The Kicks You Wear, Vol. 22 — Jordan Brand BYKE

Going over Jordan Brand's big rebound and what it means for Nike

Good morning! Welcome to the Kicks You Wear! It’s Friday! We made it through this slog of a week, folks. Hope you got all of your holiday shopping done. I certainly have not.

Today’s shoutout goes to all of us for avoiding Star Wars spoilers for the last couple weeks. Now, let’s go see this damn movie as a family and get it over with. Also, they let me write a bit of Star Wars content at work. Go read it so I don’t get fired plz.

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


Jordan Brand hits a billy

(Photo by Eric Zhu on Unsplash)

It was in KYW Volume 5 that we talked about the ups and downs Jordan Brand has been through over the last few years.

  • Adidas passed Jordan as the second most popular footwear retail brand in the U.S. behind Yeezy’s big surge.

  • Jordan has also struggled to find a new face of the brand as Michael Jordan’s star continues to fade as time goes by.

It seems they’ve rebounded pretty well from all that like we said they would. During Nike’s second quarter earnings call, Jordan was highlighted as a company strength after it reportedly had its first ever billion dollar quarter.

Yes, you read that right. A whole billy. Nike is touting an increased interest from women in the brand as well as a big jump in retail from overseas markets — specifically China.

This is great news for Jordan. It shows that all of the moves they’ve made over the last few years are actually paying off. Over the last couple of years, Jordan has focused on its lifestyle product instead of basketball. It’s working. Let’s review.

  • The brand renewed its emphasis on its biggest streetwear staple in the Jordan 1. It’ll be considered for sneaker of the year again this year off the success of the Cactus Jack AJ1.

  • Women have also been a Jordan focus over the last couple of years. They’ve collaborated with a number of women from Aleali May to Olivia Kim and more to make hit sneakers. Women sales for Jordan Brand were up double digits and climbing0 in April, per CNBC.

  • The big collaborations are finally paying off. Think Travis Scott and Virgil Abloh. Even all of the creatives from the Fearless collection this year or “The Ones” collection last year. People want these shoes again.

This was a successful quarter for Jordan and a come up that has been in the works for a long time. Sustaining it won’t be easy. At its heart, Jordan Brand is still primarily a basketball brand centered around a basketball player. They’ve still yet to find a face to replace him.

The Zion Williamson thing isn’t off to a great start. He’s missed all of the NBA’s regular season so far, but when he played he absolutely looked special. So we’ll see.

The rest of the call wasn’t as rosy:

  • Sales in North America were short. They climbed 5.3% during the period, reaching $3.98 billion just slightly under a projected $4 billion.

  • Nike’s shares fell by 2% after the call despite the rise from Jordan Brand.

Take the good with the bad, I guess.


Beyonce x Adidas from a Beyhive perspective

(Photo by Brianna Santellan on Unsplash)

The following post is by LA Native, sneaker enthusiast and VC expert Greer Engonga (@greerengonga)

We got our first taste of Beyonce’s much anticipated collaboration with Adidas on the cover of January’s issue of Elle Canada.

  • Her partnership with the 3 stripes came after she severed ties with London based Topshop after co-founder Phillip Green was accused of sexual assault. 

  • The piece featured Beyonce in everyday settings like the laundromat, grocery store and hair salon are featured throughout the cover story, alluding to the idea of every day consumers wearing her pieces.

Now let me preface this by saying I’m a card carrying member of the Beyhive. But given what we’ve seen so far, I’m wholly unimpressed.

Let’s start with the shoe.

  • If my eyes aren’t failing me, it’s a platform sole. Automatic no for me, dog. But to elaborate, platform sneakers aren’t functional. Also, will men want to wear platform sneakers? That matters because, in the cover story, Bey made it a point to say this drop will be unisex. 

  • This looks like a Samba shoe. If Adidas wasn’t going to create a brand new silhouette just for Queen Bey a la countless releases with Kanye West and Pharrell, at least experiment with a classic silhouette like the Superstar. Virgil Abloh and Travis Scott have had tons of success following that path. While the Samba is popular in footy circles, it’s on the fringe for me in terms of everyday wear. 

  • I might be nitpicking here, but the color way is too specific. It’s following the thematic color scheme of maroon with orange accents or an off white color with maroon accents. I never want to feel like I have to wear an outfit that dropped with sneakers every time I want to wear the sneakers.

Now, the clothes.

  • While I love the color palette, I don’t see a lot of women just throwing these on. Not in the age of Lululemon, Outdoor Voices and other players in the athleisure space. The beauty of athleisure is you look good and comfortable in the most effortless way. 

  • With the January 18th release date about a month away, I’d love to see some official product shots and have a clearer idea about the price point of every piece. The Hive knows how crucial it is to have your Beyonce money ready. When it comes to performing she has no equal but this space is already ultra competitive.

Ultimately, I can’t see myself buying anything outside of the cargo pants (and that’s a maybe.) I’m still reserving final judgment until late January. 

But most of all what's irked me about this exclusive is the rollout and execution. This is not the standard I hold Bey projects to. Adidas should have devoted more resources and creativity to this opportunity with the greatest living entertainer and a cultural icon. She deserves better.


Sports entry ways are the sneaker industry’s newest ad spaces

(Photo by JC Gellidon on Unsplash)

Arena entry tunnels have become the equivalent of fashion runways for athletes over the last few years. This is where they stunt and show us how rich they are with their Off-White kicks and Gucci sweaters.

It’s also become the newest ad space for the sneaker industry. Particularly companies that dabble in streetwear and the secondary sneaker hype market.

StockX is the latest to jump on the trend. The company signed a multi-year deal with the Cleveland Cavaliers, Front Office Sports reports. The company will have its signage throughout the arena, the visitor and home locker rooms and, last but not least, what I like to call the player’s runway. FOS’s Ed Moran has more.

The most visible element of the partnership will likely be the StockX-branded player arrival path signage for both the Cavs and visiting teams. A prominent creative presence will also appear inside and outside of the visiting team’s locker room. StockX branding will also appear on the walls and lockers throughout – and fans can see StockX on LED signage courtside and throughout the bowl of the arena.

It’s not the only player working the runway. GOAT partnered with the Brooklyn Nets earlier this season and did the same thing.

It might be a double edged sword, though.

  • These companies being there makes sense. They’re selling the products these athletes are wearing. The pitch is this: You want to know where to buy them? Download the app and see.

  • At the same time, people aren’t millionaires like these dudes. There are very specific consumers that are going to buy what they’re selling. Most of them aren’t going to care about StockX or GOAT — some of them might get downright irritated that they’re there.

Get used to seeing this, whether you hate it or love it. It isn’t going anywhere anytime soon. This is only the beginning.

By the way, it isn’t lost on me that Dan Gilbert was part of the group that founded StockX…and now they have a deal with his Cavaliers. That’s interesting.


Take these back, Travis

On Monday I told y’all that Travis Scott was the sneaker superstar of the year. He’s had the best collabs and has had the best run in 2019.

I stand by that. Absolutely I do.

With that said, these ain’t it.

This tweet was perfect.

Those joints are bad. Take them back, Travis. Do better.


#TheKicksWeWear

Let’s close this week out with another good week from #TheKicksWeWear. Lots of heat out there this week.

First, the homie TJ McBride shared Cam Johnson’s KD 4 from the Sun’s trip to Mexico City. Shoutout to the young boy for bringing out the heat.

The homie Shawn P brought out the React Sertu’s this week. I’m so pissed I didn’t cop these.

Not big into cleats, but these Concord joints go crazy.

A bomb fit here from Ross.

Thanks for sharing, as always, y’all! Don’t forget to submit your entries for next week!


One more thing…

Unfortunately for me, I feel as though I’ve let y’all down. I fear that I must now disown my brother, for he committed the cardinal sin of all cardinal sins.

Forgive me for not teaching this boy well enough, y’all. Absolutely never do this. Ever.


Thanks for reading, as always, family! I love y’all! The support has been amazing and we’re only a few months in. I hope y’all are still enjoying things! You can always hit me at mikedsykes@gmail.com to let me know what I can do better or what we’re missing here.

We’re inching closer and closer to 500 subs. Once we hit 400, I’ll tell y’all what we’re doing. You’re going to love it — I swear!

As always, peace and love. Be easy. Be kind. Holla at you Monday.

Signing off.

Sykes 💯