Thursday, May 17, 2007

Is the Sneakergame DEAD?

These days, the conversations regarding Hip Hop and Rap continue to ebb and flow and on any given day, there are many that would say that Hip Hop is DEAD because of the bastardization of the music by the record labels. Well, the record labels wouldn’t have that ability to bastardize it if it wasn’t sold-off like a 6’4” 250lb Black male slave in the days of past (Some would argue that the slave trade still exists today and it’s referred to as the NFL or the NBA?)

The reality is the "Sneakergame", as it was coined in 2000, has changed significantly because the companies realize how important footwear, and to be more specific- sneakers are to culture. Sneakers may have gotten their start as a ‘luxury item’ that only the wealthy could afford, but over the years with the process of manufacturing becoming more streamlined and materials more accessible, sneakers became more ubiquitous to Americans and the world.

Visit any city; it doesn’t matter if its large or small….people are wearing sneakers. The Baby-boomer generation is dealing with more aches and pains from exercises such as aerobics and high-impact sports such as jogging and tennis. Who do you think is having the majority of the hip and knee replacement surgeries in the US? That’s right, the Baby-Boomer generation! Once they’re in the recovery room, their surgeon goes through the usual questions of how they feel and then the conversation turns to rehab and “wearing the proper footwear”. What do you think the “proper footwear” is? Ten times out of ten, the footwear is a sneaker!

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As more and more newspapers ran stories on collectors who’d line up for days in advance, sleep outside to buy the newest and greatest sneakers, the world got hipped to the sneakergame and craze. Newspapers such as The Boston Globe, The Los Angeles Times to even the most newsworthy newspaper out, The Wall Street Journal, ran a number of stories on the influence of white-on-white Air Force 1s on culture and the acquisition of Reebok by Adidas.

Nowadays, the box stores are flooded with sneakers that will sit and eventually be deeply discounted and end up at outlet stores or at off-price retailers such as TJ Maxx, Marshalls, Kohl’s and Ross. The newest sneakers that comprise of the newest materials or technology are not being appreciated. Why? People are still caught up with all the retrospective products and aren’t paying attention to the new stuff.

You would think that in 2007, the most celebrated sneaker releases would have been the Nike Air Zoom Kobe II, the Adidas Stealth ClimaCool or the Reebok Answer X Pump. Such is not the case when the Nike Air Jordan 1 retro pack, the Fire Red 3s and the uglier-than-ugly Spiz’ikes are being released and are taking up space that should be filled with inventive and forward-thinking sneakers. Where is the creativity? It was thrown out the window about 4 years ago and the culture has been spoon-fed inferior products that could not withstand the test of their intended sport.

click on page to enlarge

So you see, it’s the consumers who are the sucker DJs (aka pooh-butts) that wouldn’t know a good sneaker if it walked up to them and slapped them in the face. There are so many good products that sit on the shelves, get marked down and are promptly shipped to outlets where cats like me and a select few, scoop them up and keep it movin’. It’s sad to see a culture that I love act like a baby fiendin’ for the Similac when it should be saying “No” because they’ve grown up and matured. It’s only the right thing to do.

The culture LIVES because T.H.E. (Time Has Enemies)!!!


1 comment:

  1. Anonymous9:24 PM

    Ture words being spoken. The culture is in a Vacuum because the Irony is ... all the sneakers these heads are going crazy for now as retros were forward thinking and innovative to begin with. That's what made us cop them all when the first came out.

    Paper Chasr


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