Jordan Geller in his ShoeZeum.
He’s a trained attorney, but Jordan Geller’s true passion lies in his Guinness-certified largest collection of sneakers in the world – more than 2,500 pairs and all of them Nike – displayed in his custom-made ShoeZeum in San Diego. Geller, 36, has put his collection onto eBay and hopes to raise $1 million.
Metro: What’s the appeal and what makes a great sneaker?
Geller: I think it’s all about the technology and innovation – does it have air? Shocks? What’s behind the scenes that make it cool? It could also be that it was made for a certain athlete that achieved great things wearing it, like the shoes Michael Jordan or Pete Sampras won a championship in.
What are the greatest efforts you have gone to for a pair?
I go to great lengths all the time: camping out at stores, waking up at 4 a.m., my life is one long scavenger hunt for shoes. One time a famous DJ [DJ AM] with a world-renowned collection passed away and his family auctioned them. I bought 50 pairs and convinced his family to sell me two other rare pairs that only had 50 and 72 made.
What have you sacrificed for your collection?
It’s never a sacrifice because this is what I love. I’m an attorney and I suppose I don’t use that much because I’ve always chosen to buy and sell shoes instead. It does take a lot of time – I always cut Thanksgiving dinner short because the day after is the best sales day of the year.
Despite your obvious commitment, Nike banned you from its stores. How are your relations with them now?
They banned me but that just inspired me to build the ShoeZeum to prove I am more knowledgeable and passionate than anyone. The seven top Nike executives then flew down on a private jet to check it out and paid my rent for three months, then 70 executives came for guided tours. The ban is lifted now. I’ve asked their chief talent scout for a job many times – he says I have no experience but may be able to get something in the $40,000 range.
Do you ever wear other shoes?
I wear Nikes to everything, even fancy black-tie parties.