Adrian Daniel is the Auckland-based content creator behind the popular Instagram account My Wife & Kicks. He’s a self-taught photographer and sneaker enthusiast, whose full-time gig is working as a Pastor. We sat down with Adrian to chat New Zealand sneaker culture, how he’s honed his photography over time and why he loves collecting New Balance.




Hey Adrian, so nice to meet you. Can you tell us how you started My Wife & Kicks?

I think I've always had an interest in fashion and sneakers. It was around nine years ago when I took more of an interest in sneakers, and I guess you would say started collecting. My wife had a camera that she’d been given for her birthday, a Canon DSLR, so I picked it up and started learning about photography. I think those passions grew together – for photography and sneakers. Then naturally, I wanted a place where I could put my photos up – it was the early days of Instagram, and I also started a blog where I would post the images, and it just grew from there. I improved my photography and got a bit more exposure and features from different brands. Then brands started knocking on the door, trying to work with me and have me create content for them. It's been a fun ride.


Being a self-taught photographer, how did you hone your craft over time?

I’m one of the graduates of the University of YouTube – as many are. Early on, I jumped on YouTube and watched videos to get an understanding of how photography works. Once I understood how things worked, I would change a setting, see what happened when I used a different lens and so on. It was just practise, practise, practise. The more photos I took, the more I developed my style and aesthetic.

Being a self-taught photographer, how did you hone your craft over time?

I’m one of the graduates of the University of YouTube – as many are. Early on, I jumped on YouTube and watched videos to get an understanding of how photography works. Once I understood how things worked, I would change a setting, see what happened when I used a different lens and so on. It was just practise, practise, practise. The more photos I took, the more I developed my style and aesthetic.


How did you come up with the name?

We were sitting on the couch, and there was something on the TV in the background – it was My Wife and Kids. I needed a name, so My Wife & Kicks came to me – it's kind of cheesy. I thought, ‘I'll use it now and then I'll get rid of it at some point when I think of a better name.’ Nine years down the track, the name is still the same.

You’re a big New Balance collector, how did that come about?

New Balance connected with the way that I saw things. I think New Balance is a brand that's quite understated. It’s not trying to be the cool kid, but very much in the corner, working away hard at creating great products. I think the quality stood out to me – I love that the era, the 80s, I guess the simplicity of the technology, the suede and mesh. So for me, I think New Balance do that the best.

Have you seen many changes to New Zealand sneaker culture since you started?

I think New Zealand, even though it's quite isolated geographically, there's a large portion of the sneaker culture that’s very much hype-driven – I guess, because of social media and access to what's happening around the world. I remember a few years ago, it was all about LeBron, and people were lining for LeBron sneakers. And then obviously the adidas BOOST wave came through and Yeezy. I think currently Nike SB and the dunk scene is really what's driving the energy.

Then there are pockets of people who are very passionate about vintage and retro and also people who collect certain models of basketball shoes. And then there are people like myself who are mainly into retro runners, like New Balance, ASICS and brands like that. I've recently been exploring other brands like Salomon, which I picked up from Hype DC. I think the range that we're getting in New Zealand is way better now, thanks to stores like Hype and Subtype.

What are your top five picks from Hype DC this season?

1. Salomon XT-Wings 2 ADVANCED

2. New Balance 327

3. Converse Chuck Taylor All Star 70 Low

4. New Balance 574

5. Nike Daybreak Type

What are your top five picks from Hype DC this season?

1. Salomon XT-Wings 2 ADVANCED

2. New Balance 327

3. Converse Chuck Taylor All Star 70 Low

4. New Balance 574

5. Nike Daybreak Type


What’s been the most memorable moment in your career so far?

Probably one of my favourite moments was several years ago. I got the opportunity to fly across New Zealand to a couple of cities and shoot a feature for Sneaker Freaker mag. I flew down to Wellington and then to Invercargill to shoot a friend of mine, Kevin Downie. He’s got the biggest collection of sneakers I've seen in my life – I think he's got 400-500 pairs and just crazy amounts of vintage New Balance. It was a pretty memorable career moment to be able to do that.

What keeps you busy when you're not photographing and collecting sneakers?

My full-time role is actually as a Pastor. This year I’ve taken on the leadership of a new campus, which is actually an online location. So for the first time, we've launched the online campus, which has been crazy. So my wife and I do that – we lead that together. And we've also got three young kids. So yeah, life is pretty full-on. We also just bought our first home, which we're super excited about – we're in the process of moving in right now.

Finally, what's next for you?

I'm just trying to keep enjoying it, enjoying photography, enjoying sneakers.

Follow Adrian’s photography and sneaker collecting here.

Keen to pick up some new kicks too? Check out Adrian's top picks below.

SHOP NEW ARRIVALS

SHOP NEW BALANCE

SHOP SALOMON