The Kicks You Wear, Vol. 13 — Automation finally takes an L

Damn robots.

Good morning! Happy Monday! Welcome to Volume 13 of The Kicks You Wear. Let’s make it a great week.

Today’s shoutout goes to my guy Shawn Muth who was the first person to capture a pair of sneaks using #TheKicksWeWear hashtag. The rest of us are slacking. Follow my guy and let’s get on it this week! We’ll be sharing on Friday.

With introductions out of the way, let’s get into it.

This time the robots are out of a job

(Photo by Matthew Hamilton on Unsplash)

Adidas opened up the first of what they were calling “Speedfactories” four years ago in Germany. It was essentially an automated robotic factory that produced running shoes for the brand.

The goal of the Speedfactories was to hasten production on sneakers for sneakers around the globe, allowing easier access for distribution. They opened up one in Atlanta in 2017 that became fully operational just last year.

Adidas is shutting both of them down by April of next year, the company announced last week.

  • The company said it’d make more sense to concentrate Speedfactory production in Asia where their suppliers already exist and they can cut costs, Quartz reports.

  • So instead of having them globally distributed as originally planed, the Speedfactories will now be used in Vietnam and China.

The Speedfactories had their issues. They could only produce a limited number of Adidas models that were mostly running shoes with knit uppers. Leather joints like the Stan Smith and the Superstar were a no-go.

  • Changing production lines in automated factories is difficult to do as opposed to retraining a human workforce, per TechCrunch.

As great as it is to see robots finally take an L before they rule the world, this is a pretty disappointing development. These Speedfactories have real potential to solve real world problems with human labor.

  • As you know, many of your favorite sneaker and clothing companies are using sweatshop labor to develop their products. That’s inhumane — period.

Speedfactories served as a window into how technology could potentially solve those problems, so seeing this setback isn’t great. There’s still hope for it to work, though, if it’s used properly. All is not lost.

On the other hand, Speefactories might present another issue down the line and we have to acknowledge that. The automation of labor is not a great thing — especially when the alternative is actually paying people fair wages for fair work.

Speedfactories are fine, but they should be used as a means to enhance people’s work — not close them out completely. That, plus fair wages, is the real cure-all here.

Hopefully, Adidas gets things together and makes the work a bit easier for the humans that they employ. Also, hopefully, all of our problematic favorite companies will step their shit up and pay people fairly at some point.

A guy can dream, right?

🌵The Highest in The Room 🌵

(Photo by MEAX on Unsplash)

Travis Scott did numbers, yet again, over the weekend. People were going crazy over the Cactus Jack Air Force 1’s that, by the way, I didn’t have any luck in getting. It doesn’t look like many of you did either.

  • The secondary market went crazy immediately. The volatility on StockX is high with the price going as high as $1,700 and as low as $371. The lowest ask right now is $453.

  • Most of Scott’s shoes are trending in that $400 and up range on the app. Some are still doing big numbers — the high Jordan 1’s last sale was $1,380.

It’s weird to say this, but it feels like Travis Scott is the king of sneakers right now in 2019. People go nuts over these drops from Nike. They sell quick and people are still willing to pay big money for them on the secondary market.

Kanye West and Virgil Abloh still both exist, obviously, and are very important to the culture. But they aren’t exactly the same forces they felt like through 2017 and 2018.

Scott feels like the biggest celebrity name currently attached to a shoe that not only sells big and sells quick but also leaves a long lasting impact on the market. This would’ve been laughable back in 2017 when Scott first dropped.

Scott wasn’t a superstar back when he released his first collaboration with Nike. He was easily a B-level artist when compared to West or even with his fellow Nike contemporaries in Drake and Kendrick Lamar.

  • A side note here: The success Nike is having with Scott may have been reserved for Drake before his deal expired and he flirted with Adidas. Those OVO Raptors flavored Jordan 4’s were supposed to be a big deal.

His star has grown since 2017. He already had stans, but they multiplied when Astroworld dropped. We also can’t forget he got the Kardashian bump through Kylie Jenner.

It’s time to think about what’s next. Scott is only getting bigger in sneakers and music. It’s been a couple of years, so maybe it’s too soon. But I’d expect the Air Astros, or whatever it might be called to be on the way. Scott needs a signature shoe.

He’s a Kanye West disciple and he has a passion for design and fashion. It would be organic and something that’ll set the market off. Maybe not in the same way the Air Yeezys did, but maybe something just underneath that. It’s worth a shot.

Either way, I’m pretty sure we’ll have almost no chance to buy them.

All eyes on Luka Doncic’s feet 👀

We’ve talked about sneaker free agents here before and we have an eye on PJ Tucker’s situation out in Houston. But, right now, the bigger story is what decision the Dallas Maverick’s Luka Doncic will make about his sneaker future.

He was spotted wearing some Jordans a couple nights ago but he’s been wearing Nike’s for most of the season.

Doncic is playing the game the right way. He’s in line for a massive payday from a big brand. Just like Tucker, he’s wearing different models to see what fits best on and off the court.

He signed a deal with Nike two seasons ago playing professionally overseas. That deal expired earlier last month and so did Nike’s first right of refusal so he can sign where he wants with no restrictions.

Signing him now is a big deal for whoever gets him in both the long and short term.

  • Doncic is being talked about as an MVP candidate this season and is putting up historic numbers as a 20 year old. Dude is a flatout star and he’ll be around for the next decade plus.

Brands are going to be chomping at the bit for a chance at him. Could you imagine a Jordan Brand lineup with Doncic and Zion Williamson? Or Adidas with Harden as their top athlete and Doncic as the future. Nike would have crazy pull overseas with Greek sensation Giannis Antetokounmpo and the Slovenian Doncic — neither of which are older than 24 years old.

Keep your eye on this one. Whatever future basketball has in the sneaker culture, Doncic is going to play a part in shaping it wherever he goes.

Colin Kaepernick has a sneaker on the way ✊🏽

What was lost in the fiasco of the Colin Kaepernick tryout the NFL presented to him over the weekend was that, apparently, he’s got an Air Force 1 on the way.

Obviously, a minor detail in the grand scheme. But I’m hype for these, y’all. They’re clean.

Game day fit 🔥You already know #ImwithKap y’all see the kicks
November 17, 2019

I’m never usually here for plain black and white joints, but I’m always riding for Kap and I also enjoy Air Force 1’s. Plus, his logo has a full fro? That is art, fam.

Just give me the date already.

What’s droppin’ bruh

That’ll do it for Monday, y’all! Thanks for giving me a bit of your time today.

Remember, show me #TheKicksWeWear and have your tweet or picture show up in Friday’s newsletter. Let me show some love!

Be easy. Be kind, always. Peace and love.

Signing off.

Sykes 💯