LOUISVILLE, KY (WAVE) - Two decades ago it was Air Jordans that made a generation believe "it's gotta be the shoes."
Today it's Lebron James in the headlines, especially after Friday's announcement he will return to play for Cleveland and he too makes millions off of shoes.
The days when kids traded baseball cards are long gone. Now it's all about sneakers and it turns out it can be profitable too.
Brandon McCauley, 19, can describe a pair of shoes like a veteran shoe salesman. He notices the quality of the leather, the silhouette, the buttery suede and he knows all about the price.
He estimates he has around 250 pairs of sneakers. Some of them he purchased for $250, but could now sell for $2,000.
Like many of the other self-proclaimed sneakerheads McCauley now looks at sneakers like a commodity traded on Wall Street - buy low, sell high.
He always buys a few pairs when he's lucky enough to snag them on release day, which usually falls on a Saturday.
"Releases will go online 200 to 300,000 shoes and they'll sell out in seconds," he said.
What makes a shoe shoot up in value?
If it's a limited edition by a big name athlete. For instance, McCauley purchased Lebron James South Beach Nike's for $160 but they are now worth $1,000.
And if someone like Kanye West designed it or wears it, expect the value to go up.
Sneakerheads spend hours online perusing social media, looking to buy, sell or trade.
Russell Wilson, 16, is LouisvilleSneakerhead on Instagram. He estimates he spends 20 hours a day on the Instagram account.
All day and night long people text him pictures of their sneakers to post on his account to trade or sell. He has more than 5,000 images.
"I do it mainly because I love shoes," said Wilson.
He also sees what's on the market first, but he hasn't figured out a way to make money with the account - and there's the constant texts.
"It is constantly whistling. All day long. A million times a day it seems like," said Wilson's mother Sherry Heinly.
She doesn't understand the sneaker obsession, but her son's ability to trade like a Wall Street tycoon has saved her money.
"I haven't bought him a pair of shoes in two years and he's had a different pair of shoes on 3 to 4 times a week," she said.
With all the hype perhaps Cinderella should have traded in her glass slippers for a pair of sneakers.