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'Sneakerheadz' takes a look inside a particular shoe addiction

 'Sneakerheadz' takes a look inside a particular shoe addiction
"Sneakerheadz," which premiered at SXSW, aims to give a peek into the world of tennis shoe collectors and the lengths they will go to collect that unique pair of sneakers. (Gravitas Ventures / Submarine De)

The documentary "Sneakerheadz" provides a serviceable primer on the feverish obsession some have for athletic footwear. These kicks serve as status symbols, class equalizers, cultural currency, coveted collectibles and sometimes investment multipliers that fetch more than $10,000 a pair.

They inspire the same kind of blind devotion as certain Apple products, prompting consumers to camp outside stores for days in anticipation of the latest release — except with more frequency, and the crowd might be armed with baseball bats, knives and machetes.

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Some of the film's subjects boast stockpiles that dwarf the notorious collection in Imelda Marcos' closet. In fact, Columbia University psychology assistant professor Carolyn Rodriguez thinks they share the classic traits of a hoarding disorder, as their hauls remain unworn, inside boxes, sitting in storage.

The film's talking heads include some of its producers, such as rapper Wale. Complex magazine also plants its sneaker editor, Russ Bengtson, as an expert.

Some collectors' pre-EBay anecdotes about the lengths they went to in procuring rare sneakers prove memorable indeed, but the film is more lifestyle puff piece than journalism, as filmmakers David T. Friendly and Mick Partridge seem to glorify their subjects. The film places some blame for shoe addiction on media hype, yet it's also culpable of feeding that frenzy.

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"Sneakerheadz"

MPAA rating: nONE.

Running time: 1 hour, 10 minutes.

Playing: Laemmle's Music Hall 3, Beverly Hills; Arena Cinema, Hollywood. Also on VOD.

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