For Some Horny Hypebeasts, Popping an Air Max Bubble Is the Ultimate Climax

By Matt Saincome

Sneakerheads are among the most passionate collectors in the world. The price tag, limited availability and beauty of sneakers have been linked to murders, riots and people standing in line for absurd amounts of time since the 90s.

For some, this intense fanaticism has turned into a sexual fetishization called sneaker destruction. And apparently there's an infinite amount of ways you can destroy your ridiculously expensive shoes for sexual pleasure. 

In the sneaker destruction community exists a group of people who get off on videos of people popping the air pocket on their Air Max sneakers. The videos, which are mostly shared on YouTube, start in a variety of ways but always end with the same money shot—a sharp object puncturing the air bubble. The visual of a hunting knife, razor blade or power drill being driven into the air bubble of sought-after sneakers makes for some weird, yet oddly satisfying, videos.

Popping the bubbles of Nike Air Maxes for sexual pleasure is a pretty small niche thing. When I brought the videos to three nationally renowned fetish experts none of them had even heard of the phenomenon before. 

Dr. Gloria Brame is an expert in anything kinky, and has been a private sex therapist for the last 14 years in one of the kinkiest cities in the world, San Francisco. She told me that "destruction of property doesn't even show up in the literature till later. Abusing footwear is really about the harm. It's thrilling, dangerous and angry."

Image via YouTube user lovinsneax1

Brame says fetishes come and go based on the current culture. Back in the day, people used to fetishise bicorne hats (that's the kind Napoleon used to wear). Shoe destruction is a contemporary fetish that Brame says speaks to the fact that our culture has become more violent. Sharing the videos online makes it fun to be part of what Brame called a “fraternity of weirdness.”

As I dug deeper into the annals of message boards and video sites, shit got weird fairly quickly. So I decided to reach out to Ginnasio, a seasoned shoe destroyer, to see why he ruins kicks for kicks.

VICE: Can you explain the feeling you get when you tear into a brand-new shoe with a knife?
Ginnasio: You can't explain the thrill. Sometimes I just can't resist the urge to do it, without any reason. That mostly happens with famous and trendy models of sneakers. I have met some people and let them try it out. Some appreciated it; others thought it was stupid.

When did you first realise you were attracted to destroying shoes? Are you sexually attracted to shoes in general or just to their destruction?
I was 13 or 14 the first time I modified my sneakers. I had fun, so I decided to continue. I like sneakers in general, but I only love them when they are trashed.

What is your favourite kind of shoe destruction?
I prefer to trash them to the level where they are still wearable—making holes and small cuts in the sneaker. I like swimming with them and walking in deep mud.

What does swimming and trekking have to do with shoe destruction?
I don't know why, but usually shoe destruction and bathing clothed are related. Most people engage in both.

Does destroying a more sought-after pair of sneakers increase the level of sexual pleasure you get?
Yeah, probably. Also, the ads from a big chain like Foot Locker represent kicks as a way of life. It's almost like they are part of the body. Converse advertisements always show dirty or trashed Chucks. They know the market and are targeting this important side of humanity.

How many shoes do you think you destroy a year? Is this hobby breaking the bank or what?
I trash about 8 to 10 pairs a year, but I usually wear them for months after they are trashed before I decide to destroy them completely. I spend about a $1,000 on shoes a year, but I get about a third of that money back from the website EverythingMustDie.com.

They pay you to destroy shoes?
They give me money for my videos and host them. Others pay them to watch.

Tell me about the shoe-destruction community on YouTube. Do you guys send one another shoes to destroy?
Yeah, sometimes. Some people have asked me to trash their shoes for them and vice versa. When I realised that all around the world there are really many people with the same hobby I was excited. I have always thought I was alone... But there are tons of "destroyers" in various countries. However, I have never met another shoe destroyer in person, though.

Have you ever had a sexual experience where you mix the shoe destruction in with the plain old intercourse?
I can say that I had a sexual experience just after a complete destruction of all my stuff, shoes included. I destroyed a bunch of stuff I had just bought: white jeans, tee, socks, underwear. 

Do you have any other interesting sexual tendencies? 
No. I'm single and hetero. If you count my fetish, then I've had some gay experiences as well.

I've heard this a predominately gay-male activity; is that true? 
Not at all. They're varied like anything else—straight, gay and bi.

Does destroying shoes directly get you off? Like, is cutting into a shoe enough to make you ejaculate?
Yeah, sometimes.

What do you think of all the negative comments on YouTube?
They are a part of the game and I accept them so long as they contain any actual criticism, and not just insults (which happens sometimes). Moreover, the third-party site I publish my videos on gives a small part of its funds to charity.

What is something that people think about shoe destruction that isn't true?
That are spending habits are not validated. I have an absolutely normal life, as most of us do. Shoe destruction is a somewhat strange hobby, not a way of life.

Do you consider it a hobby or a fetish?
I am not really attracted by feet. Some other destroyers are, and they ask me to make videos barefoot. I only love to make my shoes trashed.

Do you think anything in your childhood lead to your attraction to shoes?
No. Just like many children, I loved to soak my shoes in a puddle or in mud. The only difference is that I still love to do it.

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