Holding On To My Youth Via Sneakers
As someone in their early thirties, most of my friends are no longer marking their calendars when the hottest kicks will be dropping. Instead, the reminders are now for mortgage payments and dates for their son or daughter’s birthdays. I, on the other hand, am no where close in my life to raising children, and still have the time to frolic in the world of sneakers. It was a no brainer to attend a sneaker convention when I got hold of a media pass. I am by no means a obsessive sneakerhead, but a chance to purchase highly elusive kicks? Why not.
Attending Sneaker Con
As I made my way to the building, you could tell there was a buzz. Numerous teens were scattered outside the convention taking fit pics (these sorta things are the norm in 2018). Walking into the building made me realize just how far and wide a culture built upon athletic footwear has become. It was corny to see hypebeast after hypebeast decked out in Supreme and Bape, but it was also cool to see so many people of a specific subculture in one space come together and share their passion together.
The line to enter was about 200 people deep. Everyone in line was wearing some sort of heat on their feet, because this of course was the Oscars of sneakers. It wasn’t that you came wearing your favourite shoe, but you rocked a pair that would draw the most jealously; hard to come by Yeezys were a dime a dozen. The footwear that you only dreamed of such as the Fragment Jordan’s, Tom Sachs X Nike Mars Yard 2, and highly coveted OFF WHITE Nike’s were all being gawked at with wide eyes.
Due to my media pass, I got to cut the giant line and made my way inside (FLEX). The vibe inside the convention was chaotic; the equivalent to a bustling outdoor market with numerous vendors. The most frantic of all at the convention was what they called “The Pit”. There was a royal rumble esque atmosphere in this dedicated area where individuals could sell and trade. It was a sight to see tons of people (mostly teenagers) walking around with exposed shoe boxes trying to hawk their shoes. There were numerous booths some surrounded with so many hype filled teens that you had to wait a good ten minutes just to take a peek at what they were selling (it was Supreme of course). Other than popular sneakers and apparel, tables were set up for Insta-famous Youtubers that were doing meet and greets, and even a booth dedicated to verifying what you were buying was legitimate.
Perusing around the convention aged me, as if I just spent the past hour chain smoking.
As an older head, perusing around the convention aged me, as if I just spent the past hour chain smoking. It was an overdose from the debauchery over running and basketball shoes. Leaving the convention, it hit me. I’m getting too old for this.
So much of the sneaker space has moved into the digital space with online shopping and Instagram that you often forget how youthful the culture is. This will always be a young man’s game. Being with a sea of teenagers and some with their moms and dads trying to get them to shell out a couple of stacks just for a pair of Nike’s will do that to you.
The core of sneaker culture comes down to flexing. You feel like the man having elusive pairs, while others don’t have, but want.
The core of sneaker culture comes down to flexing. You feel like the man having elusive pairs, while others don’t have, but want. This explains why there are so many people willing to pay outrageous re-sale prices for them When you are an active participant in the culture, it becomes increasingly easy to get caught up. It’s only when you take a step back that you realize that there is something more than simply having a highly coveted pair of sneakers. Questions such as: do I actually like these or do i really need another pair or can I be taken seriously wearing these? These are all the questions I begin to ask myself whenever I’m about to hit the checkout button or holding a pair in my hand.
It starts with an exclusive pair of sneakers. Then, the disease of hype catches up to the rest of your wardrobe.
Another reason for taking a back seat in the sneaker game? Conformity. When you have so many people wanting the same pair of shoes, being apart of the cool club takes precedence over your personal style. It starts with an exclusive pair of sneakers. Then, the disease of hype catches up to the rest of your wardrobe. When it takes full control of shopping habits, you’re paralyzed to only purchasing gear that has unanimous appeal on social media. Your own taste becomes secondary.
I can embarrassingly admit that I passed on shoes I actually liked due to the fact I didn’t feel the sneaker had enough buzz. To not purchase clothing and apparel simply because it didn’t garner social media attention is just corny AF. When you wear things, regardless of it’s attention, that’s when the shackles of insecurity are finally lifted. A plain crispy pair of White Air Force’s can be just as cool as the OFF WHITE version; you just have to make it your own. And when you do, that’s when the pair of sneakers actually comes to life.