“I’ll tell you an interesting story,” actor and model Hae-Jin Park says, pulling out a photograph aged over time. “This is a picture when I was a baby. I was two years old. Look what’s on my feet. I’ve been with Nike sneakers all my life.”
A lot has changed for the Korean star in the decades that have passed since that snapshot in history. But Park’s connection to shoes has only gotten stronger. The actor owns nearly 1,000 pairs of sneakers, many of which are Air Max.
These sneakers are housed in his Seoul apartment. Forget walk-in closet. Park’s shoes live in a drive-in closet.
“Personally, I don’t think the number of sneakers defines my collection,” Park says. “If I have all the sneakers I want, then I think I’ll have a complete collection.”
Park’s devotion to footwear may be exceptional, but a love of sneakers is no longer unique in his home country.
“The sneaker culture in Korea has grown throughout the years,” Park says. “We didn’t always see people lining up and camping for sneakers here, but now that’s the norm. And I’m not joking—the Air Max is really the hottest item in Korea.”
A trailblazer for this emerging sneaker culture, Park realizes that his sneakers represent more than just his personal style. He’s leading the way for a new generation of East Asian sneakerheads who are breaking away from tradition to create a modern subculture of menswear. It’s no longer about matching, but mix-and-matching to create an original look.
“People used to tell me that I looked funny when I wore my Air Max with a suit,” Park says. “Now that very kind of look is a trend.”
Park meticulously studies a lineup of Air Max before deciding what to wear for an upcoming photo shoot. He takes his time, obsessing the details, the history, the culture, revealing the depth of his passion.
“Putting on my favorite shoes—it’s a wonderful feeling,” Park says. “Simply put, it's the best feeling ever.”
On Air Overview
Air Max isn’t just a shoe—it’s a revolution. What started as a performance running solution in 1987 has since evolved into a currency for youth and self-expression. In the lead-up to Air Max Day, Nike will explore the passions of seven Air Max enthusiasts who, despite different latitudes, prove that the language of sneakers is universal.