The Kicks You Wear, Vol. 39 — Chasing the AstroDunk

That's a good name for it, right?

Good morning, folks! Happy Monday! Welcome back to the Kicks You Wear. Here’s to a fantastic, productive week for all of us! Let’s make it a good one, y’all.

Today’s shoutout goes to my Animal Planet GOAT, Steve Irwin, who would’ve turned 58 years old over the weekend. Rest in power, my G.

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

Good luck getting Travis’ Dunks y’all

(Photo by Joel Muniz on Unsplash)

Is copping a sneaker without a struggle too much to ask for?

A lot of us won’t get that opportunity with Travis Scott’s Nike SB Dunks. On Saturday, Travis surprised us with a raffle for the kicks on his own site. And, of course, raffle tickets sold out in seconds.

The bad news kept coming. For those of us who slept on the surprise raffle, we thought there’d be an opportunity to cop from Nike on Saturday — you know, the shoe’s actual release date. NOPE. Wrong again.

These won’t be dropping on SNKRS, per Nike.

Instead, you’ve got to hit up your local skate shop to get them. Don’t get me wrong! That’s not a bad thing. As I’ve said before on this platform, going to the store and actually copping something is more often than not the way I’d prefer to handle things like this. And skate shops are actually dope!

But this process is awful. It does a disservice to the consumer in quite a few ways when you think about it.

  • They got Travis Scott to do a drop on his own with just a few hours of warning ahead of the release. Tickets sold out in seconds. Don’t know about you, but I don’t know anyone who got them. (Let me know if you did, by the way.)

  • They only gave us warning a week ahead of time that these would not be dropping on SNKRS like most folks thought they would.

That presents a few problems for people. Instead of just picking up their phone and using the SNKRS app, they’re not scrambling to find a skate shop close to them that could potentially have these online or in store.

Alright, let’s say they find one that has them online. There’s still a risk of #TheBots running amuck in the shop’s web store and ruining the release just like they did with the Strangelove joints a few weeks ago.

  • As wack as SNKRS is at times, it’s far more equipped than a local skate shop’s web store to handle bot traffic. I wouldn’t even bother hopping online.

Okay, fine. Let’s say they sell them in store. Going in store is great sometimes, but you now have to plan an entire Saturday morning around this.

  • They’ve got to locate their nearest shop, arrange travel and get there early enough to get a good spot in line.

  • There are also going to be some folks who simply aren’t close enough to a skate shop to have access. They take L’s before they even have a chance.

  • Even once we get over those factors, there is still the weird, gatekeeper-y stuff skate shops will do to punish hype beasts. Shit like selling with no box. I respect that, but fam, just let people buy the shoes.

Copping this shoe just became so much of a hassle in a number of days. Who knows? Maybe that deters some folks from trying to get it. Maybe that makes folks go harder. I don’t know. It just sucks that this is the case.

It’s also the second time in as many weeks Nike has done this to folks. They did the same thing with Jordan’s New Beginnings pack last week that we thought would drop on the SNKRS app during All-Star weekend.

NOPE. Wrong again. It’s only available in Chicago. “Oh, you’ve been wanting to cop the Air Ship for years now? Well, take your ass to StockX.” Nike, apparently.

Well, anyway, good luck y’all. Because you’re going to need it.

A new era for New Balance

(Photo by Henry & Co. on Unsplash)

For a brand that was out of basketball for years, New Balance sure does seem to know what they’re doing on that side of things.

Kawhi Leonard dropped his first signature shoe — The Kawhi — with the brand after signing on in November of 2018. It looks pretty good, too.

This shoe is the next step for Leonard and New Balance as they try to carve out a niche in the sport. They now have two different basketball products they can go to with Leonard as the biggest pitchman behind both.

  • The Kawhi might be Leonard’s first official signature shoe, but the Omni was created and geared toward him as he became the face of the brand.

  • They’ve also signed a handful of other signature athletes since landing Leonard as their first pitchman. They’re building slowly.

New Balance is in a great position. They’ve got one of the best three or four players in the league nailed down along with a signature shoe and a growing basketball product. It’s a lot like the position Under Armour was in in 2016 when they had their Steph Curry explosion.

They’re in a much better position to actually capitalize on their spot now, though. Why? Because of their independence. They’re not glued to basketball — they still have their lifestyle and athletics catalogs to fall back on. They even use their basketball stars to promote those.

They can think outside of the box with Leonard and the other folks on their roster. The Athletic’s Wosny Lambre has more.

These signings demonstrate a level of risk-taking rarely seen in the sneaker industry and could be the key to New Balance’s future as a leader in the market. It’s here where NB’s independence becomes a pro. The company doesn’t have to operate as conventionally as others and can be extremely nimble in its marketing approach.

How it all plays out in the long run is still pending.

It’ll be hard to come close to Nike or Adidas — both of whom have been dominating the sneaker market for decades. But New Balance is giving itself a shot with the foundation it’s built.

Shouts to them for the attempt. We’ll see how it works out in the end.

How the Coronavirus is impacting sneakers

Y’all be careful out here. I’m not even kidding. This thing is bad, man.

More than 2,100 people have lost their lives to the Coronavirus, which is absolutely the most important thing here. This is a global issue and something that needs to be taken care of before more damage is done.

There are a few cases spread around to multiple countries, including the United States. Here’s more information on it from the CDC. Be informed and stay safe out here.

What is secondary here is how the virus is crippling the sneaker industry — specifically in China where the virus came to be. Stores across the country are shuddering.

By the numbers:

  • Adidas says its business in greater China has dipped by 85% year over year since January 25, per the New York Post, and they’ve also seen dips in traffic from Japan and South Korea.

  • Puma has also closed more than half of its stores in China and expects a huge dip in profits for its first quarter, the Financial Times reports.

  • Under Armour has closed 600 stores in China amid the outbreak, The Baltimore Sun reports, and is expecting to lose between $50 million to $60 million through the first three months of the year because of it.

  • Nike announced that half of their stores in the country have been shuddered because of the virus and expect to take a big hit because of it.

This virus is having very real impacts on the sneaker industry and pretty much everyone doing business in China is expecting to take a big hit.

But the money these big corporations are losing is really an aside to the real story which is — again — that more than 2,100 people have lost their lives to this virus and it’s still spreading.

Hopefully something is done about this sooner than later.

Please, somebody ban Maison Margiela

Maison Margiela is dropping a men’s trainer and, fam, I just don’t know what the hell is happening here. Whoever made this trainer needs to be thrown under a jail somewhere.

This is a high crime — I’d go as far as saying it’s treasonous. To who? I’m not sure. I just know it is.

First of all, I’m not going to say what it looks like is on those shoes. This is a PG-13 newsletter — there are children reading this somewhere, probably. But y’all can put two and two together.

What this is actually supposed to be is some type of candle wax effect, apparently? Which might be even more #headass than what I initially thought was going on here.

I just…nah, man. Somebody gotta do something. I can’t do this anymore.

What’s droppin’, bruh

That’s it for Monday, y’all! Thank you for reading and supporting, as always. Y’all are the best audience I could ever ask for. Kick some ass this week and come tell me about it, family.

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

Signing off.

Sykes 💯