One of the largest vintage collections we’ve seen first-hand, the German turnschuhe treasure keeper, Allucanwear, takes some time out to talk to eatmoreshoes about her extensive stockpile.
Most OG heads have a trove of gems stashed away somewhere that shock and awe us all. However typically such leaders of the sneaker underworld focus on one or two brands or at least a limited range of types. Not to say that’s all they have, but in general, we tend to see people find a style and stick with it, refining and revolving over the years, but never quite having everything at once. This simplistic rule of thumb does not however apply to Allucanwear.
Stocking tons of brands, nearly every type of trainer (from runners to basketball to handball and beyond), and even rare vintage clothing, Allucanwear’s collection is just literally mind-blowing. With shoes being sold off non-stop on Internet auction sites, it’s likely that some of you readers already know of the collector, but for those that don’t, we struck some luck and had a moment to catch up on the details of her past and present in the comfort of the eatmoreshoes HQ in Berlin, Germany.
First of all, Sarah (aka Allucanwear), please tell us about your hobbies if you’re comfortable with sharing.
I’m a collector and seller of vintage sport items from the ‘50s to the ‘90s for more than ten years. In addition I’ve been playing tennis for more than fifteen years and Andre Agassi was always one of my favorite tennis players. I like his talent and of course his awesome style. That’s the reason why you can find a lot of Agassi Challenge Court clothing on my homepage too.
You probably didn’t win your kicks on the court though, so how’d you come across such an insanely vast collection of sneakers?
Around ten years ago I started to collect vintage sport catalogues and I found my first vintage pair of kicks that I saw in one of these catalogues in the window display of an old sports store, and I needed them! So I asked the owner and made him a very good offer (come to think of it, I believe now that the offer was too good). A new hobby was born, and over time that hobby has turned into a ‘disease’.
An all too familiar story, we must admit! And after that first pair you bought how did your ‘disease’ spread?
I put my first pair into a showcase but the space around the first pair was very empty. So I decided to find and collect more vintage pairs to fill out the showcase. Now, nearly ten years later, I think I should collect showcases to accommodate my collection of more than one thousand pairs of vintage trainers.
Considering your level of admiration for vintage kicks, how do you feel about modern day sneakers in comparison?
I think the spirit of the vintage pairs is gone. The retro models look like the old versions but you feel the spirit only in the original vintage releases. Nevertheless I think some of these retros are very nice too, but unfortunately not very rare. This means everyone is wearing them. They’re really not as unique as the original ones.
Well said. So let’s talk brands… it’s obvious that adidas is your ‘lieblingsmarke’, but why? What do the three stripes represent and mean to you that the other brands don’t?
I like adidas more than the other brands, plain and simple. I think adidas trainers look better and the spirit of vintage is so alive in the brand. No doubt PUMA shoes (and other brands’ shoes) are very nice too – and as you can see on my homepage there are some rare pieces – but I always come back to the three stripes. I really don’t know why, maybe it depends on my childhood because I’ve been wearing adidas shoes ever since I can remember.
I believe a lot of people would agree with you there. Overall, how would you describe your collection?
I think my collection is multi-colored and by that I don’t only mean that I have vintage trainers of various hues. No, instead I mean to say that the different categories of models you can find on my homepage is vast and varied. For example I’ve got leisure trainers, basketball high tops, wrestling shoes, boxing boots, running models, and more. Altogether I’m very happy about my collection and I’m a little bit proud too because I think I can say that not many people will top my collection of more than one thousand pairs of vintage trainers.
No doubt, it’s massive and with so many gems! Do you feel like there is anything you don’t have or still really want?
No, at the moment I’m desire-less and happy! The only items I’m always looking for are vintage sport catalogues.
Aren’t we all? You seem to have so many deadstock pairs, do you not wear them ever?
Of course I would love to wear them but some of them are not my own size and honestly I don’t like to wear unworn pairs because the worth of an unworn pair will be reduced with every step you take.
Spoken like a true collector! And on that topic: why are you selling everything now?
I don’t sell everything. Some vintage pairs are still parts of my private collection and not for sale (at least for the moment). But sometimes I might have three to five pairs of the same shoe or in a wrong size, so I’m more than happy to offload them to a collector who’s just starting to fill up his own collection or to a person who needs them to wear. Also, my house is getting swamped by my collection, so I’ve gotta make space somehow! So please don’t hesitate to email me if you’re interested in some of my stuff!
Wow, that means you’ve got even more than you’re actually publishing online… and when did you start selling (when did you become Allucanwear)?
A few years ago I decided to sell some of my trainers that I’ve got extra pairs of to make space for new things. So ‘Allucanwear’ was born.
Regarding buyers and other collectors, how do you see yourself fitting into the ‘sneaker scene’ itself?
I don’t go to events but I’ve got relationships with other collectors. At the moment I know more than thirty collectors by name. There really seems to be stacks of people with the same disease as me!
Yes, funny that there aren’t twelve step programs for sneaker collectors yet. Alright, about buying, we know you gotta keep your trade secrets, but can you tell us a few of your favorite shops or places to buy sneakers?
Normally I buy from other collectors or buy up remainders of old sport stores. I really don’t know how many collectors exist worldwide but having said that, it’s very difficult to find good vintage stuff these days. Most of these collectors are not ready to sell or trade their items.
So what’s the craziest thing you’ve ever done to get your hands on a pair you wanted?
Well, I think it was the price I’ve paid for my first pair of vintage trainers (but please don’t ask me about the price I’ve paid for this pair).
Alright, we’ll stray from that subject as it’s obviously touchy. But mildly connected, is there anything you’ve learned through your years of sneaker collecting?
Over the years I’ve collected not only vintage stuff, but I’ve collected experience too. So I think I can say that my prices are correspondent to the worth of each pair. And of course I’ve learned something about the quality of vintage trainers because not each unworn pair is still wearable or (maybe better put) ‘ready to wear’. It depends on the material of the soles or even the upper. I think in past I’ve bought around twenty unwearable pairs even though they were deadstock. Of course that’s normal for shoes that are more than thirty years old, but it can be very annoying too if you’ve paid good money for a pair that you can’t use. Because of this unfortunate artifact of age, each pair I sell is tested and ‘ready to wear’ or the damage is mentioned into the item description.
That’s fair enough. Lastly, where can people get in touch with you to cop?
A few months ago I’ve created my own homepage where people all over the world can find their ‘holy grails’ and where they can get in touch with me. By the way: every week I upload new vintage stuff on this homepage. In addition to that I’ve got a Flickr account where I’ve uploaded all items I’ve got or ever owned. And last but not least I’ve got an ebay account where my wares are available for purchase.
You’ve certainly got your online presence prepared in full force. Well, readers, you’ve heard from the master of vintage collections herself, and if you’d like to make an offer towards one of Sarah’s treasures just troll on over to her website and take a look at what’s on display. As with ourselves, we’re sure you won’t be disappointed!
written by Dylan Cromwell