The World Of Sneakers: The New Wild West

You can get away with a lot when it comes to sneakers. Fakes, customs, bots, seeding lists, cook groups, you name it. The sneaker world is, to a point, unregulated and a massive free-for-all. And then think about all the Wild West stories you may (or may not) know about, from hear-say or popular media. Such a time was also depicted as an unregulated, massive free-for-all. When put and thought of in this way, we can see the many similarities betwixt the two worlds can then be seen and understood.

1. Everyone Is A Gunslinger

You, your friend, and your Uncle Corbin that collects every other GR drop at Finish Line can be likened to anyone in the west wielding a gun. People have different types of guns and do different things with them. The same can be said for sneakers. And when we come across each other in the proverbial saloon, every flex is an opportunity to wave our guns around at each other to garnish some respect and assert our dominance over the rest. Those that fake the funk get exposed swiftly. And your draw is how fast you can cop a sneaker when it drops. This is a big shoot-out in the middle of the town, and more than likely, all hell has broken loose. Take that for what you will.

2. Bots Are Modern-Day Bandits…

But they really can’t be stopped. And at some point, there will be a time when you wonder: if I can’t beat them, should I really join them? There is no judgment from Clean Your Shoes, either way. But, chances are that you have lost out on a couple of sneakers because of the endless swarm of bots crawling around the web. The good deserving boys and girls all around the world are robbed of a chance to cop a fire drop that may never drop again. And they’ll keep robbing us again and again and again for a foreseeable future.

3. …And Cook Groups, Seeding Lists, And Other Groups Are Posses

These are groups literally figuring out ways to beat the bandits bots. An orchestrated, and organized effort and group of people to drive away the problem is a posse. You and your boys want to find a way to cop the next hottest release for sure? Link up with someone or a group of people with the connect. Oh, want to get on a list to always cop the hot drop? Cozy up to some plugs or people in high places. Next thing you know, you and a small group of other sneakerheads are in constant communication regarding the acquirement of certain sneakers every weekend.

4. Resellers Play Numerous Roles, Depending On Supply

It’s easy to think of resellers as these plugs flush with cash, sneakers, and Supreme. But on Instagram, not everything is as it seems, and the reality is that only a fraction of resellers out there are actually making mad cash like that. The big resellers that are actually doing it big are the tycoons of the land, depriving the regular folk of the goods, and consequently forcing said regular folk to depend on them for the valuables. Mid-tier resellers that are making a nice bag from the game are like store owners: people come in to their shop, and they do okay for themselves. They may not be rich, but they aren’t struggling, either. Low-end resellers either aren’t resellers at all, just started reselling, or are pushing fakes and should probably be avoided.

5. A Lot Of Stories Have A Chance Of Being Exaggerated

It is well believed that a number of the folk tales regarding or pertaining to the Wild West days are more exaggerated than the actual account of events that may have taken place. Of course, we’re naturally inclined to take in such amazing tales, good, bad, and ugly. The same is no different with sneakers. How many times have we been in awe or shock over a story told by a friend or otherwise regarding some sneaker of the hour? Exactly, more times than we can count, and we remember the most amazing stories and pass them on, (probably intentionally or unintentionally) embellishing the story even more as we tell the tale.

6. The “Law” Is Virtually Non-Existent

In the real legal sense, there is really not much wrong with the status quo in sneakers, save for fakes. It is actually quite regulated legally, and it works. But it’s what you can get away with that makes the culture almost seem lawless. In tales of the Wild West, you could hardly hear a story about a great sheriff or law enforcement that really made a mark in history. You get a few, but not as many as you would bandits, and outlaws, and gangs, etc. The same thing applies here. In regards to sneakers and drops, there have been measures against bots, reselling, and (actual, unnecessary) violence. But said measures in the last few years haven’t been nearly as successful as we’d like to think. And if they were, bots, reselling and violence found bigger and better ways to perpetuate the cycle.

7. Everyone Is Still Coming Out West

In the beginning, the West wasn’t a popular place to be until people started finding their fortune. And in finding fortune, others soon followed (for fortune or otherwise), en masse. Sneakers, although having some status and symbol in the world since the early days of the flex, didn’t really take off and become the juggernaut it is now until the early aughts. In the turn of the decade, that status only got bigger, as people, places, and things are finding more ways to make their foray into the sneaker world and its community. People are making a fortune, others, still trying to find their way. But regardless, sneakers are the hot thing right now, and you’d be crazy not to try and get a piece of the action.

Go West, young man. Go West.

 

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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