Philadelphia basketball sneaker sales have risen 17 percent in the last year, and I have an inkling as to why. In a sneaker-obsessed city, Maurice Edu, midfielder for the Philadelphia Union, might be the biggest sneakerhead in town. His Center City apartment is filled with them—cobalt blue studded Louboutins, leopard-print Guiseppe Zanottis—and this is only a mere fraction of his collection. I talked with Edu about his love of sneakers at his Center City apartment, and got a look at some of his favorite, most splashy pairs.
How many sneakers do you have?
Here, there aren’t too many. Probably, like, 70 here.
And how many in total?
Probably 400 in total.
How did you get into sneakers?
I’ve always liked them, since I was young. But I came up in a family of five. Always when I was younger, I wanted Jordans, but to go and ask my mom and dad to ask me to buy a pair of shoes that cost $100-plus, and I had four siblings, it wasn’t really that feasible. From there, I said, you know what, I need a job. So that’s when I really started collecting.
How did you make your money?
I worked at a little pizza parlor. One of my soccer teammates, his family owned one, so I worked there a few days a week.
You seem to have a lot of Jordans. Do you buy every new one that comes out?
Yeah, kind of. One of my friends has a shoe boutique back in California. If I don’t get them here, he always makes sure to save me a pair.
Maurice Edu's Sneaker Collection
How do you get your Puma sneakers? Are they sent to you? Do you request them?
I’m sponsored by Puma. There’s a Puma store here, so I’ll tell them I want to go into the store, and they’ll put credit on my account. They also send me gift cards, so I can do online shopping if I want. Puma has a few different designers that work with them, and a lot of those shoes are hard to get. If I see something like that online, I just take a picture or copy down the code, and I email or text my rep, and that’s my way of getting the exclusive Puma stuff.
You own a lot of high-end sneakers, like Louboutins. How did you get into those?
When I went to Europe. When I was in America and Toronto, I was really just into Jordans and Dunks and Blazers and things like that. At first I wasn’t too into them, I was still Jordan, Jordan, Jordan. But they started to grow on me.
Are you obsessive about keeping your sneakers clean?
I don’t wear them too often. I do clean them. I used to always keep my Jordans clean. If I got them dirty, I’d be like, ‘ARGH.’