Baltimore’s Finest: One-on-One with Dino Hatfield

Home is where the heart is, so it has been said. And if you want to talk about home, taking care and putting on for your backyard, in the city of Baltimore you don’t have to look too far to find Dino. A fixture in the sneaker community as a whole, Dino of course is the go-to guy when it comes to breaking sneaker info. And rarely if ever has the community been led astray in information. And even when he takes a hiatus, you get on famous question…one that begins this interview with quite frankly; Baltimore’s finest in terms of putting on for the city from a sneaker standpoint.

Q: You’ve been low key on social media for about a year….and as one person said to us; #WhereisDino?

A: Working man. This venture, that venture man.

Q: Usually around this time the Baltimore Sneaker Show is being plugged all over social media…and we already unveiled the date and poster per your blessing. Lay it on us, brother; when? Where? We need info! The people need to know!

A: June 24th FINALLY. 12-5 pm. Pimlico Race Track!

At the time of this interview, when the questions were originally drawn up…in the interest of full disclosure, there was a project in the works only a number of people knew about. We were among the few in that number to know. While still having the perspective of looking from the outside-in, we knew that the project was coming. But not even we knew to what extent. And it ultimately surprised us. And we’re sure it did the same as a game changer when it comes to sneaker shows.

Q: At the time of this interview this was between us…but you’ve been working on something major and you’ve let info and teasers out bit by bit, what can you tell us about this project that we all know now? But for those who don’t know, could you elaborate.

A: I have a very big deal going on at Under Armour. Me and my guys flipped some runners design wise to release at the sneaker show ONLY. Gonna be really cool.

Q: What is the significance of this project; do you feel that it is more an embodiment of the city of Baltimore or more a testament to the endless avenues one can travel in the sneaker culture?

A: It’s a lot in one. Bridging the Baltimore/DMV gap, bringing UA to the forefront of our culture & vice versa, us showing and proving.

Q: What does this project mean to you, what has the Baltimore Sneaker Show meant to you?

A: It means everything. It’s our first collab, Under Armour’s first collab. We’re all new at this so it means a lot. It’s really important for both sides to hit a home run man.

Q: What has been the most challenging and rewarding aspect over the years of making the Baltimore Sneaker Show what it is?

A: It’s keeping the public pleased. Everybody’s attention span is 24 hours. Good publicity, bad publicity all of it only lasts 24 hours now. So doing a show once a year is tough to get people to stick to attention wise. Especially with new shows up and coming all the time.

Q: On to some broader topics. Privately we’ve had various conversations about the current state of the sneaker culture and the industry….what do you think of the current state of the culture and the industry?

A: I like it. It’s more spread now. So many aspects. You have guys like John Geiger & Shoe Surgeon making their own lane, high and low key designers doing collabs EVERYWHERE. Like think about it, Kim Jones has a Nike. Riccardo Tisci has various Nike releases. Louis Vuitton is teaming up with Supreme. Gosha is taking a stab at all the slept on brands. It’s so various. You gotta love that.

Q: It’s the hottest topic in sneakers right now; Adidas versus Nike. Has Adidas really gained that much ground on Nike – as much as people may think? Why or why not?

A: Yes in the popularity game. But as we saw with the election, popularity don’t win the race. But everywhere else, no. Nike is the giant and will always be. Their innovation is overlooked due to their heavy retro game. It’s the total opposite with Adidas. People overlook the innovation in the Hyperadapt & Vapormax from Nike and the retro presence of Adidas Superstar & Stan Smith. Plus the Boost releases commercially aren’t close to a regular Nike popular shoe quantity wise.

Q: Doing some foreshadowing here, since you happen to always know the future. What do you think could be the next big wave in the sneaker culture/industry – little foreshadowing here, in your expert opinion?

A: I believe the next big thing will be the “crossover”. How sneaker brands use leverage to promo and release HARD in different forums. Different ways of releases. Like at sneaker shows (hint hint), movie premieres, award shows, sporting games, amusement parks, etc. The “different” release game is getting there. With pop ups and such. I’m sure it’ll evolve to different arenas pretty soon.

Bringing things full circle, you touched on the other brands and their positioning within the sneaker culture. But between Stephen Curry, the collaboration with Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson; Under Armour is on the come-up once again it seems. Coming back to the project you have with Under Armour…

Q: You mentioned this is the first ever-collaboration for Under Armour and for yourself. So this question is two parts…what was the learning curve like, that experience of creating your own shoe and stepping into that chair. And secondly do you think your collaboration will have a role in changing the perception people may have of Under Armour? Will Dino ultimately make Under Armour “cool”?

A: The learning curve was JUST THAT; a learning curve for real! We had to understand them. They had to understand us. There was a lot of bumps to get over on both sides. I definitely think we’ve pushed UA into the cool kids table now. It’s definitely a process tho. It can’t stop here. Great execution on our part and a crazy roll-out soon to come on their end.

Q: What has it meant to see the outpouring of interest in your collaboration with Under Armour?

A: It’s overwhelming. Definitely a shock. I knew we had something good but I didn’t really realize how deep the demand would be.

Q: Just how much “Baltimore” is in this Under Armour collab?

A: We have four pair of Slingrides, three pair of Slingshots, apparel and accessories. All items and prices will be unveiled closer to the show.

There you have it. A one-on-one conversation with the one-and-only Dino Hatfield. Tickets are still available for the Baltimore Sneaker Show going down this Saturday, June 24th. Just as Dino mentioned earlier. Follow the link for admission tickets and remaining vendor spots. And be sure to catch Sole-U in full effect, our very own “Mr. Shoe”, Cam will be in attendance.