His stature may not appear that imposing, but his fedora and sneaker collection is. In only a brief 23 years; the back-to-back Baltimore Sneaker Show Champion has endured and literally survived. If you stacked his shoes upon themselves they might be taller than him but it is the size of his heart, the size of his passion that has him where he is today. Just a few short weeks after a successful defense of his 2013 Baltimore Sneaker Show championship, we caught up with the Sole-U front-man, “Mr. Shoe” Cameron Wecker.
A: Cameron Wecker is a 23-year old assistant restaurant and catering manager at the Elkridge Furnace Inn who just so happens to be a sneaker enthusiast, people person and fashion lover. I have a long past but an even brighter future. One of Sole-U’s original team members!
Q: You have an interesting story, can you share with us?
A: My story is rather long but I will try to sum it up as quickly as possible. I was born about a month premature and at three months old, I started becoming very sick, the long and short of the story is that I was chronically ill for the first 18 years of my life. I had a very rare genetic disorder that is now known by the names of IPEX or X-LAAD. In 2001, I had an experimental bone marrow transplant that cured the then-unnamed disease.
At the time there were only 11 known cases in the world and seven came from my family. I was the guinea pig, I had four brothers and two cousins that passed away from the same illness, while one cousin survived.
My older sister, Genelle was my bone marrow donor. Johns Hopkins Children’s Center was where I was treated and the disease was named. To recap, because of the medication I was on as a child…I stopped growing at all for over six years. So that meant no new sneakers, being a huge basketball fan at a whopping 3’6″. I was fascinated with players like Shaq and (Michael) Jordan and always wanted their shoes but never grew out of my old ones. After my transplant at age 10, I was put on human growth hormone and at about 13 years old, my passion for sneakers skyrocketed as I began to grow again.
Q: Who is “Mr. Shoe”, how did you come up with the name?
A: Mr. Shoe is my identity in the sneaker community, it’s not my alter-ego or anything like that but just a fun way for people who don’t know me personally to identify with me out on the streets. I worked at Champs Sports from 2007-2009 and during that time, Nike released the ‘Mr. Shoe’ Air Force 1 line, all Baltimore-area exclusives, and I bought myself a pair.
Not only sparking my love for Air Force 1s, which is now my favorite Nike silhouette, but also gave me an opportunity to identify myself with something in the sneaker community.
“Mr. Shoe” was the code term for Air Force 1s in Baltimore City, as they were so popular that they sold out almost instantly, if you were in the know, you knew to ask for “Mr. Shoe” and reserve your pair in advance. Having so many pairs of sneakers throughout middle school and high school, I adopted the nickname and it has stuck.
Q: What was the first shoe that got you hooked?
A: Ironically…the first shoe that got me hooked was nothing flashy, it was a Team Jordan that I saved up my allowance to get all on my own. The Jordan Team Pure was the first shoe I ever bought. In fifth grade is when I got my first pair of Air Jordans when the ‘Cool Grey’ 9 first released, that definitely hooked me from then on out.
A: Right now, I’m sitting on somewhere around 220 pairs. Some of my favorites are my ‘Iron Man’ Air Force 1s that only released in GS sizes…my ‘Questlove’ Air Forces and my Air Slim Shady Nike Burst. Just to name a few haha.
Q: What do you think makes a collection complete?
A: To me personally; a collection is never complete. I will never have all the shoes I want, even if I was a billionaire. There would be shoes that I couldn’t hunt down that I would want. It never stops for true collectors.
Q: Last year (2013) you captured the Baltimore Sneaker Show title…what was that feeling like?
A: Well…last year’s competition wasn’t steep at all and that’s not me being cocky, that’s just the honest truth. But. it was the first time I had brought all my shoes out of the closet and displayed them and that was a cool feeling. I got a lot of love from my table and it was my birthday. So, winning on my birthday and feeling the love from everyone was a great feeling!
Q: You had an interesting take on this year’s show prior to. Share that with us.
A: Haha yeah. I’m a very humble dude, especially with sneakers. I’ve never boasted and bragged that I have the best collection because I don’t. To be honest, I don’t feel like I have that much “exclusive” stuff and the competition was steep this year. Between Omar with a table full of JUST SAMPLES AND PEs to my man who had every LeBron and Flightposite ever released, I definitely underestimated myself.
At the end of the day, I really appreciate Suraj from SneakerRoom and Victor Cruz for digging deeper and appreciating the older stuff on my table to show my age in the game – 1983 Converse Magic Johnsons won the show haha. After seeing my display compared to everyone else’s..I wasn’t too shocked to be honest haha.
Q: So, what’s next for Cameron as well as Mr. Shoe?
A: Cameron is working on opening the first ever restaurant and sneaker boutique combination somewhere in the Baltimore area. As far as Mr. Shoe, he hopes to continue to push Sole-U as a brand as well as himself and his followers in the sneaker community. It’s always about the shoes and the love for the game and the community.
Remember to always, always, always – WEAR YOUR KICKS!