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 💯