Student Start-Up Alert: Sneakers with Heat

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Forget handbags and Hermes scarves. If you’re looking to invest in cutting-edge fashion these days, sneakers are where it’s at. Blogs track release dates, malls are evacuated to avoid sneaker riots, SneakerCon draws thousands, and the most in-demand models can reach four figures. So when Towson junior Malcolm Manswell decided to get into the sneaker business, it was serious.

Manswell is not only blessed with an ideal name for the fashion world, he’s also got the sense for what’s going to blow up, trend-wise. That’s one thing that led him to start his company, SneakHeat, where users can buy, sell, or exchange sneakers on a local, national, and international level. But, as you may have guessed, this is hardly a place to offload your old running shoes; for a pair to make it onto SneakHeat, they must be considered “heat,” which is sneak-speak for, well, “hot.” (Don’t ask us why.)

Manswell came up with the idea after becoming annoyed with the standard shoe trade method — unorganized Facebook groups. Instead, he spent all summer coding and developing a site that not only allows users to buy/sell/trade sneakers, but also has room for ads, video streams, and profiles about upcoming shoe releases. The site earned a sponsorship from the Downtown Locker Room at the Baltimore Sneaker Show, raising its profile and gaining ever more likes on its Facebook page (currently with 3,324 fans). The site’s webpage is scheduled for a relaunch this month, which is when Manswell expects things to really get hectic. Until then, if you want real talk on the newest sneaker releases or to know Spike Lee’s opinion on the new Jordan 28, follow SneakHeat here.

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