Don’t @ me.
As a sneaker purist, I personally cannot get behind designer sneakers because to me, they are ugly, and they do not embody the culture and rich history behind sneakers and the sneaker culture. If anything, it feels like cultural appropriation. Now, this is not to say that designer brands have not had sneakers until now. False. They have, but they weren’t anywhere as popular as they have been in the last 2-3 years.
Now, where has this popularity come from? The rap music. I don’t have to go over lyrics or songs, you probably have a few on your music service of choice. If we know anything from the greatest music genre ever, it’s that the music and the rappers influence the masses. So when we see Quavo wearing Gucci sneakers, chances are we will also see the people in the club wearing Gucci sneakers. If Fabolous is wearing Balenciaga, we might see another cat in the street wearing the same ugly clunky sh*ts. It’s no secret that celebrities are moving sneakers for brands faster and better than athletes nowadays, a luxury the best of the best of the best have enjoyed for decades. But the sneaker climate is changing.
Change is good. But designer sneakers aren’t part of that good change. in 2019, we have seen so many advancements, innovations, and legacies in the sneaker culture. These sneakers have history. We know the stories behind these sneakers, the inspiration behind the colorways, the materials used in the sneakers, and if you’re really savvy, who designed the sneaker. When we see a collaboration between a sneaker and a shop, we know the reason for the collab, and we know what the collaboration embodies, and what it may stand for. Can we say the same thing for designer sneakers, in the same spirit we do others?
Ask yourself what the story behind the Louis Vitton x Supreme sneakers. Ask yourself what the legacy is behind those concrete bricks they call the Balenciaga Triple S. Think about the culture that inspired the Gucci sneakers with the bedazzled snake on the side. And what’s more, think about the culture(s) that these sneakers are perpetuating. These sneakers aren’t about the sneakers in and of themselves. They are for cultures that compound into a bigger culture of status and luxury. Do normal sneakers as we know it give you status? Most definitely. Are some of them luxurious? No question. But that status and luxury is a side effect. Sure, those sneakers may have cost a grip, or they are worth as such, and you have a pair. You’re popping. But compare someone with, just for argument’s sake, let’s say Kaws IVs to someone with Speed Trainers. You’ve seen both profiles. I’m willing to bet you the person with the former pair looks, acts, walks, and talks like a sneakerhead. The person with the latter, the Migos. No disrespect to my mans Quavo, but I can’t remember the last time they were for the sneaker culture.
I’m not done. With the exception of a few, most of these sneakers, admit it, look just God-awful. Part of being a sneakerhead is collecting sneakers fitted to your taste and style. Are you really going to tell me, as a sneakerhead, that you like the Triple S? I wouldn’t believe you even if that were the case. And I know this is a very subjective paragraph (hell, article), but I don’t know very many sneakerheads that are wearing luxury sneakers. In fact, I don’t know any. Also, there is an unwritten rule amongst sneakerheads that we can absolutely (and most definitely should) wear the likes of Tommy, Ralph, Izod, and so on, but we don’t rock their sneakers. Now, if we’re not wearing Tommy and Ralph sneakers, we most certainly aren’t rocking Balenciaga and Gucci.
In closing, the designer and luxury sneakers don’t and can’t accurately and appropriately represent the true essence and culture of the sneaker industry and world, and they never will.