CANTON, Ohio (WJW) – Collecting rare sneakers is not only a hobby but a lucrative business. John Hray is an expert who’s been collecting for 25 years.

“I started collecting a little at a time,” he said. “The shoe that did it for me, a lot of people ask, was the Jordan 11 BRED’s. I play in ’em, I love ’em, I’m a sucker for patent leather. That shiny patent leather just got me. I’ve been a collector ever since.”

Hray is the owner of Rock or Stock Shoes, an online store. His collection became so large that he had to purchase a storage locker to manage the volume he’s amassed over the years.

“Whether the economy is bad or it’s good, or people think we’re in a recession, the one thing that people weirdly and ironically spend money on is shoes,” Hray said. “The shoe game seems to always pretty much be strong.” 

WJW photo

His passion for collecting has evolved. Hray travels across the country to represent Northeast Ohio.

With few events happening here in the Buckeye State, Hray wanted to make sure Ohio’s sneakerheads had a place to collaborate, buy and sell. That’s how he came up with the idea for the Stark County Sneaker and Clothing XPO.

“People travel, get in the car and will go four, five, six-hours to go to a show to buy or to vend,” he said.

The XPO is set for Sunday April 16 from noon to 6 p.m. at the Canton Civic Center. There will be prizes, raffles and giveaways.

There will be more than 50 vendors at the XPO. 

“All parents get in free, students with ID are $5, so you can get discounts there,” Hray said. “We’re going to have food, raffles, giveaways, prizes. It’s gonna be a lot of fun. Thousands of sneakers to choose from, tons of vintage clothing.”

Hray said the XPO is a great place to buy, sell or trade shoes, verify their authenticity, or even get them restored.

Hray is happy to coordinate the event to facilitate a stronger sneaker network here in Ohio.

“When you think you’ve seen every shoe possible you run into something you’ve never seen before, at all – and that’s the fun part of it.” he said. “We just enjoy doing it. It’s a passion of mine. We just want to carry that on and spread that.”

Tickets can be purchased here.