Move Along

Generally I try and be a positive person and look at the bright side but sometimes things just really get to me. Especially with sneakers I like to maintain perspective and recognize that sneakers are NOT life. Unfortunately I’m not sure that can be said for everyone these days. There are two particular groups out there in the sneaker community that come to mind. I’ll apologize in advance for my language but sometimes I get fired up.

On the one hand we have the so-called “hypebeasts” who only like to buy and wear the most hyped and trendy gear. For the most part I don’t let this group get to me because I realize that a good portion of them are young and impressionable and are doing what we all did at a younger age: follow the trend and try to look cool. It is human nature mostly and a right of passage. I can’t really make excuses for the older hypebeasts but I’m sure they have their reasons for doing what they do. I get tired of all the Yeezy posts too but I somehow find a way to scroll past and realize that must mean something to somebody out there.

The flip side to this for me — and where I want to focus my attention and ire — is the older, seasoned, bitter sneakerhead who has nothing better to do than belittle the current state of the sneaker “culture” and most of those who choose to be a part of it. You probably know the one: loves older Air Max 1 and 90 releases or obscure basketball shoes and trainers, hasn’t bought a pair of sneakers in years and yearns for the days when Bape and Supreme wasn’t so mainstream. They can’t stand the fact that we all joined and “ruined” the party so they choose to sit on the sidelines and throw barbs at the rest of us.

“I can’t wait until things die down so it can go back to the way it used to be” and “I remember when I could walk into any sneaker shop and cop a release months after the drop” and “Everyone just does this for the likes and to get followers, they don’t appreciate the sneakers for what they used to be.” Now I’ll admit that I’ve said and written similar things but it was often in a different context and with the goal of making things better and different. That’s why I post what I do on Instagram and why I started this blog.

The only word I can think of to describe these disaffected collectors is bitter. So you were around when things were easy to cop. Great. You did this before a lot of us did and had lots of cool pairs. Thank you and good for you. You remember when there were less releases and you had to know people somewhere else to get pairs. Sucks for you. Life before social media made it much easier to get pairs and enjoy being the only guy or girl with that release. Again, sucks for you. Times change. Adapt or get out of the way.

One of the funniest things I see is when the good-old-days crowd rails on social media like Instagram and Twitter and sites like YouTube on – wait for it! – social media and YouTube! Oh the irony. You took the time to dedicate a post on the chosen vehicles for content to point out the shortcomings of others.

The fact is where and how and when we communicate with our peers has changed. Those peers could be in a different time zone or on a totally different continent on the other side of the globe. That doesn’t make it any better or worse – just different. Whereas you flexed for your friends and others in your school or neighborhood, today people do the same on a more global scale via social media and blogs and vlogs. The goal is the same but the vehicle for delivery is different. Doesn’t make you unique or original, sorry.

At one point or another we were all new to sneakers and probably didn’t know what we were doing or what was what. There was likely someone or a group who you attached yourself to that schooled you to how things were. From there you developed your own likes, styles and opinions and hopefully passed along what you’d learned and refined. Evidently this particular group of sneaker enthusiasts never had that experience and were born with the taste and knowledge most of us can only dream of acquiring. At least that’s the impression you’d get by how they ridicule and judge newer members of the sneaker community. Maybe instead of mocking the kid for his style choices, stop being an asshole for a second and try to present an alternative.

Instead of being welcoming and offering direction and trying to influence change they choose to judge the rest of us. My advice to them? Please go back to your circle jerks on your Niketalk forums and Facebook groups and let us do our thing. Go sit in your sneaker room and look at the fading boxes full of shoes with crumbling soles and reminisce about the good old days. Here’s your badge and plaque – you are now members of the Sneaker Hall of Fame and none of us will ever live up to your “accomplishments”. Who are you to judge someone else’s motives or count their money?

We all have different reasons and goals and likes and that’s what keeps things interesting. Personally, I found Instagram to be a great way for me to get to know others with similar tastes in shoes. At my age and place in life I don’t have many coworkers or friends who enjoy sneakers like I do. In the process I’ve developed some great friendships and connections. I’ve been fortunate to build a good group of followers and people I interact with. More important than the shoes or having the exclusive or hard-to-find releases for me are the relationships and the stories.

It is a shame those who came before me don’t always see it that way. Hopefully one day I won’t catch myself being “that guy” but if I do I’ll know it is time to go out gracefully and hand over the reins. The truth is this thing was never yours to begin with and you were privileged to be a part of it. It was here before you and will be here without you. Thank you for your contribution. Now move along.

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5 thoughts on “Move Along

  1. I really agree with your blog. I start collecting sneaker in 1995. It’s was fun asking my mom could I go to the mall before I went to school. That’s when they use to drop doing the week and you just walk in get your sizes the go to school. I really just don’t get why the older sneakerhead bitter. They really don’t do it no more.. No need to get mad at the young they are following the old sneakerhead. I have slow down on collecting kicks. I have all kinds I like what I like my kids don’t understand why I don’t get every Jordan release I like what I like.. Now I go for limited edition sneaker most people are not going to wear then they going to sale them. I do believe in wear your sneakers. Thanks for putting it out there sir.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Thanks for your comment. I agree with everything you said. Too much emphasis is placed on limited availability (or perception of it) and not enough on wearing what you like and buying to wear instead of resale.

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  2. This is really interesting to read. I’d like to share something I found amusing and disappointing which I first noticed about 18 months ago. I’ll try not to drag it out too long, but maybe some people have noticed the same thing.

    Anyway, in my location it is impossible for me to see new releases and try them on. I often rely on YouTube and Instagram friends to help me out with size info and general opinions of the latest kicks. This helps me decide if I’m going to order or not. It’s important because, for more limited releases, it’s sometimes not possible to return them. Social media networks were a fun, helpful tool for information and making connections. About two years ago, I watched YouTube a lot and enjoyed reviews from quite a few people, mostly based in the US. Then towards the end of 2015 most of them suddenly became very negative about the community in general, the quality of releases and the number of releases. They were still buying the shoes to review them but badmouthing the boutiques and people who had been lining up there. They had nothing positive to say about the shoes and finished most reviews with a statement of intent to sell them. Other videos contained no particular review, just a general rant at their own personal dissatisfaction with the ‘sneaker scene.’

    Nowadays I rarely watch YouTube, I have connected with enough good people on Instagram and they always help me when I have questions. I felt the negativity stemmed from a few reasons, although the negative people would never admit this. I think they expected to get free pairs from boutiques, just because they were putting out reviews. When this didn’t happen, they verbally attacked people in the industry. They were also clearly jealous of youngsters who had managed to get a sought after pair, when nobody had “hooked them up.” Being a sneaker fan for several decades does not entitle you to get everything you want, it means nothing.

    In summary, a lot of people I used to enjoy watching turned out to be chidish and bitter (your key word). Luckily there are still a lot of great people around. Let’s keep enjoying the sneaker game together.

    Liked by 1 person

    • I hear you on that. It has to be tough to review pairs you get for free. I’ve only received a few myself and whether I love them or hate them it can be hard to do. If you fawn all over them then people perceive it as sucking up, but if you hate on them you risk not getting any more pairs. Maybe it is easy to get caught up in the idea of free pairs but at the end of the day is it worth getting 10 crummy pairs just so you can say you did? I’ve had a lot of people tell me I should do the YouTube thing but I can’t decide if it is for me due to a lot of the things you described here.

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  3. Pingback: Move Along (Part II) | SneakerGrandpa

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