Q&A: Peter Fahey Talks 10th Anniversary & Future Of Sneaker Pimps Tour

By Bethany Noble   /   Published 10/29/12

Peter Fahey, founder of Sneaker Pimps Tour

The great migration for all sneaker heads is finally here, Sneaker Pimps is coming to New York City a day before Halloween (October 30) during its 10th anniversary tour (SneakerPimps.net for tix). For the past 10 years, the annual tour has given the world a window into the sneaker culture. The tour displays not only rare sneakers, but streetwear brands, artist installations and lent the main stage to many of hip-hop's heavy hitters and rising stars such as Wale, J. Cole and Kendrick Lamar.

The man who started it all, Peter Fahey, had his first show back in Sydney, Australia. Now, has brought the event to nearly every continent. If you have missed passed events or want to take a peek in the party, you can check out footage on SneakerPimps.net. Before the final stop of their 2012, 10th anniversary tour, Ballerstatus.com caught up with Peter to hear about the gems in his closet, where his love for sneakers stemmed from, his favorite moments throughout the years and the future of Sneaker Pimps.

It's been 10 years touring across the world, so what's the most significant moment for you?

Um, I think obviously, probably the first one that I did ever, like back in Sydney. Back when we began was pretty significant, because when I started the tour, the show, it was like a real fun side thing to do. I wasn't planning on making it this big international touring event. I think it was more like a night show, but when I put the first show up, there was all these crazy shoes on the wall and I knew like right away, right after we set it up, that it's gonna be something special. That would be definitely a significant moment.

Back in 2007, I booked Nas to perform at a show in Roseland Ballroom in New York. It was the first time that I'd ever seen him perform live and he is one of my favorite hip-hop artists, so I think those two points stand out as major moments on the tour. But, there is a lot of things. I mean, we just did a collaboration with Nike that I've been working on for years and years. So, I mean, theere is so many different things. I would say those three things would be the most significant moments.

You began off the inspiration of showing sneaker collections, so what about your own? Do you have some highlights in your closet?

Yeah, a lot of my highlights I actually put in the show. I get given a lot of stuff and it's almost too good to wear. Like, I'd rather put on the show, so that other people can enjoy it, you know, like on display.

But, I mean their are certain things, like I was given a pair of Nike shoes from a very well known street artist in New York -- Futura. For his 50th birthday, Nike made him a new running shoe and he gave me a pair of those. So yeah, there are only 50 pairs of those in the world. Those are rad. There are probably some other stuff like (chuckles), I got stuff all over the world at different storage places and apartments. But again, most of the really crazy stuff, I'll put in the show to display, you know?

Is there any fan favorites that you put on display that always gets questions?

Yeah, yeah there is! We have this shoe that we gave to an artist to customize. He made like an old school Nintendo, like the very first Nintendo system, he built into the shoe. So, the game sticks out of the front of it and the controller actually plugs in and lights up. That one, I think I got that one back in '03 and it's been in the tour the whole time. Without a doubt, it's the most popular shoe in the show. It's pretty crazy.

Do you know or what the first pair of shoes that you ever bought that made you just love sneakers?

Yeah, I always wanted a pair of Jordan's when I was young, like everyone coming up in the early '90s. But, probably like a lot of kids do, my mom wouldn't buy them for me. They were too expensive, so then I wanted Reebok Pumps, so I couldn't get those. So, I remember being lucky enough once on my birthday to get a pair of Reebok Thunder Jam's. That was a pretty top shoe at the time. I think this might have been like '91 or '92, and I remember coming home from being out and having them there as a present. I just like lost it. I couldn't believe it, I just got a pair of Reebok's. I wasn't given whatever I wanted. You know, usually, when your mom went shopping, she'd go to Payless or whatever. So, that was the first pair I had ever got, and then, I got into skateboarding. I was really fortunate enough to be able to be at the start of a lot of that, whole really great, early 90's skateboard sneaker wave, which was like DC shoes had just started. Etnies. Yeah, so there was a lot of really cool brands, basically a lot of really innovative footwear at the time. I think that with the whole Jordan, Reebok Pump thing, and skate shoe is really kind of what got me into it?

You have been to over 60 cities in the world, so do you have a top two cities for sneaker heads?

Yeah, I think Tokyo would be one of the main ones, and obviously, New York. Hong Kong is pretty rad too. Sydney, in Australia. Those would be like the main ones. London is great too. I mean, I think the ones that people would imagine to be the cool ones, they really are. When you are here in New York and walk around the streets, you see nothing but people rocking Foamposites (Nike), and Dunks (Nike), and Jordan's. You don't see that anywhere else in the world besides Tokyo. Like those would be the two main ones that people would be just like sneaker crazy, ya know?

Yeah, this is true. I lived in Tokyo for a little bit, it was pretty intense.

Oh, no sh**? That's cool. How long did you live there for?

I lived there for three-and-a-half months. I studied abroad there. Yeah and they were all like staring at my shoes, like, "OMG".

I know before you had expressed that you had wanted to turn it into more of a festival, so is their any discussion of that happening in the near future?

Yeah, it's something we have been trying to do since, I think, like 2009. I think that the more that this tour goes on, the more it's becoming about more like cultural and leans more towards music than ever. So, I think, for me, before it was more about doing a shoe festival, which I'm not so much into doing anymore. Like, I like throwing the parties and events, not into the tradeshow type things, so you know, I think moving forward, what we are going to be looking at doing is how can we turn this into an actual music festival.

It still has all the elements of the sneaker culture, but it's more like skewed towards music. Because, over the years, we've been so fortunate to have so many really rad rappers come in and rock the stage. Then, they turn out to be these big, big time artists. That to me has been like incredible for me to watch. Like J. Cole driving to a bunch of our east coasts dates by himself and using our house DJ to perform. I mean, I think those sorts of things, like Wale and The Cool Kids and all these guys -- that to me has been really crazy. I think that's what's really cool about it, as we go on and on. I think turning into a music festival is what we are really trying to focus on at this point.

That's sounds good. I know for New York, you are going to have Meek Mills perform, so what can we expect from that show?

Yeah, so we got the chance to work with Meek Mills for his official album release concert for his debut album, Dreams and Nightmares. So yeah, it's Meek Mill, and then, a few of the special guests that he is gonna bring on stage with him, that I can't really announce at this point. It should be cool. It's was a unique opportunity that kinda came up, and it's definitely something wanted to do and looking forward to. It's the first time he is performing at Sneaker Pimps. It should be rad.

For more info on the Sneaker Pimps tour, or for tickets to the final 2012 tour stop in NYC on 10/30, visit SneakerPimps.net. Follow them on Twitter, @Sneaker_Pimps.