The Kicks You Wear, Vol. 47 — To bot or not to bot

That is the question

Gooood morning, folks! Happy Monday! Welcome back to the Kicks You Wear. Thank you for giving me a bit of your time this Monday morning. I hope you’re all safe and in the best sprits. Sending you my love, family!

Today’s shoutout goes to my homie, Anthony “Sicka Soundz” Howard, who passed away in September of 2018 after a long battle with alcoholism and depression. He was the kindest soul. Tell your family you love them today. Rest in Peace, Sick. Love you, bruh. Today’s newsletter goes out to him.

Y’all bout ready? Let’s jump in.

“You either die a hero or live long enough to be a villain”

(Photo by Valdemaras D. on Unsplash)

So I thought about getting a bot sometime at the end of February. I thought really hard about it, too.

If I’m being honest, it’s something I’ve been thinking about for a while now, even while screaming about how much I hate them on this very platform. That’s honest — I do hate them. But I, just like the rest of you, am so tired of these L’s.

I thought about how I’d do it. “How much would it cost to buy one? Could I just learn how to make one myself?” I eventually let it go because, I thought, “it just wouldn’t feel right,” but the thought was definitely there.

To this day the temptation is still there. The bots keep claiming drop after drop.

  • At some point enough is enough. It wasn’t just that I didn’t have a shot in getting them. The servers on SNKRS and CCS kept crashing so I really didn’t get a chance.

That’s just the sad experience of the sneakerhead in 2020. It’s hard for anyone to get excited about a drop months in advance when you see it surface somewhere on the internet.

The reality of the situation is, that without a bot, you’re probably not getting them. And at a certain point, it becomes a game of “if you can’t beat them, join them.” We’re incentivized to break the rules.

That’s what a conversation with data scientist and Technically author Justin Gage made me realize.

Times have changed. Having bots eat up the drops we love sucks, but that’s the game now. Bots are a thing. Either get with it or get lost — and most of us are the lost.

That part of this stinks. It tacks hundreds of dollars more on the sneaker buying experience that was already expensive to begin with. But, let’s be honest, for hyped pairs you spend that money anyway on the secondary market.

Some of these drops you get lucky. Maybe you break through the cracks or maybe you can find something you were looking at online or in a store — those Dunks will hit skate shops at some point.

But think about what we’re doing to our culture. We’re telling people they have to pay even more just to have a chance at access to an already exclusive thing. That’s not right and that’s not how this thing was intended at all. Bots are the cut line you hate so much at concerts.

It’s kind of like baseball back in the steroid era. Even the greatest hitters had to juice to keep up with folks who already were. To even have a chance at copping a hyped pair, you pretty much need a bot.

So you end up with two choices:

  • You can cave and get a bot — Create one on your own or buy/rent one from someone else.

  • Or you give up on hype — Forget about the Instagram hype and the rush you get when you win a chance to give Nike or whoever else your money. Just buy something else.

I made the second choice. I decided that it wasn’t worth it. It’s hard for me to talk down on what the game has become and then become part of that problem myself — at least to me, anyway. And I feel it’d be a bit of a disservice to you all.

For those of you who made the first choice, no one can blame you. You’re probably right for doing it. That’s just the way the dice roll. Is what it is.

Someday maybe my conscience will be able to handle having a bot. In the meantime, I guess I’ll keep taking these L’s.


This Jordan 4 flopped like we thought it would

(Photo by Brina Blum on Unsplash)

There are times where we fall hook, line and sinker for the tricks that the brands like to play on us when they tap deep into our nostalgia and turn it into a trash product.

I feared that the Volt Jordan 4 that was supposed to be a riff off of the classic Volt Air Max 95 was going to be one of those times. To my surprise — and delight, honestly — we did not.

The shoes were still sitting on SNKRS virtual shelves after 5 p.m. on Saturday when they dropped at 10 a.m. that morning. There wasn’t one size sold out. Since then, some sizes are gone but they’re still sitting for the most part.

That’s a rarity. Even for the worst of Jordan’s shoes normally go quick. It’s Jordan. Not this time, though.

We don’t know exactly why these Jordans were sitting, but I had a few theories.

  • First of all, they’re ugly as all get out. And that’s not the biggest point, but it matters when thinking about these next few points.

  • Second, they’re $225. That shoe is expensive. And no one wants to pay that much for a Jordan shoe riffing off of an Air Max 95 when you can buy the 95 for less and it looks much better.

  • Third, and most importantly, we’re in the middle of a global pandemic. People are not spending money on shoes right now — they have bigger priorities.

  • Four, they aren’t even moving on the secondary market. A bunch of sizes are either at or under retail on StockX, so resellers weren’t in a rush to get these which matters when shoes come off the shelves quickly.

  • Five, they are UGLY and should never have been created.

I don’t know if these move if we’re in normal times, but either way it’s a good thing that they didn’t. It’s good to remind the brands that we’re not easy. We need to reward creativity and these just ain’t it. Somebody needs to get back in the lab and try again.

On second thought…nah, don’t. Whoever made these needs to be jailed.

LeBron grades his own sneaker history

LeBron James has been giving us Instagram live content all week because he’s very clearly bored just like the rest of us.

He broke down his favorite sneakers to us in one of his IG live sessions. Complex cut the session up for us a bit in the name of brevity — don’t know if you’re interested in more Bron-Dad content but there’s plenty on his IG.

James’ favorite shoes from his signature line (not sure if there’s a particular order):

This is probably LeBron’s retro list in all likelihood. We’ve already seen a ton of the Air Zoom Generation already and, this season, the LeBron 7 has made a strong comeback into the zeitgeist after being absent for a decade.

The 8 is my personal favorite and, honestly, everything from there kind of starts snowballing down a hill. Honestly, it looks like LeBron might feel the same way — the only shoe on that list to drop after 2010 is the LeBron 15.

  • The 15 is an interesting choice because they styled the hell out of that one and actively tried to make it cool. I wrote about that back when it happened.

I wonder, at what point, we’re going to start to see a stronger push from Nike on LeBron retros. The easy answer is when he retires, but he’s 35 and we have no idea how long he’ll continue to play (maybe forever???).

The 17 and 18 (whatever that looks like — hopefully not a space boot) will obviously be priorities, but don’t be shocked if we start to see a strong buildup of Bron’s catalog next year starting with some of these models.

What the hell is a Bloarf?


I just wrote about how brands just kind of throw stuff up on a wall and hope we buy it. That’s what this new Yeezy 380 is.

No, I mean, literally it looks like throw up. On a wall. And it sounds like it, too. This colorway is called…bloarf. BLOARF. I’m not kidding — wish I were.

Look. I know Kanye is y’all man. But we cannot have this. Kanye is y’all man, so TALK TO HIM. Somebody needs to fix this. Or at least define it. Again, WHAT IS A BLOARF!?

I was so confused I Googled it to see if there was something real behind this. Maybe there’s some spiritual meaning? Or some next generation color I’m not thinking of?

Here’s the first result on Google, via Urban Dictionary (of course).

WORD. “Only the blessed will find out,” sounds about right. Clearly, I am not blessed.

What’s Droppin’, bruh

That’s it for today! Thank you all so much for quarantine and chilling with The Kicks You Wear today. Stay safe out here. If you’ve got to go in to work, definitely be safe. Tip the folks who are working REALLY good if you can, y’all. They deserve it.

Just a heads up, I’m including a feedback survey in this Friday’s newsletter so I can hear more from you all on how you think the newsletter can improve. So be on the lookout for that.

I’ll holla at y’all later this week! As always, peace and love. Be easy. Be well. Be kind.

Signing off.

Sykes 💯