The so-called "sneakerhead" culture, with its roots in basketball and hip-hop, began in the late 1980s with the release of the first Nike Air Jordan shoes, the brand of former Chicago Bulls star Michael Jordan. Now the fad of collecting and trading athletic shoes is taking on a new fervor.
That's partly because of the re-release of vintage shoes in limited quantities. Experts who track the trend say the Internet and social networking also have created more interest.
Avid collectors sometimes reap hundreds or even thousands of dollars in profits by reselling shoes they buy for $200 a pair. The recession, and people's need for cash, also may be playing a role. One recent release of limited edition shoes caused riots in Orlando, Fla., and other cities.