The Sneaker Game, been there done that. Over the past few years since I have dove back into the sneaker world I have noticed many things. Before I get into that maybe a little backstory is in order.
Jordan’s made me notice sneakers from the beginning, my first recollection of needing a pair of shoes is from 1989. Even though I wanted those Jordan 5’s more than anything, I knew I wouldn’t have them. That led me to other models and brands, and from the early to mid 1990’s on any given day you could find me in anything from Skate shoes, Nike trainers, New Balance, Asics, Adidas all the way to Doc Martens. Anything that struck a nerve was fair game. During the late 1990’s a few of my friends where booking flights to cities across the US to locate hard to find pairs, but I never had the finances to do that myself.
After I graduated College in 2004 and was able to lock down a career, I decided to make up for lost time with my own shoe collection. This has always been a hobby though, never my life, I never dreamed of working in the shoe industry, or even writing for sneaker blogs. I have always seemed to be a bystander, just watching the industry move around me. Being an outsider has afforded me what I feel is an interesting perspective.
Just today I look around the popular blogs, YouTube, and social media channels and see the same thing I have been seeing for a long time, complaining. “There is no innovation,” “No one is doing anything new,” are the common complaints. The interesting thing to me is that this should not be news. Sneakers are at their very heart a commodity, while sneaker technology has progressed, it is has been completely evolutionary, not revolutionary. The same can be said for the “Sneaker Industry” as a whole.
So what is left? Designers work on their designs that Brands manufacture, and the rest of the industry weighs in with their opinions. The same thing has been happening with art, music and fashion for a whole lot longer than sneakers. What innovation is expected? What can be done? Make a flashy video with great edits, use a better hip hop track, do great photo work? Be clever and more humorous? It’s all been done. In a world where content is king, sneaker content is severely limited because it is topical. Until there is innovation in sneakers themselves, how can we expect innovation in the content that reports on it?
My position is that the Sneaker world should stop worrying about progressing, and start looking backwards to the amazing things that brought our hobby to the masses to begin with. Community, Goodwill, and Kindness used to be what separated one collection from another. The Shoes were second to the story of how they were acquired. Now your collection is determined by your access to funds more than anything else, and that has bled the soul out of the entire hobby.
So am I complaining? Well, sort of, but I am going to offer advice which will turn this from complaining to a call to action. As content producers we should make community our focus, not product. Brands can market themselves, we should be looking to serve our community, not corporate or reseller interests. Do we really need to hype up more releases?
I might not be 100% correct, but I have a feeling if content turned from product to people we would all benefit. Please tell me what you think below in the comments.