The Kicks You Wear, Vol. 194 — Your 2022 sneaker industry primer
🎵 Welcome back, welcome back, welcome baaaaaack 🎵
WHAT’S GOOD, FAMILY!? Welcome back to the Kicks You Wear! Thanks so much for rocking with yerboi today.
I hope you were able to bring in the holidays with the people you love safe and sound. I had a pretty solid break. Caught Omarion so I spent New Years in the house, but we were finna do that anyway. So. Luckily we’re vaxxed and boosted so all is well. Now, it’s on to wedding planning 🥴. Wish Jasmine luck.
Alright, let’s dive in.
Your 2022 primer for the sneaker world
If you thought 2021 was pretty hectic for the sneaker industry, you’d better buckle up for 2022. I know everyone says that about everything when the new year comes around, but for sneakers? It’s really about to get pretty crazy.
Think about the moment in time we’re in. This multi-billion dollar sneaker industry that we’ve only seen and heard messages of growth about is fertile ground for disruption.
We’ve got the industry’s flagship company worried about how tight their grip on the consumer actually is.
Meanwhile, we’re still living in the middle of a global pandemic where there’s a massive labor shortage and every link on the supply chain feels like a weak one.
And don’t forget that more than half the major companies have shifted into the metaverse already and are only planning on diving deeper.
So, yeah. 2022. It’s about to get pretty crazy. I’ve got four things for you — one thing I think, one thing I know, one thing I hope and one thing that needs to happen. Let’s dive in.
I think…we are due for a cool off
2021 was an incredibly busy year in the footwear industry — not just for the brands, but for us, too.
There were lots of shoes to buy. I know I copped at least 30 pairs myself, which is probably on the low side for many folks. But it felt like every single weekend there was a new hyped pair coming down the line.
I don’t think we see that this year. We’re already seeing the change.
Have you all noticed how quiet it’s been to start 2022 so far? We’ve only gotten teasers of big projects coming from a few brands.
The most hyped drop we’ve had so far has been…the Red Thunder 4’s? Outside of that, the biggest drops are further out.
Be smart: This is intentional. First of all, we’re still in that post-holiday malaise. Nike and them know we broke right now. They broke us. And there was a ton of money spent last year. People are building up liquid cash again.
On top of that the supply chain chaos at the end of 2021 was real. The shipping delays we saw were nuts — particularly during that holiday period. Both retailers and manufacturers were struggling to guarantee shipping dates.
That’s not getting any better this year. At least not early. You add all that together and I think we get a year where these companies are a tiny bit less eager to bombard us with product this year. Just a tiny bit.
Your wallet will certainly be thankful.
I know…the Metaverse will play a big part in the industry for 2022
Yes, this is the part where we talk about the Metaverse. Look, I know y’all are tired of hearing about this. I’m sort of tired of it, too, even though it is interesting. You can only talk so much before things wear thin on you.
But here’s the thing: We can’t talk about sneakers in 2022 without bringing up the Metaverse and Web3. It’s already happening.
We’ve talked about Nike’s and Adidas’ early explorations into this stuff. Nike with Roblox and RTFKT and Adidas with Sandbox and their really weird POAP launch.
Under Armour is here, too, with the Curry 9 Flow in the form of an NFT.
Can’t forget Reebok and A$AP Nast’s NFT collection launched with RFOX.
This stuff is very clearly here to stay both. But…I don’t think anyone is doing things particularly well at this point.
Let’s be honest. Most of what we’ve heard so far when we follow discussions surrounding brands and Web3 are theoretical conversations about how it can work. What it could be someday and the opportunities it’ll afford creators.
To be clear, in some cases things are already in motion. There are plenty of creatives out there who are using this vast new world to their advantage. But that’s not the big wigs like Nike, Adidas and the like.
So I’m eager to see exactly how concepts like digital tracking of ownership and virtual peer-to-peer worlds for consumers to buy, sell and trade are actually applied.
It’s coming. And it’s coming soon. We’re going to be right on top of it when it gets here.
I hope…Kanye West sticks to his plan with Yeezy x GAP
Kanye West and Yeezy always seem to have some pretty big plans. The biggest thing for 2022, obviously, is Yeezy x GAP. It’s supposed to be the boon for his “Yeezy for everybody” plan. I just don’t know how the latest collab fits into that.
Balenci, balenci, balenci: Ye added another wrinkle to thinks. Balenciaga is coming to GAP with Yeezy.
Balenciaga stylings should be expected to show up in GAP stores in late 2022 along with Yeezy, according to Footwear News.
That’s a pretty major development. It’s big for Yeezy, it’s big for GAP and it’s big for Balenciaga. There’s sure to be lots of money made off of this. But… how does this fit into the “Yeezy for everybody” visions?
It’s Balenciaga. I don’t have to tell y’all what sort of brand this is. It’s all about exclusivity.
So it’s fair to wonder whether that original plan has been pushed to the side a bit with this latest news hear. If so, that’d be incredibly disappointing.
This is a weird layer to what has already been a weird collaboration between Yeezy and GAP. So far, all we’ve really gotten is a weird rounded puffer, some hoodies and, well, this.
We’ll see how it all works out.
P.S. … Speaking of Kanye, here are the kids at Donda Academy playing ball in Yeezy 500’s. Not QNTMs. The 500’s.
Pray for their ankles, y’all.
We need…to get back to GR life
Collab fatigue was a real thing last year. We saw so many of them coming week after week after week.
We need less of that this year. More good general release shoes. Please, I’m begging at this point.
Collabs are fine. But they’re also inherently going to be scarce. They’re going to be hyped because it’s supposed to be a special one-off. That’s what a collaboration is, after all — two sides coming together to make magic.
But we don’t need that all the time. And the more of it we get, the less special collabs actually become. Good, quality GR’s balance that out. They satisfy the consumer without having to place a special mark on a shoe each and every time.
This is why New Balance has had such a successful run over the last couple years. Their GR’s are quality and they’re also not very hard to find at all.
This isn’t to say collabs are going anywhere. They’re definitely not. I won’t be shocked if we see a quadruple collab at some point this year.
But the hopefully we can balance that out a bit with some good, regular ass shoes. And they don’t have to look like aliens, either.
What’s droppin, bruh?
Adidas Superturf Adventure — Monday, January 10
Air Jordan 1 Low “Bred Toe” — Thursday, January 13
Adidas x Prada Forum Low — Thursday, January 13
Adidas Gil Zero Restomod “UNDRCRWN” — Friday, January 14
Jordan 4 “Red Thunder” — Saturday, January 15
That’s a wrap for today, fam! Thank y’all so much for rocking with me today. Happy New Year! 2022 is going to be a fantastic one.
Let’s chat again on Wednesday. Til then, fam. Peace. Love. Be easy. Be safe. Be kind. And we out.