If you take your basketball shoes seriously, then you’re probably familiar with Nightwing2303. He’s the founder of WearTesters.com and one of the internet’s most trusted sneaker reviewers. You can check out his latest reviews, performance tests, and more at WearTesters.com, on twitter @Nightwing2303, and on YouTube at Nightwing2303. You’ll also see his reviews on eastbay.com and in the Eastbay catalog, giving you the scoop on all of the hottest new basketball products.
We sat down with Nightwing to talk about how he got into basketball shoes, his style when creating videos, his all-time favorite shoes, and more.
Let’s start at the very beginning. How did you first get into basketball, performance, and sneakers?
I only got into sneakers because of basketball. I started playing actively around sixth grade and I was wearing Payless shoes. The people not wearing Payless shoes were making fun of me, and I started noticing that everyone was wearing Nike and Jordan, so I started seeing the popular trends. Since then, I’ve just been totally into basketball. When I got my first pair of Jordans, I was like ‘Yo, I can’t wear anything else’ and it took off from there. I got really into the tech involved with the shoes, really into the designs, and it’s just something that never left me. I’ve been in this world ever since.
When did you know you wanted to take that passion and make it into a career?
That was a complete accident. I don’t even know why I picked up a camera and made a review to be honest. At the time, I was just getting back into basketball. My kid had been born like three years before that so I had been really focused on work and providing. My old shoes were from high school, so when I tried to play in those at the park they were literally falling apart. I needed new sneakers and they were super expensive. I started looking for reviews, just to make sure that I didn’t get ripped off or anything, and there weren’t any, so I grabbed a camera, bought the most expensive shoe, and made a performance review – it’s been crazy ever since.
How do you go from that one video to WearTesters and thousands of subscribers?
Social media opened up the window to sneakers. Before then it was a more select group of people to reference, but the way that the internet works, it just kind of opened the flood gates. People in Indonesia all of the sudden are being told that Jordans are cool so now they want some. So I think it’s just a weird phenomenon that I don’t think would have been possible without social media.
How would you describe your review videos?
My style is a little blander than other people. There’s not very much flash. But I try to make up for that with some substance. I try to teach people what their money is going toward, especially with the prices the way they are right now. You’re really trying to maximize your purchase, so you want to know everything there is to know about that product and that’s what I try to do.
How would you describe your relationship with Eastbay?
Eastbay is where I learned all of my tech. I would read all about the shoes. That’s what really drove me. You’d get the catalogs every month and circle the ones you want and hope you could save enough money to buy them. The Eastbay magazine was like the original sneaker blog, so it’s cool to be able to work with them now.