There is a room in Nic Plunkett’s house that you cannot enter. That’s because it’s filled with sneakers — about 1,800 pairs of them — to the point where it is uninhabitable.

“It’s definitely an addiction,” Plunkett said. “When I put a pair of shoes on, I feel fresh. Brand-new.”

Plunkett wore a brightly colored pair of $1,500 shoes at the AT&T Center on Sunday, where local vendors and private citizens showcased their rare, hundred- and thousand-dollar kicks. It’s the first Spurs Sneaker Jam of many to come, Spurs officials said.

“This is the second time I’ve worn these, and the last,” Plunkett said. “It’s about the art of it.”

Out of his collection, he can count on one hand the number of shoes he owns that he’s worn more than once.

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Media: San Antonio Express-News

They call themselves sneakerheads — the predominantly male, hip-hop-influenced community that participates in the collection or admiration of valuable athletic sneakers, often from basketball or skateboarding.

Along the rows, baby shoes sat on displays next to snapback hats with the words “too dope” and large high-tops stamped with images of heavy metal bands. Roger Chavarria was showing shoes signed by Spurs players Kawhi Leonard and Danny Green. He also had a pair of sneakers that belonged to NBA legend and Cole High School graduate Shaquille O’Neal, which were size 22 and looked about double the size of Spurs player Tony Parker’s sneaker, which lay beside O’Neal’s. Chavarria estimated O’Neal’s sneakers cost about $3,000.

The more than 1,000 people expected to attend the jam were a wide range of ages, from middle school kids clustered in awe around the flashy shoes to men who’ve made collecting sneakers a large part of their life — or “old heads” as Jake Danklefs calls them.

“The younger sneakerhead isn’t refined. They’re going to buy whatever they see at the mall or whatever a celebrity is wearing,” Danklefs, who considers himself an old head, said. He’s an illustrious, San Antonio-based custom footwear designer whose shoes have been worn by celebrities including LeBron James and Puff Daddy, as well as for major brands including Pepsi and Whataburger.

“An older head is going to wear more comfortable clothing, they don’t wear skinny jeans, and also, unless they own a business, they’re buying shoes to keep,” he said.

Plunkett nodded furiously to that.

“You want them because you want them,” Plunkett said, and to appreciate the craftsmanship of them — not to make a profit.

His shoes were a patchwork of 64 panels, ranging in material from cheetah print to paisley design to one panel made of baseball glove material. The inside of one of the shoes was made of cork, the other slate. They were customized, right down to the air bubbles, baseball stitching between panels and gum bottom. The tag on the tongue had his name printed on it.

The sneakerheads are a tight community, Plunkett said, and he’s made friends just by going up to strangers at malls who were wearing rare shoes and asking where they got them.

“This would be a great forum for a meet-and-greet dating app,” joked Danklefs. “Except it’s all dudes.”

He’s now making a shoe for San Antonio’s tricentennial, he said. Each panel on the shoe will represent something different from San Antonio, including Military City, the missions, barbecue made with Big Red, and the Spurs.

“Everybody wants to be different,” Danklefs said, and this is just one way to show it — through your shoes.

sfosterfrau@express-news.net