own/owned?
RN: Well, I remember having a brand new pair of scream green huaraches, not from the recent drop, 1996/7 times, not sure why but I thought it was a good idea to play football in them. Yeah they got scuffed and all that but it was a minor! I was ballin in huaraches and twissin up man! But I remember taking a free kick and all was well until I scraped the toe box on the concrete floor!!!!!!!!!!!!! What was I left with? A flipping hole the size of a 20 pence piece! I was mortified, apart from the pain I have a rasssss massive hole in my trainers the issue was as they were new i had to carry on wearing them as my parents wouldn’t buy me a new pair, woe was me!
Was it safe to say that they became “holey grails? 🤣
TUC: How have your sneaker habits changed since having a child?
RN: They haven’t, if anything they have got worse as innit look for trainer for him and me, not matching as that’s sad! Well we have one pair that are the same but we have never worn them at the same time. Trainers are my vice, I don’t smoke or drink excessively so this is where my money goes apart from nappies and Paw Patrol toys!
TUC: Oiiiiiii, what about nike iD for little man in paw patrol colourways? Straight Chase colourway..
TUC: What are your thoughts on young teens queuing and camping for sneakers?
RN: Initially where are the parents! Most times these releases are on school days! So where are they going! How can they be missing school for a pair of trainers, camping also grinds my gears as they are not prepared! I’ve seen kids camping in close to minus temperatures in coach jackets, t shirts and trainers with no socks, again, which parent lets their child out like that know what they are going to do. My view is they can camp but make sure you know where your child is, and make sure they are dressed for the weather. Hell a good parent will camp with the child if they care for their child welfare!
Make sure to follow Rain on YouTube here and check out Sneakerplay on Facebook!
Check back next week to see who I interview about kicks and fatherhood!
The Uncool Dad
P.S. A special shout to Dwayne Williams for blessing me with another logo for this segment! You’re the best!!!