Sisters Ariana, Dakota and Dresden Peters think of sneakers as works of art.
With their father, retired real estate developer Douglas Peters, the squad of 20-somethings spent most of their lives curating and building up a collection of well over 6,000 pairs of designer sneakers. It’s one of the most drool-worthy private collections in existence, attracting rappers and NBA stars and other well-healed sneakerheads to their family’s six-bedroom, 14,300-square-foot waterfront mansion in Boca Raton, Fla. — which, of course, boasts a pro-size, indoor basketball court.
“Lil Yachty flew in from Atlanta to buy from us,” says Ariana, who resides with her father at their Mediterranean-style home, while Dakota and Dresden now live elsewhere in the area. “He spent hours looking through the collection and posted about it. That was cool because most people are more private. They don’t want to offend their regular ‘sneaker plug.’ Sneaker [dealers] can be very sensitive.”
Now, pair by pair, the sisters — better known as @TheChicksWithKicks to their loyal following of 145,000 Instagram followers — are beginning to sell shoes from their overflowing closets publicly for the first time.
“We did it on a whim last September,” explains Ariana, who also founded Peters Realty (a commercial and residential brokerage) with her sisters. “Over the years, so many people have made us offers we shouldn’t have refused. So we decided to post a sneaker for sale and see what would happen.”
Those shoes, Converse Dr. J. Game Shoes, sold in a flash for $12,000. Since then, they’ve added more and more items for sale — including rare vintage sneakers, samples, prototypes and “sneakers that no one at the time saved” — to their Instagram, potentially raising funds to purchase a new family home south of Fifth on Miami Beach.
The sisters say there’s currently no “Holy Grail” sneaker left that they don’t own, pointing to their complete collection of new Adidas Consortium Superstar samples made for the Beastie Boys and their expansive collection of Nike Air Jordan 1s from 1985.
True to their artful approach, they don’t collect superhyped new-release sneaks like Yeezys. You might say they prefer blue-chip kicks to contemporary. And with thousands of shoes worth thousands of dollars (“some pairs are worth as much as certain cars,” Ariana notes), the whole caboodle could be worth millions, although they’ve never had the entire collection appraised.
It all started in the 1980s with a pair of Nike Air Force 1s. “Our father has a great eye — he saw that sneakers are an art form,” recalls Ariana. “And he liked that the Air Force 1 was dressier. It was an elevated sneaker that you could wear out to dinner.”
Since then, the elder Peters began to buy sneakers two pairs at a time, wearing one pair and preserving the other in mint condition.
“Back then, there were very few people who thought to do this, to buy and store a shoe and not wear it,” says Dresden. “Now everyone has that mindset.”
By the 1990s, Douglas was buying hundreds of pairs a year, along with promo items and store displays for sneakers and luxury brands like Louis Vuitton and Chanel, all of which are extremely rare today. Still, it took time for culture to catch up to his forward-thinking fashion sense.
“Our dad went out in South Beach 15 years ago wearing a pair of Air Force 1s,” recalls Ariana. “The restaurant wouldn’t let him in. That would never happen nowadays. Sneakers are made by every top designer, and they are appropriate everywhere.”
Including on the high-end auction block. The siblings say several major auction houses have inquired about their collection, one of which they invited to curate a sale of select pieces for Miami Art Basel 2020. But with that art fair canceled due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the sisters are embracing social-media sales for the foreseeable future.
“It didn’t start as a business for us, it started as a passion,” says Ariana. “It’s really great to see other people begin collecting on their own and revive this as an art form.”
Prop Stylist: Aelana Curran; Hair: Steven Hoeppner at ABTP using R+Co; Makeup: Paola Orlando at ABTP using Chanel Beauty and Dior