Most sneakerheads will see where I’m going with this.
More often than not, sneakerheads get a lot of criticism and stigma for what we love. You’ve heard it all before:
“They’re just shoes”
“They go on your feet, who cares?”
“It just seems kinda dumb.”
The list goes on. It’s really easy to dismiss something that we perceive to not be very productive or beneficial of some sort, especially to us. For instance, someone with a passion for community service and helping others is more likely to be well received by a number of his peers than a sneakerhead might be. While the obvious and most natural reaction is to say something along the lines of “it’s because helping others is better than having a lot of sneakers”, we only really focus on what they do, and not so much (a more insightful) why they do.
Most things that people do come with some sort of reason or story. Whether the reason comes before or after the action, it’s usually the driving motivation behind why someone would do what they do. For instance, I’m a software developer. Why? Well, from a young age, I was always intrigued by the computers and technology. I had no idea how to type when I first encountered a computer, and yet, there I was typing away like I knew something. As I got a little older, I started to explore and mess around with the built-in programs (mostly built-in games and Paint) and change the wallpapers. The further I got in my schooling, I wanted to learn more about computers and took programming classes. That led me to studying computer science in college, and now I work for a fintech.
I’m also a sneakerhead. I always loved the feeling of having new shoes as a kid and showing them off at school. Couldn’t keep my eyes off of my fresh sneaks when I got a chance to debut them in the classroom. My dad taught me how to clean shoes when I was 7. One fateful night listening to Run DMC, and now I have a newfound love for Adidas. (My dad would say he put me on to Adidas, as it was his favorite brand, but I like to believe it was pure coincidence we both liked the Stripes.) Every year leading up to high school and I’m at every Foot Locker, FootAction, Champ’s, and Just for Feet (remember that?) trying to find that fresh pair for the new year. Sneakers gave me friends when I struggled to make some in college. I then eventually help teach those same skills my dad taught me to my newfound college friends. Sneakers helped upgrade my wardrobe, and even inspired my senior project that would lead not only to my computer science degree, but this very blog itself! The rich history and culture of sneakers aligns with a lot of my interests and goals. Hence, I am a sneakerhead.
So what really makes the sneakerheads different from the rest? We all have reasons as to why we all do what we do. They always said to find something you like, right? Our thing just happens to be sneakers. Sneakers that don’t just go on your feet, no. Rather, sneakers that meant something to you; that stand for the same things you stand for. Sneakers that you worked hard for. Sneakers that have a nostalgic or personal value to you. The sneakers are a passion, a reality and truth that gives us solace and life. In the era of followers (and very few leaders), what’s often not popular or in style at the moment is often looked down upon, seen as weird, or dumb. Countless times have I been told by a pepperoni pizza face looking boy that “sneakers are dumb”. Said pepperoni pizza face looking boy was an artist trying to sell his art at prices that do not reflect the quality of the art. I’m not strapped for cash following my passion, cat. But financial and facial situations aside, I’m not knocking his passion because I know that there is something inside him that keeps him drawing, and painting, and so on. The very same drive that pushed him to move from backwater Tennessee to Los Angeles for art school. It’s just unfortunate didn’t understand my passion for sneakers, and that might be why he always looked bummy. But that’s not the point here.
At the end of it all, don’t let them knock your love for sneakers. And don’t knock on theirs, either. Because like everything else, there’s so much more to it.