– We've had people camping outside the store for three days to get hold of a pair of Kanye West shoes.
Leon Hammarberg tries to describe the sneaker culture phenomenon, sitting on a chair in Shelta's basement while two colleagues are packing orders at a nearby table. The basement serves as the store's warehouse, and is packed to the brim with neat piles of shoe boxes.
– Just over the past five years, the industry has grown with over 40 percent. It's also closely connected to the growing popularity of hiphop music, which has become the pop music of our time. This sneaker culture has always been there, but has not reached this many before.
In spite of these insights, the shoe store was not quite prepared for the massive attention when they arranged their first sneaker market at Oceanen two years ago. Modeled after swap meets in cities like Los Angeles and Copenhagen, the set-up was simple: anyone could rent a table and sell their shoes there. The place was soon crammed with sellers, collectors and shoppers.
– The chefs left the kitchen in protest because we hadn't prepared them for the workload, Leon laughs. But we had no idea that so many people would come.
The year after, in 2018, the market moved into larger premises at Auktionsverket Kulturarena, and around 2500 people showed up. This year they're expecting the same amount, if not more.
– I think many come here to "breathe" the culture and talk to like-minded people. It's not just about shopping, but about the community and a sense of belonging.
"It's not just about shopping, but about the community and a sense of belonging."
The sellers come from all over Sweden, but also from Denmark and Germany. About 80 percent are private sellers, ten percent are "resellers", people who make a living out of buying and selling sneakers, and ten percent are larger brands.
– But it's important to us that the brands add something more than just their products. Vans, for instance, are making sole-patterned waffles and Fila are bringing a giant car track.
Price levels vary, at the market you can find everything from limited editions, to used shoes for a few hundred Swedish kronor.
– There are exclusive collabs that sell for tens of thousands of Swedish kronor. But I sell my shoes for around 200 a pair, and see it more as a way to get rid off the pairs I don't use.
But it's not just about selling and buying sneakers, there's a lot of other things going on during the event.
– We'll offer free shoe shining and shoecare, that was very well-received last year. The waffles and the car track that I mentioned before, and then djs, a photo booth ... anything that makes it a fun place to hang out, Leon eagerly explains.
When the market closes, the premises are transformed into a nightclub with bars, djs, arcade games and artists creating customised sneakers.
– Guleed, a hip hop artist from Malmö who just released his debut album, will be performing. The afterparty has been just as appreciated as the market, Leon says.
The feedback from visitors has been entirely positive, and Leon promises there will be a market next year as well. Only question is whether the premises will be large enough.
– Perhaps we need to move into Scandinavium?