Sneaker culture is its own world in the retrospect of fashion. Thanks to Michael Jordan and Hip-Hop music, these two factors helped launched sneaker culture into a global phenomenon. During the 90’s, young kids, especially inner-city kids, would wait on line for hours just to score a vintage Jordan 1 apart of their sneaker collection. When millions of people watched Michael Jordan play at arenas wearing Jordan 1’s, everyone simply wanted to be like the NBA great. This even led to people getting robbed and murdered for wearing Jordans outside. Sneaker culture has a historic timeline, but what factors have ruined the birth of sneaker collecting?
In todays world, customers are lucky if they can score Jordans on the SNKR app or the footlocker website. Bots, hype beasts, and resellers make it difficult for the modern day sneaker lover to purchase sneakers. If you miss purchasing a new Nike release, you can sure see it on GOAT right after. Even though sneaker online stores are valuable, there is a major issue with fake shoes being sold on there. Also, the mark up on the sneakers after its release are absolutely insane. This has resulted in sneaker lovers waiting hours on the Footlocker website to be told that the website crashed. Waste of time right? Not everyone can win a W, but it can break one’s heart. I tried to win sneakers on the SNKR’s app, and I ultimately gave up.
I want every single reader to go to a mall and visit a sneaker store. Most resellers would sell Jordans and Yeezys for a 200% mark up price. This matter has even worsened due to the Covid-19 pandemic. Billions of people were stuck in their house, but shopping was accessible without a problem. I am never one to knock one’s hustle, but why are Yeezy’s being sold for $500 when they’re originally $200. To be blunt, sneaker stores and individual resellers have become greedy. There have been countless Footlocker workers who stated that people offer them $100 if they give them first dibs of Jordans during the in-store release. The art of being a sneaker distributor has turned into the Hunger Games. It has turned into being heartless while making millions. Most people can not even afford sneakers, but they want a pair to fulfill their childhood dreams.
It is also important to note that social media, especially Tiktok, has ruined sneaker culture. Black culture has its roots in fashion, music, beauty, and the list ultimately goes on. Remember how I stated that people were shopping non-stop during the Covid-19 pandemic? This has led to people doing shopping hauls on Tiktok, Instagram, and YouTube. Since people were bored in the house, this led to sneaker culture being deemed more aesthetic. The majority of people who made wearing Jordans or Yeezys aesthetic were White people. Black people constantly struggle with racism, but sneaker culture is Black culture. It was deemed ghetto for Black people to rock Jordans in public. Now, you can catch White people being displayed as the faces of streetwear. I am not saying that sneaker culture is only for Black people, but why are White people profiting from sneaker culture more than the originators? Whenever I step foot into a sneaker store, I barely see an owner who looks like me. I am all for someone “getting the bag,” but when do Black people decide it’s time to take control of the influence?
Taking it back to social media, I want you to Google streetwear. I bet the first 10 images you will see mostly consists of White people. These images includes hype beasts, models, and random people in Soho.
Nike has remained “exclusive” with their sneaker collections. Only a few hundred pairs will release on the website and in store. The art of sneaker culture has truly diminished because of money hungry resellers and bots. Resellers decided that they needed all of the sneakers in the world, so bots came into play.
Even though brands like Nike, Adidas, Yeezy, and Puma make billions from their sneakers, it is time to recognize the problem in sneaker culture. The art of being exclusive is hurting the art of sneaker culture by the minute. Even though it is not going anywhere, the authenticity is being lost.
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