Sneakers have become much more than comfortable footwear. Originating in hip hop culture, sneakers were popularized by rappers and exploded with the release of the Air Jordan’s in the mid-80s. Today, sneakers can take the form of custom-designed pairs, like the Adidas Xbox 360 Forum Mid, or celebrity-endorsed models, like the Travis Scott x Air Jordan 1 Retro High. For sneakerheads, however, they are a profoundly rewarding hobby supported by a loyal community. So, let’s take a look at the basics of sneaker culture.
There Are Dedicated Experts
Entering the world of sneaker culture can be intimidating. Choosing the right materials for maximum comfort and durability, understanding the different brands and models, the history behind them, as well as facing the threat of counterfeits can be overwhelming. There are, however, many experts willing to introduce you to the world of sneakers. Esteban Serrano, for example, created Sole Searching, a video series that tells stories about sneaker fans and their prized possessions. Beginners can also follow sneaker accounts on Instagram, like hidden.ny and hartcopy that post mood boards and informative infographics for everyone to enjoy.
It’s a Huge Community
There are plenty of sneakerheads out there, and they are passionate about their hobby. Most of their free time and money goes into finding, customizing, and even taking pictures of their favorite pairs. They also enjoy the hard work involved in tracking down a rare model and knowing that they own something very few people manage to obtain. Now, to immerse in the sneaker community, beginners can attend live events like Sneaker Con or meet at dedicated hubs to ask questions in a safe environment and discuss any topic related to the hobby. The SoleSavy community even has exclusive information about new releases and checkout assists that make grabbing your favorite styles easier. By interacting with avid sneakerheads, you can learn more about the community and find your footing in it.
Buying and Selling Thrives Among Sneakerheads
Originally, fans waiting for the next great model had to wait for TV commercials to air and visit physical stores. But today, the availability of online stores makes it incredibly easy to get your first pair. Accessibility, however, varies greatly, and while some models are offered for the general public, others are custom-designed or given as presents to celebrities. The Georgetown Voice highlights the growing reseller market, where new and used sneakers are sold by X times at the original retail price. It’s also worth noting that trends are volatile. An influencer can wear a relatively old pair and trigger a rise in demand, transforming a relatively unknown model into a rare and expensive find. That said, don’t be afraid to purchase pairs from resellers, especially if you’re eyeing rare kicks. Just be sure that what you’re buying is the real deal!
Fakes Can Be Scary
The size of the reseller market has attracted some unwanted attention. The desperate need for new leads on a rare pair forces collectors to stumble upon seemingly respectable online stores selling counterfeit models. Sometimes the stores use fake pictures, and the customers find themselves receiving a product that looks nothing like the original. However, if an individual seller shares self-made pictures, there are certain clues that may help distinguish an original pair from a good copy, according to streetwear expert Sean Conway. People can check the size number, the country of manufacture, and the Stock Keeping Unit number, which should be the same in the box and the sneakers. Moreover, the box itself, the quality of the materials, and the length of the stitches should look as good as the images provided by the brand.
Sneakerheads enter the community for different reasons. Some may be attracted to the materials used to build a model, the history behind it, or even the celebrities connected to it. But there’s no doubt that there’s a pair of sneakers for everyone, and that’s what makes the community so diverse.