A quality sneaker collection is not easy to create. It takes time and dedication, which is why the New York Liberty's Epiphanny Prince started at a very young age.
Now in her seventh season in the WNBA, the two-time All-Star has a sneaker closet that could rival anyone. She spoke with The Crossover about how she put her collection together and how much work it is to maintain.
SI: How did you first start collecting sneakers?
Epiphanny Prince: Just growing up in New York City, and growing up in Brooklyn, everybody wants to have on a clean pair of shoes. So just as a young girl, I liked having new sneakers and having the latest sneakers out.
SI: Were you always the one on your basketball team with the best sneakers coming up?
EP: Oh, yeah, definitely. Whenever a new shoe dropped, I had to have it. I wanted to have it. Different colorways of every shoe… Just a little minor colorway difference, I wanted it.
SI: How big is your collection?
EP: I'd say it’s pretty big. Probably more than 400 pairs at least.
SI: How big is your sneaker closet?
EP: I made a bedroom into a shoe room.
SI: How long did it take you to organize it?
EP: It took me a while because I wanted to have all the Jordans with the Jordans and all the Nikes with the Nikes, and then I put them in order. So like all the Kobes are with the Kobes, and LeBrons with LeBrons, like the 1s, the 2s, the 3s—it took a while to put it in order like that.
SI: How often do you go in there and just admire all the shoes you have?
EP: I probably go in there everyday when I go in to pick out a pair of shoes. That’s probably the toughest thing to do.
SI: How long does it take you to pick out a pair of shoes for a casual day.
EP: It depends on what look I’m going for. But usually I’m just probably lazy with it, and whatever colors I got on, if find a shoe, the first shoe I see with those colors, I go after it.
SI: What are your favorite sneakers in the collection?
EP: Right now my favorite sneakers are probably the Jordan 1s. I like how it looks with jeans. Right now for me though, the most comfortable sneaker is either the Vapor Max or the Shock Darts.
SI: What is the oldest pair of sneakers you have in the collection?
EP: I got a lot of sneakers that are old because I’ve worn the same size since I was in the sixth grade. So a lot of them, I had them since they first came out, and when they re-retroed, I got them again. I couldn’t tell you which was the oldest, but I know I have a lot of shoes that I’ve had since I was young.
SI: How much do you try to maintain the older shoes, or do you just get a new pair when they get to worn out?
EP: I just re-cop them, because they’re so old that even if I don’t wear them a lot, they start to rip a little bit. But when they retro, I just get them so I can have them again. But I don’t give them away, but I know I can’t wear them because they’re not wearable anymore.
SI: How often do your friends and family comment on your collection?
EP: My grandmother comments every time a new package comes to the house. My teammates comment when they see me posting new pictures.
SI: Does anybody try to challenge your collection?
EP: Everybody usually just let’s me rock, because I got a lot of shoes. But I also have a lot of limited edition shoes, too. So even if they were to catch up to me in numbers, I would always hit them with the quality.
SI: Would you like to have your own signature sneaker?
EP: I think that’s everyone’s dream, like to be able to create their own shoe. But as of right now, I don’t know if that will happen, but I always go on NIKEiD and make some designs up.
SI: What's your favorite pair of NIKEiD sneakers?
EP: I have some shock darts, I just made them like a bright color. They’re like a mint green, with a royal blue. There’s some orange in there.
SI: What do you wear on the court?
EP: I usually just wear Kobes—the player editions that Nike makes. But this year I’ve been switching it and wearing some Preludes. So I’ve been wearing the Prelude 8s some, and I’m about to start wearing the Prelude 5s. And when I stop wearing those, I’m going to wear the Prelude 6s.
SI: Have you ever had a teammate whose shoe collection could rival yours?
EP: There were some people who were close. Like when I was in Chicago, Tamera Young had a pretty dope sneaker collection.
SI: Did she have any shoes that you couldn't get your hands on?
EP: No, not really. I feel like everything she had I could get, except for the Adidas. She had like a lot of the Adidas Yeezy’s that I can’t get, but I’m not jealous of that.