The Kicks You Wear, Vol. 182 — Having your cake and eating it, too

Nike doesn't want you upset. But it also doesn't want to make more shoes.

What’s good, family! Welcome back to the Kicks You Wear. Thank you so much for rocking with your boy. Appreciate you!

YERBOI made SNKRHUD’s top 10 Adidas on the platform and I am grateful. Big shouts to the homies for the love.

Let’s tap in.

Nike knows what the problem is. They just have to fix it

People are not happy with Nike and the company knows it. It’s just a matter of what they want to do about it. That’s what they need to figure out.

What’s happening: A company presentation reportedly detailing all of it was leaked to Complex earlier this week.

The details:

  • There was an internal meeting held by the swoosh with its SNKRS app at the center of attention.

  • According to Ron Faris, the VP of SNKRS Global, what Nike calls a “fairness rating” among customers is around 20% — meaning 20% of customers think SNKRS is fair. That number should be near 80%, per the report.

  • What’s more, apparently only 7% of demand was met on the app last year despite it increasing by 70%. Didn’t matter, though — users on the app increased by 57%.

None of this is surprising. We’ve all literally seen this playing out in real-time over the span of years. Nike’s most obsessed customers are being alienated by artificial scarcity.

So the question becomes what are they going to do about it? And the answer they think seems to fit is this concept of exclusivity at scale.

There’s that term again — making more of a sneaker but only selling it through exclusive access. It’s the “Dear Summer” Dunks. Faris said this is Nike’s strategy to redefine scarcity and reward its most deserving consumers.

Here’s my thing: I just don’t know if it works. The Off-White Dunk collection showed us how it might not.

And, even still, that doesn’t even begin to break down how Nike’s algorithm selects folks. It feels like a slightly more controlled crapshoot which is the complete opposite of what users want. It’s one thing to play the game but it’s another to do it while taking shots in the dark.

It comes down to this. Nike has an inordinate amount of demand to satisfy and won’t create anywhere near enough supply to quell it. They know you’re mad but they still won’t — instead, they’re incentivizing users to consumer content they may or may not care in order to cop shoes.

  • This is an effort to make the process fun, which sounds great and is something they should absolutely do.

  • But it’d also be way more effective if there was any good will built up here between Nike and the consumer. There doesn’t seem to be.

The bottom line: Nike wants to have its cake and eat it, too. I’m just not sure if that’s possible without making more shoes.

The robots done took our jobs again, y’all

I’m only half-kidding. Poshmark just made headlines by acquiring sneaker authenticator Suede One. They’re integrating the company into its authentication service.

How it works:

  • Suede One will authenticate anything that comes through Poshmark under $500.

  • For anything over, it goes through the same authentication system it did previously.

Here’s the catch: Suede One does its authenticating virtually. So, essentially, anything you get through Poshmark that comes under $500 (which applies to most sneakers), it’ll be authenticated by Suede One’s virtual system.

The system uses machine learning, computer vision, and human review to authenticate sneakers, per Bloomberg. It reviews images of the item and that review is confirmed by a human.

It’s not the first of its kind. There have been primarily virtual authentication systems that have come and gone through the market. They’ve all come with some mixed reviews.

Concerns with this are fair.

  • Part of it is system error but the other part is that replicas are just getting that good. A system is only as good and experienced as its authenticators. As trusty as AI can be sometimes, it can also miss minor details.

  • I also couldn’t find any reviews of Suede One other than the ones on its website.

The other side: This is sort of the direction authentication is going. Everyone isn’t as transparent about it, but AI plays a role in authentication everywhere. Poshmark is just telling you which system they’re using.

Beauty is in the eye of the beholder

What’s the highest retail price I’ve ever paid on a sneaker? That was the question I kept asking myself after seeing the price tag on the JJJJound 990v4 that dropped on Thursday. That $265 price tag hurt me and I wasn’t even buying.

Here’s why it’s that much

  • JJJJound uses premium materials on every collab they touch, which is great. You can look at that shoe and tell it’s quality just from the shades and textures.

  • And it’s also New Balance — prices on 990 series stuff are almost always over $180. Add material upgrades and hefty shipping prices out of Canada and you can get to $300 easy.

But $300? That…that’s a resale price, y’all. I’m sorry. That’s difficult to justify for me.

The bottom line: Someone out there was willing to pay it, though. Obviously. The sneaker sold out. And because of the hefty price tag, people were able to actually buy it with resellers hesitating.

So…maybe this should happen more often.

Lavar Ball gotta chill yo

The simulaton is definitely simulating with this one. Lavar Ball wants you to pay $695 for some chunky Stan Smiths with goofy writing on them.

I feel like I can cop those out of a mall kiosk somewhere. Just…no. Absolutely not. LaMelo’s shoe looks pretty good, though.


Y’ALL ALREADY KNOW WHAT IT IS, FAMILY! The Kicks We Wear coming at you!

The homie Kibry came through fresh in some Busenitz joints. What a look.

My guy Dan entered the chat with the AJ1 Shadows fresh from his son’s bar mitzvah. Absolutely amazing.

My dog Sumeet slid through in some absolute HEATERS with the Fragment x Sacai Waffles. Absolutely fantastic honeymoon kicks.

The homie Greer popped out in the Persian Violet Air Max 90’s and these are just beautiful, y’all. My goodness.

Then the homie Taylor popped out in the DMP 6’s with these fly ass joggers. I gotta get some.

My guy LaRoy was out here putting in the work in the Air Max 90 Duck Camo joints. Very cool colorway.

Then the homie Tommy also popped out at work in the Casablanca 327’s. These joints are so fly.

The homie Dandin popped out in the Doom Foams just repping the DMV proudly, as always.

The homie Midtown Brown jumped out in the ALD 550’s and WHEWWWWW these are special.

And then my guy J Block took us home with the Nigel Sylvester AJ1’s and these joints DO NOT GET ENOUGH LOVE. This is one of the best J’s ever, man. Swear.

SHEEEEEEEEEESH. Y’all really did that, man.

Thank you so much for rocking with me on this, family. Appreciate your time this morning! Special Delivery coming later on today! Big ESPN vibes if you catch my drift. Check us out at noon!

Until next time, family. I’ll holla at you on Monday. Til then, you know the drill. Peace. Love. Be easy, be safe, be kind. And we out.

-Sykes 💯