The Kicks You Wear, Vol. 36 — It's All-Star Weekend, y'all

It's basically Christmas for the sneaker industry

Good morning! Happy Friday! We made it to the end of the work week, y’all. Thanks so much for giving me a bit of your time this morning. I appreciate y’all so much, man.

Happy Valentine’s Day family! I know it’s a scam of a holiday, but just show somebody you care about some love today. It goes a long way. And if you feel a little lonely, get up, go out and treat yourself. It’ll be worth it!

With that out of the way, let’s jump in!

The evolution of All-Star weekend

(Photo by Sawyer Bengtson on Unsplash)

It’s the middle of February and it’s cold as hell outside so you know what that means — it’s All-Star weekend in the NBA. This year the game is in Chicago.

That means it’s also the most important weekend on the sneaker industry’s calendar. This is when the brands pull out all of the tricks, bells and whistles to try and sell a new product, an image or even up-and-coming endorsees.

  • This all started as a showcase for Nike and Jordan to show of new bred colorways — most notably the Jordan III, IV and V. It morphed into something more as, eventually, Adidas jumped in and, after that, so did everyone else.

  • It all probably peaked in 2012 when Nike dropped the Galaxy Foams and shut everything down.

Since that pivotal moment in sneakers things have really started to change. Shoes made strictly for basketball aren’t as popular as they once were.

As that has become the new reality, brands have also begun to pivot more and more to reflect that. Instead of seeing big on-court releases at this year’s All-Star game, we’re seeing more big drops off the court.

  • The “Monstar” LeBron 17 is the most notable on-court sneaker that will debut this weekend. There are other drops that have come out for on-court shoes, but those haven’t really made headlines.

The most important drops this weekend are all related to streetwear and athleisure. You’ve got Virgil Abloh’s Jordan V, the “New Beginnings” Jordan Pack, the “Unite” AJ3, Adidas’ collection of Superstars, New Balance’s JoeFreshGoods 992s — the list goes on. Not a single one of those will touch a basketball court.

Contrast that to just 10 years ago when the All-Star game was in Dallas and the big news was the LeBron 7, Kobe 7 and KD 2 were the sneaker headlines. The difference is stark.

This turn was bound to happen with the way things in the NBA are now. What players are wearing leading up to the game and after the game has become more important than what they’re wearing during the game. But it’s weird to see when sneakers are so intertwined with sport — specifically basketball.

  • The sneaker game wouldn’t be what it is without basketball and the influence of Michael Jordan. That torch has been carried by LeBron James, who will eventually pass that torch to someone else.

  • When the torch gets passed again, though, it’s going to look completely different. It’s going to be focused on the player off the court and I have no idea what that means for basketball product.

Basketball does have one hope — potentially. And it’s also in a shoe that drops this weekend. The Yeezy Quantum is said to be dropping sometime this weekend but it doesn’t have a specific date.

  • This is the pivot to basketball Kanye West has been talking about for years now. We’re finally seeing it.

  • This is going to be the rarest Yeezy to date, apparently. Only 5,000 pairs will be made available — 1,000 sold in Chicago and 4,000 sold online.

If this shoe is actually used in a game, not only is it a big win for Adidas but it’d be a big win for basketball overall. This will be the first shoe since, maybe, the South Beach LeBron 8 that people will actually be excited about wearing on and off the court.

If that works? You can bet that, shortly after, we’ll probably see a Virgil hoop shoe coming soon after. I’d put money on it.

Good luck copping everything this weekend. You’re definitely going to need it.

The many uses of Augmented Reality in sneakers

Look, y’all! More good tech that is changing sneakers (and our lives) for the better! Maybe it’s not so bad after all?

Augmented reality is going to change the way we buy sneakers and how we share that experience, Jacob Gallagher of the WSJ writes.

Way back when The Kicks You Wear first launched I wrote about GOAT’s new augmented reality feature that was available for some rare kicks.

  • They’ve since expanded that feature to even more shoes and have improved the user experience of it.

  • It includes a ton of rare Jordans, including the Travis Scott 1’s, the Dior AJ1’s and a bunch of others that broke boi’s like me can’t afford.

That’s the fun of the app’s feature. GOAT is banking on people taking screenshots of them wearing the virtual joints and Tweeting it out or posting it to Instagram.

They want that experience to push them to buy other products on the app, Gallagher writes.

[B]y and large sales are secondary for now. GOAT is playing the long game said [GOAT investor Jerry] Lu, hoping that users who download the app to digitially flaunt the Fragment Design Air Jordan 3 sample will also use it to buy actual sneakers down the line.

That’s a very smart approach, without a doubt. But there’s another side to this coin. It’s one that Nike and Adidas have taken advantage of.

  • Instead of just merely having the consumer toy around with the app, they also use the app to find the correct sizing for the consumers. They can virtually try on pairs without the help of a store clerk, which goes a long way.

  • It makes trying on shoes much less of a hassle which, in turn, makes the path to a purchase much easier.

Augmented reality is absolutely going to change the way customers buy shoes — very, very soon. The fact that I can also stunt with some Off-White J’s on and people online probably won’t know the difference is the cherry on top.

Can we seriously get the Dior 1’s out of here

I told y’all when I first saw the Dior 1’s drop that I wasn’t really rolling with them. I have my reasons.

  • First of all, I’m just a general hater when it comes to designer sneakers, specifically. Hated the Prada Adidas. Also hate the Dior 1’s. Why? The price tag is super high for a product that is super duper mid.

  • Second, fam, I didn’t ask for my Jordan swoosh to be displaced and to have a lace pattern on it.

  • Third, the AJ1 is too easy to do right. I'm so disappointed that DIOR, of all places, could not.

Folks, I have been vindicated. Dior Designer Kim Jones packed the Dior 1 along with a bunch of other Jordan 1 colorways for All-Star weekend in Chicago and he made the mistake of actually showing us so we can judge the hell out of this shoe.

Listen, I’m definitely not the purist who believes a classic silhouette like the AJ1 shouldn’t be touched. Nah. Fuck that. Jazz it up as much as you want — but it’s gotta be good.

The Dior joints ain’t.

When you line them up next to classic colorways they just don’t even compare. Yet, there are people who are going to drop endless racks on these just because of the name. That’s not sneaker culture — it’s the furthest thing from it.

We don’t have to live like this, y’all. Stop hyping these. They’re just not it.

Hey y’all I did some things

I don’t normally take the time to share content that I’m featured on here because, well, I write this thing myself. I’m not a guy who generally takes time to gas my stuff up.

But so many of y’all were asking me to write something about SNKRS for forever, so I did. Here’s a taste. Read the rest of it here.

The wild thing about it? Nike knows exactly what it is doing. The company could easily drop more pairs of shoes and every single sneakerhead out there could get one. But that’s not the point. The point is failure — that’s what brings us back. It’s why why we feel the need to enter every drawing and try to get every exclusive sneaker in cart — we want to win. Nike needs me and all the folks like me to go 0-37 so that, on the 38th try when we finally hit, we don’t hesitate to pay. They want me to hop on Twitter and share my dub in a Tweet with all my friends. They’ve taken sneaker shopping and turned it into the thrill of a roulette wheel, and hoo buddy do people love to gamble.

I ALSO hopped on the 1,000 Jumpers Podcast with the the homies Jerrell Leeper and Bobby George. We talked about coming up in the DMV as a sneakerhead and some of the big drops from 2009 to 2012 (GALAXY FOAMS, Y’ALL).

You should listen to it if you’re looking for a pod. Click here for Apple, here for Spotify and here for every damn thing else.


Y’all know the vibes. My favorite part of the newsletter. Here’s what y’all sent in this week, family. As always, you killed it.

The homie Jovan Alford hit us with the Air Max Axis joints. These joints are so low key but SOOOO good.

Big shouts to my Saucony brethren, Dave DuFour.

The homie Dandin hit us with the Mastermind EQT’s. The EQT is a super underrated shoe, man.

JBraze was out here in the Viotech Air Max 90’s. Snappin’.

The Norf Philly legend himself, Tyler Tynes, showed out in the Year of the Dragon KD 4’s. Joints is too cold, G.

Justin Block shut everything down bruh. Let’s all just go home.

Dassit for this week, family. Y’all killed it — yet again.

Issa wrap for this week! Thank you for spending a little bit of time with your boy on this lovely Friday morning.

I hope you have an excellent weekend and I’ll see you on Monday!

Love y’all. As always, peace and love. Be easy. Be kind.

Signing off.

Sykes 💯