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If a recent knock to the U.S. credit rating has made an already skittish American consumer even more so, you wouldn’t know it standing in the cascade of flowing jerseys and bobbing baseball caps that swamped D.C. Sneaker Con this weekend, at the Atlas Performing Arts Center on H Street NE. Patrons bought and sold “Jordans” and “Lebrons” among other spoils as if the items represented the next investment bubble.

Co-founder of the sneaks convention Alan Vinogradov says the feverish environment is par for the course: “What we do at Sneaker Con is we try to emulate the New York Stock Exchange of the ’80’s, it’s a masculine environment, you smell the next guy’s BO, guys yelling, real energetic.”

Standing against a wall as the swell passed, “sneakerhead” Charles Rymers showed off the pair of $1,000 Latin Pink Air Yeezys he was wearing, their charcoal black and gum pink kept dustless as a rich dude’s Maserati. At the beginning of Sneaker Con, a “young kid” tried to sell him another pair of Yeezys for $650. It would have been a hot deal, but “they were fakes,” says Rymers. Rymers saw the kid try to sell the shoes to other sneakerheads, but no one would fall for it. Eventually, security caught up with him, and the kid had to take the alleged fakes out.

Vingradov says a few fakes showed up this weekend, but that D.C., unlike Miami, doesn’t have a large number floating around. In any case, there’s scant chance that guys like Rymers would ever get taken. “I don’t have a job,” says Rymers. “This is what I do.”

Photo by Matt Dunn