I’ve been very lucky to meet some great people from all different walks of life linked to the sneaker game over the years, but in this latest instalment of my ‘In Their Shoes’ interview series I’m delighted to speak to Hikmet, an absolute legend from Germany who founded the iconic Solebox store.
He was kind enough to share his thoughts with me on everything from not keeping shoes on ice, the global love of shoes tying the community together and what’s on his feet right now, and I wasn’t expecting this answer!
IDYSM: Hey Hikmet, thanks for your time. First up, please describe Solebox and your role with it.
Hikmet: Hello Lester. You are always welcome. Solebox is a sneakerstore, not more not less. Based on personal passion. I am the founder and co owner of Solebox. Responsible for all creative stuff behind solebox. Designs, PR, etc.
IDYSM: In terms of the world’s elite sneaker stores Solebox rates very highly, what makes it so different to other sneaker stores?
Hikmet: To be true I do not know really. Maybe it is our way of doing business and treating our customers. Every, I mean really EVERY customer is welcome.
IDYSM: The look of the store is pretty amazing, with each pair of shoes given the space to be displayed like art pieces in a museum, so do you see shoes as works of art and how important and influential is sneaker style?
Hikmet: Off course you can see shoes as art, but they are at the end shoes. They are made for wearing. This people sometimes forget. And this is really important to wear your shoes, so everybody can see them in real life.
IDYSM: So where do you stand on how your customers treat their purchases, do you want shoes kept on ice to maintain their look, or to be well worn and well loved?
Hikmet: Well worn and well loved. Same shoe on different people can tell different stories. Wear them let them become your best friend of your feet.
IDYSM: Not only do you sell shoes, but you’ve also been involved with some amazing collab’s over the years. How important are the collab’s to your business?
Hikmet: The funny thing I never saw it as a part of our business. It is more a dream which became true. Back in the days as a kid I do not had the possibility to get everything moneywise. Today it is a great honor, I can have my personal pairs and other people are wearing them too.
IDYSM: And how important are they to you personally, is sneaker design something you love?
Hikmet: It is my passion and part of my life of course.
IDYSM: Which collab shoe are you proudest of and why?
Hikmet: I am proud of all of them. All are a special timeframe of me and my work.
IDYSM: Have you always been interested in sneaker culture, and to what level, are you a collector?
Hikmet: Yes, started when I was around 11 or 12. I am now 40.. I do not know if you can call me a collector but I have a lot of shoes.
IDYSM: Germany obviously plays a very important part in sneaker history, how influential is the country’s sneaker style in the present day?
Hikmet: I do not think that Germany is really influential in sneaker style. I think we are globally loving trainers. This unites us worldwide. One world, one passion.
IDYSM: What styles and trends are hot on the streets in Berlin right now?
Hikmet: Berlin is loving the 90s runners and some basketball hightop stuff.
IDYSM: What does 2013 hold for Solebox?
Hikmet: 2012/2013 is our 10thyear in business with Solebox. So we are happy and proud about this.
IDYSM: I always like to end my interviews with this question…what’s on your feet right now?
Hikmet: Haha. I am barefoot at the moment …