As we start to put the pandemic behind us (COVID-19 is very real and still a thing, don’t get it twisted), societies and communities have opened up again. This of course depends on what part of the world you live in, you may or may not still have to wear masks places, but at least here in the States, shreds of normalcy have returned.
Relatively, the sneaker industry and community did not seem to suffer that much from the outbreak. Sneakers were still released and sold, videos and pictures were still made; the status quo was still the status quo. I have spent most of the pandemic and post in various sneaker chats and conversations talking about the sneakers we copped, the ones we didn’t, the ones we want and don’t want all the same, as if we weren’t locked in our respective homes for the almost better part of 2 years. And that is the thing that we have to remember. Our life as sneakerheads still pretty much went on unbothered.
A handful of years ago I wrote about how being a sneakerhead was more than just spending my money on shoes just because. And while I still stand by that, there is also another side to that story that we now get to realize and understand: it’s still more than just sneakers. This is a time for us to take a moment and take into account the other blessings that we have in our lives. We all know someone whose life was affected by COVID, either directly or otherwise. We all know the stories about people being unable to pay for basic necessities and essentials because work and money quit coming. The pandemic, amongst other things, have put a strain on a lot of things outside of this sneaker community of ours, and that makes it really easy for us to forget or pay attention to the outside world when we still get our routine notifications from SNKRS, Confirmed, and various brand Discord channels.
And this isn’t to say that the sneaker community has been tone deaf to the world, because it hasn’t. I had sneakers and clothes sitting in my closet that probably shouldn’t have been because of the COVID relief sales that boutiques and brands put on as a “response” (I prefer to say effort against) to COVID. And that was a great thought and a valiant effort, but it only did so much. Sure, it gave you a sense of feeling good about yourself because you chipped in to fight COVID, or made a video about what issues align with your personal values, but it isn’t something that put the sneaker community at the forefront of the fight, because well, sneakers aren’t the cure for this sickness, and they aren’t the answer to the after-effects of this pandemic that still linger today.
Once we got past the pandemic, we all made plans to come back to reality with our re-upped rotations and threads to compliment; ready to flex on one another with our respective pickups and outfits. It was my hope that we didn’t come out only thinking about the sneakers and the alphets, or the idea of being able to flex in person again. All those things are great and I think we should all do those things, but if those are the only things we’re thinking about coming out of this, then did we really change? And that’s not to say that you had to come out of this a totally different, woke, and super enlightened person. But one would think after 104+ weeks of sitting in your place all day, you’d have dealt with yourself a little bit.
All that to say, we are blessed to have a community and culture that was not terribly interrupted by this pandemic. We are fortunate to have had this culture as an outlet and distraction from the world. Not everyone has had that, and we should be thankful for that. However, by that very same reason that we must also remember that there’s more to this life than sneakers. If there’s anything these last two years have taught us, it’s that all of this could very well slip through our grasp and go away in an instant. And if the only thing you really care about or have going for you are some sneakers, then who/what are you when that goes away?
When it comes to this life, it’s still more than just sneakers.