Today’s Sneaker, Yesterday’s Sneakerhead

If there is one thing I know to be true, it is that you can always learn a thing or two from those older than you. As one who would be categorized as a millennial, the generations before me really do have all the answers, Sway. And this past Wednesday, I was doing a whole lot of learning.

Los Angeles is the place to be. It really is. This past week saw thousands from far and wide come to the city for the E3 convention. Also this week was the release of the Sonic x Puma RS-0, with an event highlighting the release at Nice Kicks Los Angeles. The intersection of the two made for what I believe to be one of the sneaker culture’s most defining moments in history. Fans of Sonic the Hedgehog (myself included), gamers in general, sneakerheads, and of course resellers all gathered at Nice Kicks for the event, being brought together by one thing embodying each of their individual and combined interests: this particular rendition of the RS-0. What’s more is that the event worked. It was a massive event, a huge success if I had ever seen one, and something that just couldn’t have come together any better than it already had.

I did not originally know about the event at all. Matter of fact, I didn’t even really get wind of the shoe until I got an email about it in my inbox the morning of the event. I took one good glance at the Sonic and Dr. Eggman colorways, read the price point, and then proceeded to earn my living for the day at work. I didn’t think anything of the shoe at all at that moment, or for the remainder of the day. It wasn’t until I had texted a recent acquaintance, who I got to know through a pair of 270’s, did I catch wind of the event at Nice Kicks. On that particular day, he told me Nice Kicks was having an event, which was where he and his boys were. Take about 45 minutes of driving in Los Angeles traffic, and I finally get to Nice Kicks, where I meet up with my dude and his friends. Upon being introduced, we’re talking sneakers off the bat. It only makes sense. Now, here is where learning from the old heads come in. Recall that I thought I was too up on things to be put on game to Goat by my friend when I first met him. Already he told me about this event that I didn’t have the slightest inkling about, and his friends were already on game about the sneaker, having copped the day prior. I had only thought it had just dropped that day. I got put on twice in the span of an hour.

During the event, my man, his crew and I are talking sneakers and music the whole night. From upcoming releases, things we do with and for our sneakers, what sneakers we like and don’t like, we covered a lot of sneaker talk. I took a lot of enjoyment out of this because it isn’t everyday for me that I can talk sneakers extensively with others. In all my circles, I am just about the only person really in to sneakers and the culture. While it isn’t a bad thing, it’s not necessarily a good thing either. Regardless, there was so much I had gleaned from this group of men. And allow me to put this in perspective: my friend works for Amazon Web Services. This is a smart man with smart money. One of his friends is also works with AWS, so he’s good money, too. I don’t know the occupations of the others, but just by association I know they’re good to go. These are guys in my professional field, who also share my interest in sneakers, having exponentially more experience than I do in both. I knew I had hit some very valuable resources to the culture.

Most people my age with certain interests or hobbies may not take heed to the word of those before them because of ever-changing times and technology; their word is obsolete. But sneakers are a different game. The culture has still remained consistent enough to where the older heads and can still compete and stay relevant. After all, most of them have all the sneakers we talk about like mythical legends; all the OG sneakers and colorways we’d pay hundreds and thousands of dollars for on StockX, Flight Club, and Goat. They’ve been through the experiences of long waits and the hysteria for sneaker releases, and at a time when it was more dangerous than it is today. And of course, they were at the advent of online shopping; they’re pioneers at the venture. I didn’t come in with the intent to be taught and put on so much, but I did. And I know I’m going to be a better sneakerhead for it.

Written by J-Play

Founder and Creator of the Sneaker Literacy Program. I am a software developer with a deep love for sneakers and tech. Clean Your Shoes is my mark in both cultures. Connect with me on Instagram at @the.jplay.

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