The Kicks You Wear, Vol. 37 — Yeezy's next wave is coming

It's about time.

Good morning, y’all! Happy Monday! It’s President’s Day, so hopefully some of y’all are enjoying a Monday off. Thank you so much for giving me a little bit of that time today! Hope you had a great weekend.

Today’s shoutout goes to Aaron Gordon who SHOULD HAVE WON THE DUNK CONTEST. DON’T @ ME.

With that out of the way, let’s dive in.

Waves don’t die

(Photo by Mark de Jong on Unsplash)

A few months back on this very platform, we explored whether or not Kanye West’s Yeezy empire could potentially be a billion dollar entity by the end of 2019.

It didn’t feel like a plausible thing at the time. Not to say that Yeezy wasn’t on its way to becoming a billion dollar entity, but it felt like it was too soon. There were too many conflicting numbers and the hype had died down with more product available.

Today, things feel quite different. That billion dollar number is still probably a bit of a reach, but for the first time in a a long time it felt like Yeezy had their collective feet on our necks thanks to the debut of the Yeezy Quantum.

People went crazy for these. Folks were chasing them down trying to get pairs while they were giving them out in Chicago’s streets from these weird Sherp trucks.

They had some folks literally giving the shoes off of their feet for pairs. Not just shoes — the FEAR OF GODS, y’all.

All of a sudden, the hype behind Yeezy felt very 2016-ish. We haven’t seen this kind of craze for a shoe in a while — let alone a shoe that was primarily designed for basketball.

All-Star weekend was a big moment for Yeezy and they took a page out of their own book to make it pop.

  • They generated their own hype by cutting supply. Only 5,000 pairs were available throughout the weekend, according to reports, and only in Chicago on THIS weekend.

  • They also had the built in advantage of West building up the hype for this shoe by teasing it for a couple of years. They probably didn’t even need to cut supply.

  • Plus, it’s All-Star weekend — the sneaker industry’s most important weekend of the year. This was Yeezy’s biggest foray, by far, into the weekend.

You add all those things up and that equals an internet chock full of people with bated breath trying to figure out how to get their hands on these joints — myself included.

This is a big deal for Yeezy. For the first time ever, they can now have a product that is premium while also producing enough on the back end to put a Yeezy shoe on the foot of whoever wants one.

That has always been the difference between Yeezy and Jordan Brand — the mark Yeezy has always tried to hit.

  • Jordan has 35 years worth of silhouettes people can go to in a plethora of different colorways — some exclusive, some not. Yeezy has never had that.

  • Now, it’s apparent, they’re building toward it. By no means have they closed that gap. It’ll take a while to get there, but at least the vision is clear.

If you had told me that Kanye West would reinvigorate his brand and his image with a basketball shoe in, like, 2010 I would’ve laughed at you. Now, here we are. Yeezy flipped the industry on it’s head once and now, it seems, he’s going to try and do it again.

First, though, they’ve got to get somebody to actually play well in this shoe. Because Zach LaVine’s 3-point contest showing was, uh — how can I say this nicely — not it. And did Brandon Ingram REALLY play in the All-Star game? I’m kidding…kind of.

What basketball’s sneaker future might look like

(Photo by Nandhu Kumar on Unsplash)

Last week when we were talking about All-Star weekend I told y’all I had no idea what the future of basketball and sneakers looked like.

I think we may be getting a glimpse of it through deals like this one that the Wizards’ rookie Rui Hachimura just did with GOAT.

  • Hachimura, just like Kyle Kuzma, signed a multi-year endorsement deal with GOAT.

  • Hachimura, already a Jordan Brand athlete, will get a chance to dig through GOAT’s virtual crates for old goodies from Jordan Brand plus he’ll have access to their streetwear offerings, too.

I said it before with Kuzma and I’ll say it again — this deal is absolutely brilliant. In 2020, every player should have a deal like this. It’s the perfect companion to go along with the sneaker deals they already have. We should expect it more as we move forward.

  • The look they wear into the arena in the walk-in tunnel is the most important moment now. This is what shows up most on Instagram and gets players noticed.

  • What kicks they bring to the game is secondary. We’re living in a world where no one cares about the latest with the LeBron 17 or what Kyrie Irving’s next signature shoe is going to be. What they do care about, though, is where player X got those dope shoes from that he walked in with.

There are two things we need to watch for from this news. What player will be signing a deal like this next and what brand will jump in on something like this next.

GOAT started a trend, but they certainly won’t be the only ones doing it for long. It’s too much of a layup.

Somebody save Under Armour — plz

(Photo by Jp Valery on Unsplash)

This might be a hot take, and just hear me out on this, but sometimes dying with a sinking ship really isn’t the right way to go.

Somebody should’ve let Under Armour know that years ago when they chose to double down on performance. That’s what they’ve been doing since they had that big explosion in 2016. Guess what? Hasn’t worked.

  • 55% over the last 5 years — that’s how much their stock has dropped, per Yahoo! Finance editor Brian Sozzi. And they’re still sinking. Just last week, their stock dipped by 19%. Big yikes, y’all.

Under Armour has a lot of problems that won’t go away. They’re too busy shuffling so much money around trying to clean up problems that they overlooked during their rise.

They’ve also been so focused on performance that, even if they got that shelf space back, none of it would matter. Their stuff works great! But it looks bad. Case in point: This Gizmodo headline.

  • Under Armour has always been a performance based company that thinks about look second. Competitors like Nike, Adidas and Lululemon, on the other hand, have mastered that combo.

I’ll tell you what, man. Patrik Frisk, the brand’s new CEO, is about to earn every single dollar. Because, MAN, do these problems run deep.

Somebody pour dude a drink. He’s going to need a few.

New Balance loves D.C.

They love the city so much they dropped a 990 in a Mumbo Sauce colorway. This has got to be the dopest thing ever.

  • Come through the city and I’ll buy you some chicken with the extra Mumbo. You’ll never want to leave.

Here’s a look at the shoe along with a Maryland Blue Crab joint that looks just as dope.

Man, it is the coolest thing in the world when brands embrace the regionality of their sneakers. The 990 is absolutely a D.C. staple and it’s great to see New Balance pay homage to the city like this. I will absolutely be copping a pair of the mumbo sauce joints.

Get me hip to some other regional joints. What are some of the shoes folks from your hometown absolutely love to rock? Let your boy know. I’m tryna learn about your culture.

What’s droppin’ bruh

That’s a wrap for Monday, y’all! Thank you so much for your time. Hope you continue to enjoy the holiday and have yourself a kick ass week.

As always, if there’s anything with the newsletter you think I can do better or anything that you feel like I’m missing in terms of coverage, holla at your boy. Bless.

Love y’all. As always, peace and love. Be easy. Be kind.

Signing off.

Sykes 💯

The Kicks You Wear, Vol. 36 — It's All-Star Weekend, y'all

It's basically Christmas for the sneaker industry

Good morning! Happy Friday! We made it to the end of the work week, y’all. Thanks so much for giving me a bit of your time this morning. I appreciate y’all so much, man.

Happy Valentine’s Day family! I know it’s a scam of a holiday, but just show somebody you care about some love today. It goes a long way. And if you feel a little lonely, get up, go out and treat yourself. It’ll be worth it!

With that out of the way, let’s jump in!

The evolution of All-Star weekend

(Photo by Sawyer Bengtson on Unsplash)

It’s the middle of February and it’s cold as hell outside so you know what that means — it’s All-Star weekend in the NBA. This year the game is in Chicago.

That means it’s also the most important weekend on the sneaker industry’s calendar. This is when the brands pull out all of the tricks, bells and whistles to try and sell a new product, an image or even up-and-coming endorsees.

  • This all started as a showcase for Nike and Jordan to show of new bred colorways — most notably the Jordan III, IV and V. It morphed into something more as, eventually, Adidas jumped in and, after that, so did everyone else.

  • It all probably peaked in 2012 when Nike dropped the Galaxy Foams and shut everything down.

Since that pivotal moment in sneakers things have really started to change. Shoes made strictly for basketball aren’t as popular as they once were.

As that has become the new reality, brands have also begun to pivot more and more to reflect that. Instead of seeing big on-court releases at this year’s All-Star game, we’re seeing more big drops off the court.

  • The “Monstar” LeBron 17 is the most notable on-court sneaker that will debut this weekend. There are other drops that have come out for on-court shoes, but those haven’t really made headlines.

The most important drops this weekend are all related to streetwear and athleisure. You’ve got Virgil Abloh’s Jordan V, the “New Beginnings” Jordan Pack, the “Unite” AJ3, Adidas’ collection of Superstars, New Balance’s JoeFreshGoods 992s — the list goes on. Not a single one of those will touch a basketball court.

Contrast that to just 10 years ago when the All-Star game was in Dallas and the big news was the LeBron 7, Kobe 7 and KD 2 were the sneaker headlines. The difference is stark.

This turn was bound to happen with the way things in the NBA are now. What players are wearing leading up to the game and after the game has become more important than what they’re wearing during the game. But it’s weird to see when sneakers are so intertwined with sport — specifically basketball.

  • The sneaker game wouldn’t be what it is without basketball and the influence of Michael Jordan. That torch has been carried by LeBron James, who will eventually pass that torch to someone else.

  • When the torch gets passed again, though, it’s going to look completely different. It’s going to be focused on the player off the court and I have no idea what that means for basketball product.

Basketball does have one hope — potentially. And it’s also in a shoe that drops this weekend. The Yeezy Quantum is said to be dropping sometime this weekend but it doesn’t have a specific date.

  • This is the pivot to basketball Kanye West has been talking about for years now. We’re finally seeing it.

  • This is going to be the rarest Yeezy to date, apparently. Only 5,000 pairs will be made available — 1,000 sold in Chicago and 4,000 sold online.

If this shoe is actually used in a game, not only is it a big win for Adidas but it’d be a big win for basketball overall. This will be the first shoe since, maybe, the South Beach LeBron 8 that people will actually be excited about wearing on and off the court.

If that works? You can bet that, shortly after, we’ll probably see a Virgil hoop shoe coming soon after. I’d put money on it.

Good luck copping everything this weekend. You’re definitely going to need it.

The many uses of Augmented Reality in sneakers

Look, y’all! More good tech that is changing sneakers (and our lives) for the better! Maybe it’s not so bad after all?

Augmented reality is going to change the way we buy sneakers and how we share that experience, Jacob Gallagher of the WSJ writes.

Way back when The Kicks You Wear first launched I wrote about GOAT’s new augmented reality feature that was available for some rare kicks.

  • They’ve since expanded that feature to even more shoes and have improved the user experience of it.

  • It includes a ton of rare Jordans, including the Travis Scott 1’s, the Dior AJ1’s and a bunch of others that broke boi’s like me can’t afford.

That’s the fun of the app’s feature. GOAT is banking on people taking screenshots of them wearing the virtual joints and Tweeting it out or posting it to Instagram.

They want that experience to push them to buy other products on the app, Gallagher writes.

[B]y and large sales are secondary for now. GOAT is playing the long game said [GOAT investor Jerry] Lu, hoping that users who download the app to digitially flaunt the Fragment Design Air Jordan 3 sample will also use it to buy actual sneakers down the line.

That’s a very smart approach, without a doubt. But there’s another side to this coin. It’s one that Nike and Adidas have taken advantage of.

  • Instead of just merely having the consumer toy around with the app, they also use the app to find the correct sizing for the consumers. They can virtually try on pairs without the help of a store clerk, which goes a long way.

  • It makes trying on shoes much less of a hassle which, in turn, makes the path to a purchase much easier.

Augmented reality is absolutely going to change the way customers buy shoes — very, very soon. The fact that I can also stunt with some Off-White J’s on and people online probably won’t know the difference is the cherry on top.

Can we seriously get the Dior 1’s out of here

I told y’all when I first saw the Dior 1’s drop that I wasn’t really rolling with them. I have my reasons.

  • First of all, I’m just a general hater when it comes to designer sneakers, specifically. Hated the Prada Adidas. Also hate the Dior 1’s. Why? The price tag is super high for a product that is super duper mid.

  • Second, fam, I didn’t ask for my Jordan swoosh to be displaced and to have a lace pattern on it.

  • Third, the AJ1 is too easy to do right. I'm so disappointed that DIOR, of all places, could not.

Folks, I have been vindicated. Dior Designer Kim Jones packed the Dior 1 along with a bunch of other Jordan 1 colorways for All-Star weekend in Chicago and he made the mistake of actually showing us so we can judge the hell out of this shoe.

Listen, I’m definitely not the purist who believes a classic silhouette like the AJ1 shouldn’t be touched. Nah. Fuck that. Jazz it up as much as you want — but it’s gotta be good.

The Dior joints ain’t.

When you line them up next to classic colorways they just don’t even compare. Yet, there are people who are going to drop endless racks on these just because of the name. That’s not sneaker culture — it’s the furthest thing from it.

We don’t have to live like this, y’all. Stop hyping these. They’re just not it.

Hey y’all I did some things

I don’t normally take the time to share content that I’m featured on here because, well, I write this thing myself. I’m not a guy who generally takes time to gas my stuff up.

But so many of y’all were asking me to write something about SNKRS for forever, so I did. Here’s a taste. Read the rest of it here.

The wild thing about it? Nike knows exactly what it is doing. The company could easily drop more pairs of shoes and every single sneakerhead out there could get one. But that’s not the point. The point is failure — that’s what brings us back. It’s why why we feel the need to enter every drawing and try to get every exclusive sneaker in cart — we want to win. Nike needs me and all the folks like me to go 0-37 so that, on the 38th try when we finally hit, we don’t hesitate to pay. They want me to hop on Twitter and share my dub in a Tweet with all my friends. They’ve taken sneaker shopping and turned it into the thrill of a roulette wheel, and hoo buddy do people love to gamble.

I ALSO hopped on the 1,000 Jumpers Podcast with the the homies Jerrell Leeper and Bobby George. We talked about coming up in the DMV as a sneakerhead and some of the big drops from 2009 to 2012 (GALAXY FOAMS, Y’ALL).

You should listen to it if you’re looking for a pod. Click here for Apple, here for Spotify and here for every damn thing else.


Y’all know the vibes. My favorite part of the newsletter. Here’s what y’all sent in this week, family. As always, you killed it.

The homie Jovan Alford hit us with the Air Max Axis joints. These joints are so low key but SOOOO good.

Big shouts to my Saucony brethren, Dave DuFour.

The homie Dandin hit us with the Mastermind EQT’s. The EQT is a super underrated shoe, man.

JBraze was out here in the Viotech Air Max 90’s. Snappin’.

The Norf Philly legend himself, Tyler Tynes, showed out in the Year of the Dragon KD 4’s. Joints is too cold, G.

Justin Block shut everything down bruh. Let’s all just go home.

Dassit for this week, family. Y’all killed it — yet again.

Issa wrap for this week! Thank you for spending a little bit of time with your boy on this lovely Friday morning.

I hope you have an excellent weekend and I’ll see you on Monday!

Love y’all. As always, peace and love. Be easy. Be kind.

Signing off.

Sykes 💯

The Kicks You Wear, Vol. 35 — The bots won again

Damn them. Damn them all.

Good morning everyone! Happy Monday! Welcome back to the Kicks You Wear. Thank you so much for giving me a bit of your time to kick off your week. Let’s all go hard and come back on Friday with good stories to tell.

Today’s shoutout goes to everybody who became a D.C. Defenders fan over the weekend along with me. Listen, I ain’t rolling with the XFL too hard. But, as always, it's D.C. or nothing, baby. Is what it is.

Anyways, let’s jump in.

Technology sucked this weekend

(Photo by Alex Knight on Unsplash)

Aight, so I’m assuming that most of us had Saturdays that went something like this:

  • You woke up around 8 or so, checked your clock and realized you had a couple hours until the Strangelove Dunks and the ‘85 Air Jordan 1 drop on SNKRS.

  • You get out of bed, go grab a bit of breakfast, waste a bit of time until 9:40 when you bust out the phone, laptop and/or tablet. You open the app and get ready.

  • 10:00 a.m. hits. The app crashes. You get in line for both after a 6 minute refresh. You take your L’s.

Happy Saturday, Amirite?

The bots really won again. There were so many people who carried out their Saturday disappointed — not because they didn’t get the shoes, but because they didn’t really get a fair chance to buy the shoes.

  • For those of us who don’t know, a bot is an automated computer script that is programmed to complete certain tasks automatically faster than any human online could. In our case, the task is buying up sneakers.

All of the traffic on Nike’s SNKRS app from bots and humans combined added up to a real cluster fuck. As soon as the joints dropped, they both read as sold out immediately. Literally as soon as the clock struck 10:00.

A lot of people complained about Nike and the SNKRS app. The experience, obviously, wasn’t great and the app being buggy didn’t help. But this isn’t a SNKRS problem, y’all. It’s a bot problem.

Strangelove Skateboarding got it worse than SNKRS did. They cancelled their online release outright because bots broke into the web store. People had to actually go to the store for their pairs, which is why lines were looking like 2009 all over again.

It’s bigger than one or two releases. Bots became bigger back in 2016 when Yeezy was in its prime.

  • People programmed them to ensure they’d get a space in line for popular releases that would sell out in seconds behind low supply and high demand.

  • As sneakers have moved further and further into the mainstream and the secondary market has continued to build, bots have become more popular…and also more problematic.

Bots aren’t just a line cutting tactic anymore. We saw it this weekend. They effectively crash customer service systems and we don’t really have that many viable solutions to them. The best one is probably the random drawing system, but bots can get into those and grant people multiple entries. So it’s not a cure-all by any means.

Footlocker is employing an interesting strategy with its FLX rewards program. It combines all of Footlocker’s subsidiaries (Champs, Eastbay, Footaction, etc.) into one entity and allows its members to secure one pair of sneakers per person on big drops.

  • There’s still a multiple e-mail entry work around that can be used. It just might take a bit more time to work out. For that money, though? It’s worth it.

The system is hard to combat right now and with things going as far as they have and businesses actually being impacted, the feds may step in at some point. They did it with the ticket industry. They can do it here.

For once in my life, I feel like calling the feds might be a necessary thing do to.

What the hell am I becoming?!?!?

At the same time, technology can be great too

(Photo by Matthew Feeney on Unsplash)

When I’m not completely terrified about where artificial intelligence is taking us as a society (which is, like, 80% of the time), it actually has some pretty cool uses. One of those cool uses is in sneakers.

Entrupy, an authentication tech company, released its Legit Check Tech solution device last week according to Business Insider. It’s a big, wooden box with eight cameras inside that scan your shoes.

(via Business Insider)

The device comes with a corresponding app that authenticators can use to scan Nike or Adidas shoes to figure out if they’re fakes or not. Its limited to those two brands for now.

Here’s how it works:

  • First, you connect your phone to the app and select the sneaker’s brand — Nike or Adidas.

  • Second, you take a picture of the shoe’s tag.

  • Third, you place each shoe of the pair into the device one at a time starting with the left one first. Then repeat that process for the right.

  • Finally, the device takes pictures of the shoes and scans them. It comes to a determination within a minute or so. Either they come back as verified or they come back as unidentified.

Now, obviously, you don’t need this tech to determine real from fake. You can identify fakes from things like faulty stitching and crafting or the actual smell of a shoe. But using AI certainly might make processes a bit quicker.

Technology like this is going to help prevent big counterfeit shipments from slipping through customs everywhere, which is a pretty dope thing.

Finally, some tech news that we can stan for. More scanning shoes, less scanning faces. This is the good stuff.

Nike is REALLY getting off the hook

Nike, somehow, someway, just keeps dodging hits when it comes to the regulation of high tech runners.

Last week we found that that the World Athletics commission wouldn’t be banning Nike’s Vaporfly — the shoe that’s helping runners bust everybody’s ass left and right —from the Olympic games. Instead of banning it, they temporarily halted the development of any new shoe technology until after the Tokyo Olympics this summer.

Apparently, Nike is also allowed to enter another shoe into the fray — the Air Zoom Alphafly Next%. This is the shoe that Eliud Kipchoge wore to run a full marathon in less than two hours.

Here’s more from Khadeeja Safdar and Rachel Bachman of the Wall Street Journal:

New restrictions introduced last week by track and field’s world governing body didn’t just spare the company’s controversial Vaporfly sneakers from a ban. They also set the requirements at levels that allow the next generation of Nike distance-running shoes to sneak just under the limits.

Nike said its Air Zoom Alphafly Next%, a prototype of which Eliud Kipchoge wore in October to run a marathon in less than two hours, falls within the new requirements. Two of the company’s new designs, which will be released later in the spring, will also likely be eligible for competition before the Tokyo Games, giving Nike’s performance-boosting shoes the broad blessing of international authorities while its rivals scramble to get similar sneakers to market.

This…is weird. Nike is the company that started this whole mess by pushing boundaries — which is fine! But it also seems like no one else is being allowed to catch up, which doesn’t feel fair.

No idea how this all ends up eventually with the ban and everything, but I can assure you this: Nike will dominate Athletics in the Olympics this summer.

Nike’s Air Max City collection is 🔥🔥🔥

Man, listen. I wouldn’t consider myself an Air Max guy. But these joints? I needs em.

Nike is dropping an Air Max 90 for a five cities across the globe — New York, Shanghai, London, Paris, and Tokyo. This is a really solid collection. My favorite joint has to be the Tokyo’s.

I won’t bombard y’all with tweets because your e-mail will go insane if I do, but you can look at the rest of the collection here. They drop on the 10th, so stay sharp.

If I had to rank em, I’d go:

  1. Tokyo

  2. London

  3. New York

  4. Hong Kong

  5. Paris

But, trust me when I say I’d wear all of these joints. Y’all already know how I’m finna give it up this summer. Catch me in them Tokyo’s real soon.

What’s droppin’ bruh

That’s it for Monday, y’all! Thank you so much, as always, for reading and giving me a bit of your time. Sharing my Monday mornings with y’all will never ever ever ever get old.

As always, peace and love. Be easy. Be kind.

Signing off.

Sykes 💯

The Kicks You Wear, Vol. 34 — Women run Jordan Brand

You love to see it.

Good morning, family! Happy Friday! Welcome back to The Kicks You Wear! Thank you for giving me a bit of your time on this glorious Friday morning. As always, I really appreciate it.

Today’s shoutout goes to all the CPA’s out there. It’s wild that tax season is already here, but it is. Make sure y’all get them joints done, fam. I don’t want to see none of y’all getting hemmed up out here like Wesley Snipes.

Y’all bout ready? Let’s get right to it.

The Jumpman is jumping again because of its women

(Photo by Mike Von on Unsplash)

We all remember the hole Jordan Brand was in three years ago when Adidas was still on the rise. They were down bad…really bad.

That’s not the case anymore. We talked about their path to their first billion dollar quarter at the tail end of last year. Apparently, their numbers are still on the rise.

  • Jordan Brand says their growth is up by triple digits for the 2019 fiscal year so far and that they believe there’s still room to grow, according to a report from Forbes’ Tim Newcomb.

  • We take any numbers from a brand with a grain of salt, obviously, until they’re actually available in a report. But it’s clear that, following up from their billion dollar quarter, they’re keeping the pressure on.

Women are fueling their rise. They dedicated themselves to creating new product for their female consumer base at the start of 2018 and are reaping the benefits of it now. Jordan’s women’s division took the necessary steps to go out, listen and then create alongside their consumer base instead of trying to come up with something that just doesn’t work like so many others do.

They took a three-pronged approach to revitalizing their women’s product, per Forbes.

  • They latched on to the classic Air Jordan 1 model and created specific interpretations and colorways exclusively for women. Think about the Satin Shattered Backboard’s, for example.

  • Next, they brought in different female designers to put their specific touch on hits like Olivia Kim with the Pony AJ4 or Aleali May 1’s and 6’s. They allow them to make women exclusives everyone wants — not men exclusives that women have to struggle with sizing to wear.

  • Finally, they retro’d women exclusives including this riffing off the AJ13 that was the first ever Jordan built specifically for women.

It was a brilliant strategy that has very clearly worked really well for them and put them into a position no other brand is in right now — including Nike, it’s parent company.

The reason why it’s working so well is a no brainer. The leadership team for their women’s division is entirely comprised of women. Those women go out and talk to more women about what they want to see. They’re not just throwing stuff at the wall. This is what happens when you hire women and allow them to make decisions for you pertaining to women. Wild concept, I know.

I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again. This isn’t something that’s new. The female consumer base in the sneaker industry has always been there, waiting to be tapped into. That’s all Jordan Brand is doing right now. Salute to them for finally seeing it.

If Jordan Brand can do it, any one can. They hadn’t had a woman design a shoe for their brand until 2010. This kind of leap is unprecedented.

What a difference a decade makes.

Nike jumps in on sustainability

(Photo by Gary Chan on Unsplash)

It’s been a long ass time coming and we’ve been waiting, but it’s finally here. Nike is finally jumping in the ring with a product centered around sustainability.

  • They’re late to the game. As I wrote on Monday, Adidas is expanding its Parley initiative again and has been developing that since 2012.

  • Aside from them, there are a number of other brands who’ve already claimed a stake in the arena including Allbirds, Veja and more. It was only a matter of time before Nike jumped in, but it was a question of when.

They’re here now and the product they’re championing looks absolutely incredible. Introducing the Space Hippie.

These four shoes are made out of literal trash. Nike combined the scraps they leave behind from their design process, recycled plastics, t-shirts and yarn to cobble these together. And, I’ve got to say, they look damn good.

There are four different models with the fourth one (my favorite) being a women’s exclusive. There hasn’t been a release date confirmed just yet but they’ll be available in the spring.

This is groundbreaking for a number of different reasons. No, Nike isn’t the first to dive into sustainability. But as the sneaker industry’s leader, they’re definitely the biggest to do it.

  • It’s not just the fact that this shoe is sustainable. It’s the fact that they changed their whole design process up to do it. This is part of a larger plan Nike created in September to cut emissions and waste.

  • They turned their own scraps into recycled materials, used environmentally friendly factory practices to build them and built a sustainable model. You can read more about that process here.

This isn’t the biggest innovation in sustainability for sneakers and Nike still has a ways to go before they catch Adidas on this, but it’s great to have the two biggest companies in the industry taking a step back and changing their processes for the betterment of the Earth. This is how business should be done.

I’m big on the future of kicks and I think this is honestly what it looks like. The consumer cares more about sustainability than ever and there’s an actual market for something like this.

Obviously, you run into the problem of getting people to move away from the classics. But that’s something everyone has to figure out. Nike starts that process now, which is a great thing for the rest of us.

I can’t wait to cop a pair of these joints.

The best sellers list is here

Y’all know what time it is. The NPD group dropped a new report on the top selling sneakers of 2019 and it's filled with classics.

  • The athletic footwear industry’s growth saw a slight bump in the single digits, with Nike, Jordan Brand and Vans leading the way. Not a jump to be proud of but a jump nonetheless.

  • On the other side, Adidas, Converse, Skechers and Under Armour saw slight declines.

Here are the top 10 sellers from 2019 ranked in the order of dollar amount sold, according to the report from the NPD Group’s Matt Powell.

  1. Nike Air Max 270

  2. Nike Air Force 1 Low

  3. Nike Tanjun

  4. Adidas NMD R1

  5. Air Jordan 4

  6. Adidas Yeezy Boost 350 V2

  7. Vans Ward

  8. Converse Chuck Taylor Low

  9. Air Max 97

  10. Air Jordan 11

Here are some thoughts I had on what made the list and what didn’t.

  • There are a lot of classics on here. The Air Force 1, the Jordan 4, the Air Max 97. The retro game ain’t slowing down anytime soon, champ.

  • I am absolutely shocked that the Jordan 1 did not make this list. It felt like it was the biggest shoe of the year and they had so many different variations of it drop. Maybe it’s a stock thing?

  • Who knew the Air Max 270 would be this much of a hit when it dropped? I certainly did not.

  • Jordan seems to be ahead of Yeezy again. I wonder if that changes for 2020 with new Yeezy models coming along and a big push from Adidas soon.

  • Adidas has to get more sneakers on here. I don’t know if it’ll take lowering price points or pushing more Yeezy, but they’ve got to have more than two shoes on this list.

If you love Dragon Ball Z, you’ll love these

I don’t know if there are any other anime nerds who read this newsletter aside from myself, but fam, I came up on Dragon Ball Z and Naruto.

Anytime I see some shoes with any hint of anime on it, I go crazy. I’m still trying to find away to get some custom Kakashi Dunks — if you know, you know.

Anyway, I stumbled upon these joints while scrolling down my Twitter timeline. They are so fucking good, y’all.

For those of you who aren’t nerds like me, the character on this shoe is Kid Buu — one of the most dastardly, evil characters in the history of mankind according to me. Don’t judge. Buu is literally one of my favorite villains of all time.

Why? Because he just didn’t give a fuck. He can’t speak, really. He doesn’t interact. he just destroys shit. He blew up the Earth well, really, just because. Then proceeded to blow up other planets and terrorize the galaxy.

Like, fam. That’s savage.

Anyway, y’all probably didn’t need that story. I just hope you like those shoes because I love them.

Rest in Peace, Kid Buu. You were a dog, truly.



Not gonna hold y’all. The homie Adrian flexed on us twice this week. Like, bruh.

He pulled out some J’s, too. In the fucking snow. What a boss.

The homie Mike checked in with some 13’s. Stunting.

The homie Bill showed us some love last week with his Lunars.

Nola Darling pulled out the Olivia Kim Mowabbs a couple weeks ago and I had to share. They’re soooooo good.

Last and (honestly?) least, I pulled out my Nathan Bell Zoom Fly’s.

Thank y’all for jumping in on the fun! Y’all really got heat, man.

That’s a wrap for this week! Thanks, as always, for reading. It means a lot to me every single time. If there’s ever anything I’m not covering or if you want to see something you think I’m missing, don’t ever hesitate to let me know!

I love y’all. Stay up. Be blessed this weekend and be safe.

 Be easy. Be kind. Peace and love.

Signing off.

Sykes 💯

The Kicks You Wear, Vol. 33 — Swaggin' out and goin' green

Adidas wants us to have fly environmentally friendly kicks

Gooood morning, y’all! Happy Monday and Happy Black History Month! How was your Super Bowl Sunday? Fantastic, I hope. Welcome back to the Kicks You Wear. Thanks for giving me a bit of your time this Monday.

Big shouts to them Chiefs, fam. What a start to Black History Month. Black quarterbacks are the MVP and the Super Bowl MVP of the NFL at the same time for the first time ever. Year of the black QB, y’all.

With that out the way, let’s dive right in.

Adidas is trying to make going green a cool thing

(Photo by Will Suddreth on Unsplash)

Listen. I don’t know how we got tricked into environmentally friendly things being looked at as some sort of inconvenience, but we did. And it’s dumb.

But that’s all changing now in all walks of life. People are starting to make more environmentally conscious decisions with everything to the cars we drive and clothes we wear all the way down to what we eat. That’s happening in sneakers now, too. People are wearing environmentally friendly brands now.

There’s still another step to take, though. Exclusivity and hype still drive the industry and the shoes that fuel it are the Jordans and Yeezys we chase week after week — stuff we can’t recycle.

Adidas is changing that. For most of the last decade, we’ve seen them do good things through their Parley collection and we got some pretty dope stuff from that. They used hype to make sustainability cool. Now, they want to take it a step further.

“That was the first part of Parley…give sustainability its own feeling of being premium and luxurious and don’t make it this boring ‘Gotta do the right thing’ kind of thing,” James Carnes, the company’s Vice President of Brand Strategy, told me. “The other side is that people want to just go out and buy Stan Smiths. They want it to be easy. That’s the mission that we’re on and you’ll start to see that later this year.”

Adidas introduced that next step last week. They announced their new “Primeblue” and “Primegreen” fabrics that are both made from 100% recyclable polyester.

  • Primeblue is already in use in Adidas’ Parley products. It’s also in the Ultraboost 20 and some of the sustainable uniforms Adidas’ sponsored sports teams are wearing.

  • Primegreen is a step under Primeblue. It doesn’t have the same ocean plastics that are used in the Primeblue but is also made from recycled polyester.

They’re using these new fabrics to stretch its sustainable model out to other products outside of Parley. That means we’ll eventually see it in models we love like the Stan Smith and the Superstar.

  • By the end of the year, 50% of the polyester the company uses will be recylced. By 2024, they’re aiming to push that to 100%.

They’re also bringing back the loop strategy and expanding it to make sure that people are actually recycling their kicks. Remember the Futurecraft loop? More of those are coming soon “but not as quickly as you’d like,” Carnes said.

This is all going to go a long way into addressing the problem we’ve talked about here before — it’s hard to get sneakerheads to move away from their classics. Adidas is solving that by reinventing them. That’s smart.

  • Adidas is making it easy on them. They’re giving them their classics in a sustainable fashion and helping them recycle it. That should get folks to move.

Adidas struggled with the loop strategy before so there will definitely still be some kinks to work out. But this is still a great start and it’s great that they’re starting it now.

And if I can get some recyclable Superstars? I’m all the way in.

This is why sneaker companies were treading lightly on China

(Photo by Ken Lawrence on Unsplash)

It feels like it was years ago now, but remember that NBA and China situation from a few months back? Man, that one got really bad.

We all knew there would be consequences from that tweet and, boy, were there ever. Rockets GM Daryl Morey may have sent the most expensive tweet ever.

  • His blunder ended up costing the league anywhere between $150 million and $200 million, which is a lot of money — even for a multi-billion dollar entity like the NBA.

  • It’s going to impact the way teams do business. Their salary cap projection dropped from $116 million to $115 million and could move again depending on the final numbers that come in in June.

Bringing this back to sneakers, remember how quickly Vans took down Hong Kong protest sneaker art when China complained about it? They were trying to avoid a big hit like the one the NBA took. Luckily for them, the NBA situation was big enough to allow that to blow over. But they still got dinged by China on it.

Companies aren’t trying to lose access to the massive $9.5 billion Chinese sneaker market — plain and simple. It’s not about who is right or wrong or any protests. It’s about money.

That’s a double-edged sword.

  • On one hand, it’s a massive market that will most definitely raise a company’s bottom line. Going back to the NBA’s example, China is one of the main reasons why its profile has risen the way it has in the last decade. Almost every sneaker company has benefitted from that relationship too.

  • On the other hand these same companies can turn into puppets for foreign powers at a moments notice. At best, they try to play both sides of the fence and end up looking worse for it. At worse, they become subservient to a foreign power which is almost always a terrible thing. They keep their money, though.

It’s a tough situation to be in and one I do not envy in the least bit. It’s easy for me to say “do the right thing” but no skin comes off my back for it. But still…do the right thing. All money isn’t good money.

The one thing that also needs to be said is that there are real people fighting for real freedoms over in Hong Kong. That’s the main thing we should be concerned about here. Money comes and goes. Movements live in history forever.

Those protests? Still going on, by the way.

Nike’s Black History Month collection is here

Black History Month is, and will forever and always be, dope as hell. The country, as a whole, gets to celebrate black excellence in history. We should be doing this year round, but y’all already know that.

  • One of my favorite things every year is seeing the different brands’ Black History Month collections they drop to celebrate the month.

Nike gave us a look at their BHM collection to kick things off and, good Lord, does it look amazing. They come out on February 19.

Here’s a better look at the kicks. Here’s the AF1

And here’s the Air Max.

Two pretty damn incredible sneakers, if you ask me. That Max 95 is calling my name. I cannot wait for these to drop.

The Safari Dunks finally have a release date

These dunks have been a thing of mystery. Some of us have questioned whether they were actually going to be a thing or not — I was quietly one of them.

Turns out they’re very real and they’re coming super duper soon. Like, in a month soon. Py_rates says they’re dropping on March 14.

*RELEASE DATE LEAK ALERT*: The @nikesb Dunk Low QS 'Safari' will be dropping on March 14th.
Will you be looking to cop a pair of these? We most definitely will be!
Let us know in the comments below.
#NoMoreSecrets 🏴
January 30, 2020

These are already classics, man. Listen, I know one of y’all have the plug. Please hook your boy up. PLEASE. Lmao.

What’s droppin’ bruh

That’s it for Monday, y’all! Thanks, as always, for reading and continuing to support. I love y’all. Thank you so much for making this thing special.

Thanks for reading, as always! Be easy. Be kind. Peace and love.

Signing off.

Sykes 💯

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