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Sneaker Life: Culture

The advent of the Internet gave birth to an age when small communities could make their voices heard, and shine a spotlight on everything they love. We’re in the thick of the Internet age, which has allowed many themes that weren’t mainstream to jump to the forefront.

In 2015, there's no shame to be into video games, comic, fashion, and sneakers. During the ‘80s, ‘90s, and early 2000s, though many people were into it, these things still weren't mainstream and called the underground home. 

When it comes to sneakers, all you have to do is jump on Instagram, or Twitter, and with a quick search, you can find all manner of accounts devoted to fresh kicks, or simply average people posting images of their latest cop. At City Gear we love sneakers, but not everyone out there in the wide world has always been into sneakers. Twenty-five years ago the sneaker scene was only big on the coasts.

The Internet has made sneaker enthusiasts pop up everywhere. And while some people may say, “You’re not a sneakerhead unless you do this, own that shoe, or were collecting before this time,” the truth is if you love sneakers then you are probably a sneakerhead. You don’t have to grab every new launch shoe or have all of the Retro Jordan’s to be excited about some hot kicks. Whether you’re an OG devoted to Air Force One’s and Jordan’s or you got into the game recently, there’s some heat out there for you.

Everyone has a different opinion on the qualifications of loving sneakers, but it could be argued that there are two that matter, and everything else is fluff.

First is passion. When you talk to people in the sneaker world, either at a convention or online, you will learn people are passionate about every aspect of a release. New to the game or a veteran, passion is what drives people to wait in line for a new kick, or drop $400 on eBay for a retro they can’t find. Passion for clean kicks is what brings new blood to the shoe game. Everyone has a friend they have converted, helping their squad up their kick game.

Second is knowledge. If you are walking down the street someone may say to you, “Hey man, I like those red and black shoes. Where did you get them?” But, a true sneakerhead will call it by name, and have a need to know where and how you copped. If you say you love sneakers, then you know the stories behind the kicks you cop. As time goes on though sneakers are becoming a mainstay in life.

With the birth of Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, and SnapChat, sneaker culture exploded. While the Gram and Twitter may be full of resellers, hypebeasts, and generally salty people, the culture as a whole is a place where passion and knowledge is encouraged. The kicks getting the most love, have a story behind them or are a signature of influencer like the Air Jordan 12 ‘Flu Game’ or Kanye West, respectively. Influencers help make this game the way it is. Stores in Ohio can’t hold on to LeBron’s, and Pusha T’s sneaky release on Black Friday flew off the shelves.

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With the expansion of sneaker culture, we have seen some of the hottest designs in the past decade. Of course Nike and Jordon continue to kill it out there with recent releases like the signature series, the Air Trainer V. Cruz, and simple silhouettes like the Roshe. This has also been a year of some solid Foamposites and the return of the Nike Air Presto.

It's almost easy to say that Nike IS the culture. Not only have their designs defined a generation, but they've had a roster of some of the best NBA pleayers of all time. So loyal is LeBron James, that when asked about Under Armour, his response was, “Who?” He went on to call them “the other guys” and say he was Nike for life.

Though Nike has a stranglehold on what's hot, they aren't the only name brand making waves. Other brands have been making strides in the retro game, lifestyles, and fashion kicks. Of the many other brands, adidas has had arguably one of the biggest impacts this year, after dropping the Yeezy 750 Boost and the Yeezy 350 Boost. Both of the silhouettes have been difficult to come by, but they are in extremely high demand.

With Kanye West designing Yeezy Season 1 collection for adidas, and the success of the 750 Boost and 350 Boost, it’s easy to see why the brand has gained some traction. Securing celebrities like Kanye, Pharrell Williams, James Harden, and Pusha T has propelled adidas into the spotlight of sneakers people crave. Anytime one of adidas’ icons wears a ZX Flux or an Ultra Boost, their brand gains more followers.

What's great about the diversity of styles in releases is that theres always an option out there for everyone. If you prefer a performance sneaker for the hardwood, you may want to look at City Gear’s selection LeBron 13’s, KD 8’s, Kobe X’s, Kyrie’s, or Air Jordan 29’s. If you are more into lifestyles, every brand has a silhouette for you. Every sneakerhead has more shoes than they can wear, but everyone has something to ball in, that shoe that makes necks snap, and beaters for the grocery store or what not.

When you are new to the sneaker world, you look at these retros and launch shoes, and it makes you want to buy whatever you get your hands on. What’s important though is to find your style. Everyone has their own look, whether you dig on Retro Jordan’s, performance Nike’s, adidas Yeezy 350 Boosts, Timberlands, or Converse.