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.