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est. 1930

The Wildcat

est. 1930

The Wildcat

est. 1930

The Wildcat

Teal Punctuates Fits With Eye-Catching Kicks

AP+Economics+and+Government+teacher+Stephen+Teal+in+front+of+an+LED-illuminated+display+of+his+shoe+collection.+Teals+fascination+with+colorful+kicks+started+in+the+third+grade.
Anjin Teal
AP Economics and Government teacher Stephen Teal in front of an LED-illuminated display of his shoe collection. Teal’s fascination with colorful kicks started in the third grade.

He breeds snakes and French bulldogs. He coaches college soccer. He’s a world traveler, Ford Bronco aficionado, and former lead singer for the rock band, Just. But the detail that AP Economics and Government teacher Stephen Teal’s students might be most familiar with is his penchant for eye-catching shoes.

Teal’s affinity for vibrant kicks began in the third grade when he wore a size 10 — especially large for an eight-year old. But instead of hiding his feet within drab footwear he “embraced [his] big feet with bold shoes.”

That preference for shoes that pop with color never left him. Step into his classroom or walk past him in the halls and it is impossible to miss the blazing yellow Crocs or rare pair of Nike SB Dunks.

When deciding which shoes to add to his ever-growing collection, the government teacher chooses shoes “based on [his] mood and what will stand out the most.” Teal said, “I always want my shoes to be the first thing people look at, so I like my shoes to clash with [my] fit.”

When he first started collecting shoes, English teacher Summer Teal, Stephen’s wife, initially reacted to his array of colorful sneakers with laughter. “We like to be a family that says ‘yes’ to trying new things [and] we thought it was funny,” Summer said.

Teal’s shoe collecting even developed into a lucrative hobby. In 2018, as a side hustle to earn extra cash, Teal dabbled in the multi-billion dollar shoe-reselling business. “I would get several pairs at release and sell them, and keep one for myself,” Teal said.

Big bucks can be made when resellers buy low and sell high. Certain sneakers, especially limited editions, can be worth substantially more than retail on the secondary market. One of Teal’s most memorable sales, for instance, was when he sold five pairs of Yeezys for a $500 profit on the reselling site StockX.

I always want my shoes to be the first thing people look at, so I like my shoes to clash with [my] fit.

— Stephen Teal

But Teal’s colorful collection mostly motivated by his love of wearing fun footwear rather than monetary return. Teal’s favorites in his collection include Yeezy Semi Frozen Yellows, and Nike SB Dunks Bart Simpson, Why So Sad?, and Barbershops.

Teal houses his prized shoes in an LED-illuminated display in his home. (Anjin Teal, Teal’s daughter, recalls when her father bought the appropriately-vibrant case: “The shoe closet was a favorite for me [because] I loved changing all of the colors of the lights.”)

Summer appreciates his dedication: “He’s not the kind of guy to buy two pairs of shoes and then leave it – he’s going to buy 40. He’s not just going to breed one French bulldog, he’s going to breed half a dozen. He’s not going to breed one snake, he’s going to breed 14.”

Surprisingly, Teal does not consider himself a “sneakerhead,” but rather a long-time appreciator of fun footwear that best accent his fits (to the delight of his students).

Summer, however, thinks otherwise. “The fact that he is a sneakerhead is indicative of who he is [because] when he tries anything, he’s 100% in. He fully commits to everything…and I like that,” Summer said.

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