Today is a perfect day to talk about the sneaker game (um, hello, it’s International Air Max Day). Sneakers represent a culture defined by pretty much everyone, such as sneaker collectors and even celebrities. Because of the hype it’s almost impossible for a true sneakerhead to get their hands on a pair of Jordans for retail value.
The beginning of this sneaker glory started in the 80’s, mainly because of Michael Jordan. In 1984, he secured a shoe deal with Nike to create his own shoe: Air Jordan. His shoes really created the hype. I think Release Recovery said it right, “sneakers are a reflection who you wanna be, who you are and where you come from.”
My boyfriend, Andrew, is a true sneakerhead and taught me all about the game. He considers himself BORN into the sneaker hype because he was born in the 80’s. Funny, I love it. AND he actually wears the shoes (some just collect them, like how?!) It’s great knowing how much the shoes are worth but he would never ever consider selling…yet.
“I’ve always loved shoes since I was a kid, mainly because I related shoes to athletes,” Andrew said. “It’s part of a culture and you are defined by the shoes you’re wearing.”
For most NBA basketball players, it’s their dream goal to get their own signature shoe deal (which are the most difficult to get). Players such as Lebron James, Kevin Durant, and Stephen Curry (only a total of 18 NBA current players) have their own shoe.
Sneaker resellers will always try to secure multiple pairs of Jordans, most of them will use bots. Some have connections too. Sneaker bots are actually the ones that – in my personal opinion – take a pair of shoes away from a true sneakerhead. UGH
From the time that we’ve been together, I’ve pretty much been forced to helping Andrew secure Jordans. I actually think I get more frustrated when we can’t secure a pair of sneakers for him, lol. I learned to appreciate every make of each shoe such as the material, placement of color…literally everything.
“If someone were to draw the most classic shoe or if you see an ad with a stock image of a shoe, they’ll always take an image of the Jordan 1s because it’s the perfect looking shoe,” Andrew said. “It’s clean and there’s nothing to add or take away from it to make the shoe look better.”
In 2019 and early 2020, Andrew and I have been pretty lucky with hitting the shoes he wanted on Foot Locker. Lately, we can’t catch a break and can’t even get on the website (damn you bots). It’s so frustrating at this point, but what can he do? He can either take the “L” (trendy lingo for a loss) or pay the resale value of the shoe. Depends on the shoe, of course ;).
The question is, have the resellers disrupted the sneaker game and can the retailers outsmart the sneaker bots? Honestly, although it’s frustrating for every sneakerhead to see these resellers taking your shot at buying your (yes, you’ve claimed it before the win) shoe, you have to give them props for their entrepreneurship. They leverage technology and hustle to make money. I think the sneaker culture goes hand-in-hand with the retailers (especially since they make limited quantities) and resellers. It builds a bigger hype. If resellers are smart enough to use sneaker bots to buy and take advantage of the system, the brands should be able to outsmart them. Raffles just don’t cut it, guys.
“It pisses me off when I can’t get the shoe that I want and when I see that someone is selling a thousand pairs, but it’s also the responsibility of the brands to tighten their game up,” Andrew said.
There’s a huge business built around the sneaker hype. There are sneaker influencers and shows (e.g., Sneaker Shopping & Mr Foamer Simpson on YouTube and other social channels), StockX and other consignment stores you find in your mall. They’re even reached official investment class status! I don’t think that the hype will go away anytime soon.
Regardless, it’s honestly such a fun joy ride to be in the sneaker game. Whether you like Yeezys, Jordans or Air Maxes, you really need to love them in order to be in the game. Andrew’s biggest advice is to buy what you actually like, don’t let others and social media influence you and actually wear the shoes.*
Don’t be afraid to wear the shoes and enjoy them now!
*Please don’t crease your Jordans…