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Nike Collector @ellaesco on Sneaker Swagger and Air Max Tattoos | Nordstrom x Nike

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Images by Andy Oceans

Air Max Month is wrapping, but our permanent Nordstrom x Nike boutique is refreshed for spring and summer. For an excuse to chat about sneakers, we got in touch with friends and serious collectors Maria Elena Puschmann and Angela Marie Shaw, who both loaned sneakers from their collections to our store displays for Air Max Month in Chicago and Seattle.

Here’s Shaw—better known as @ellaesco—talking about her collection, competitive mindset and making Nike a permanent part of her life.

What’s the genesis of your sneaker obsession?

I wanted to do something the boys did and do it better.

At what age did you want to do something better than the boys?

I mean, forever. But around my teenage years. I couldn’t afford collecting until I was older and working full-time.

Growing up, did you see flexing with sneakers as a guy thing?

Yeah.

Were there other “guy things” you wanted to excel at?

Not really. This was the only thing I thought I could. I like running but wasn’t huge into sports. Wasn’t physically advanced at anything. I guess it was one of those swagger things that I thought I could accomplish.

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What were some of the silhouettes or models you remember from the beginning of your teenage shoe interest that remain favorites today?

Definitely the Air Max 95. They weren’t designed by Tinker Hatfield, even though he’s my favorite designer; it was right when he stopped designing. I couldn’t afford them, though, when they came out.

What intrigued you about that shoe?

Everything. It was something you’d never seen before. It was one of the first Nikes that had a tiny swoosh. Not that I don’t like the swoosh. But that made it all about the design of the shoe. And that shoe was based on human anatomy. It looks spinal, and like a rib cage, and the mesh is like skin.

Where do you keep your shoe collection?

I just moved to Seattle from Las Vegas, and it’s been difficult. I have a storage unit. And as much as I can fit in my room. I have around 300 pairs. You want to keep them away from moisture, but you don’t want excessive dryness or heat either. I’ve seen people leave shoes in their trunk in a hot place, and the shoe changes color or the glue is affected.

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Do you wear sneakers every day?

Yes, pretty much. I can’t wear heels. I’ve felt the comfort of Air Max too much. I’ll wear a flat or something, but then, I have Nike tattoos on my feet, so that can look a little weird.

What? Let’s talk about the tattoos.

Ha-ha! Well, like I said, the Air Max 95 is probably my all-time favorite silhouette. So I took that little Air Max emblem on the tongue and got that tattooed, except mine says “Angela.” It’s the purple-and-jade-green colorway. I put that on the top of my foot where the tongue of the shoe would be if I were wearing them. Everybody that knows what that is recognizes it right away. If you have to ask … it can be a little hard to explain.

SHOP: Nordstrom x Nike