Outside the Box – Ep. 1: Ian Williams, Portland Sneaker Barista | Nike

Outside the Box – Ep. 1: Ian Williams, Portland Sneaker Barista | Nike


I worked at Nike for about nine years. I started as a janitor. I thought it was only gonna be about six months and then somebody would be like, “Hey, you’re that guy,” and just discover me, ya know? I got the opportunity to design a shoe. I pretty much just went up to the guys who worked in Skate and was like, “You should let me do a shoe.” So this is actually my Dunk. It’s the “Wet Floor” Sign Dunk, inspired by me being a janitor. I’ve actually heard lots of stories about how people have chased this down, which is crazy because I’m that dude who likes to chase stuff down. Now here’s a shoe that’s inspired by me that somebody else is chasing. And I’m, like, part of their passion. Three years later I was able to interview for a position as a footwear developer. I worked as a developer for about five years. I just was realizing that what I really loved was people, and everything that made the sneaker community—not so much sitting behind the desk. I had this idea one day—told some homies I wanted to open up a sneaker-themed coffee shop. I wanted a place for people who love sneakers to be able to go and kick it. Obsessing the perfect cup is the same as chasing down the perfect shoe. When I really started to collect was about 2003—2004, and it started with SBs. Actually, this is probably one of the first pair that I had. OG P-Rod, P-Rod 1. I still wear these. Look at that, how beat they are. That’s what happens when you wear your shoes. My collection in a nutshell? It’s pretty diverse. It’s full of different types of materials, different functions—both sport and non-sport—but really it just represents me because it’s all things that I’m passionate about. When it comes to building a sneaker collection, there’s definitely tons of classics. You got the Dunk, the Air Force 1, the Huarache, Air Max 1…just all those iconic silhouettes. If you’re an aspiring sneakerhead or a person who’s been here for a long time, it doesn’t matter: get what you love. Now that I’m doing the math, it’s been 15 years that I’ve really been doing this, like full-time. It’s crazy! Started when I was in high school. What better way to share your passion than to wear it?

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36 Comments

  1. YO DEADSTOCK COFFEE IN THE HOUSE! If you ever get the chance go there. Talk to him, he really is a genuine guy! And makes a mean coffee!

  2. This story is rad, I need to visit Ian next time I'm in PDX, Thanks for using my beat NIKE 🙂 Check out RUMTUM beats

  3. I'd imagine it was an F&F ting, but that AM90 @1:14 looked serious👌🏾Glad Nike got an outlet of storytelling now; I'd prefer something longer to grab snacks for, but a quick sip of juice and done is ite as well I guess 😂

  4. The story is great and the video too but it's a classic example of passions of capitalism which are toxic. That dead collection beyond the necessity is actually in no way an ideal thing. It's a wastage of money, resources required for producing the same which are lying dead with no or minimum use. No offence to the guy but his passion is toxic, spewed by the capitalism.

  5. I love Nike but I just can’t get behind shoe hoarders. All the people in the world without shoes and you have hundreds of them in your house….just sitting there…

  6. Yoyo peeps check out this 1 min video to see y Nike is missing out or will steal my idea cuz I don’t have 20-30gs to pay Bitch ass leech lawyers for my idea and life’s influence that influenced this idea cuz if u don’t know already Nike doesn’t talk or take anybody seriously if they don’t have a patent but if I was motivated enough to right a bill I’d propose an Internet patent clause cuz it’s more effective and safe than a piece of paper in rigged legal language…… I’m not a spammer just a drummer/baller that doesn’t want to be a janitor at CSU cleaning trust fund kids inconsiderate messes whole life 7 years is more than enough. I just want to play drums and make music for a living and not 100 mill a year like athletes but this idea would make millions if not billions by opening a whole market they never thought of…….don’t use YouTube as much anymore but support my IG @CyMBoLiKs or @ColinMcCrary or Facebook….. Thanks ✌🏽✊🏽…… Nike believes in sweatshops and overpaid CEOs and overpriced shoes more than u guys and America…. just so u know lol….. if they actually treated me right I’d stop saying this tho…..but still true ha

  7. I'm so proud of you… you're a huge inspiration… keep on being you… and doing wonderful things with your life… thank you for sharing your story… I love your passion… keep smiling!😃👟💛⚠️✌🤟🌎🤙😊

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