The Kicks You Wear, Vol. 49 — Pharrell the GOAT

Examining Pharrell's sneaker history

Good morning, folks! Welcome back to The Kicks You Wear! Let’s get it crackin’ this week, family. I know it’s been a while, but we’re going to have a good one. Let’s make sure of it.

Today’s shoutout goes to y’all for filling out the reader survey I posted in here on Friday. Your voice matters. KYW ain’t nothing without y’all, so I appreciate it. The survey is still open, so if you haven’t done it yet you still can! Just click the link.

With that out the way, let’s dive in.


“See these ice cubes, see these Ice Creams?”

(Photo by Alin Surdu on Unsplash)

The sneaker game today is all about hype collabs. Having a big celebrity influence attached to your sneaker is an instant way to make it click.

You don’t have to look around too hard for examples of this working.

  • Just look at how quickly Beyonce’s Ivy Park or how literally anything Travis Scott touches.

  • Kanye West is probably considered the leader in the space right now — he launched an entire brand out of it, after all. He is, indeed, the peak.

Kanye isn’t the beginning, though. He’s just the aspiration — a model, of sorts. If we’re looking for the real trendsetter here? Look to Virginia's finest, Pharrell Williams.

Pharrell made this work. He gets overlooked in these conversations all the time because he isn’t the one who made it to the peak of the mountain. But he’s the genesis of modern sneaker/superstar collaborations.

Today he’s more known for the work he’s doing with Adidas and the different Human Race collections they’ve dropped.

But Pharrell’s history stretches far beyond Adidas. We have to go back to 2003 to trace his history. That year he and Nigo, the founder of BAPE, launched their streetwear brand Billionaire Boys Club.

From there, they launched Ice Cream as a subsidiary company primarily dedicated to skater kicks. And that’s where Pharrell’s sneaker history begins.

  • They launched a few different models of sneakers theough the original Ice Cream brand. The OG Ice Cream skater model retailed at $200.

  • After successful launch, they landed a Reebok deal and built more affordable models like the Board Flip that went for $75.

Pharrell eventually sold the brand, but bought it back a couple years ago and did a relaunch with some retro’d Ice Cream joints. They’re cold — no pun intended…well, kind of intended.

New ICECREAM Made in Italy, a luxury line that nods to OG ICECREAM designs while producing with high-quality material handmade in Italy. Very limited quantities will be released on 9.15.18. Click the link in our bio to read more. #ICECREAMMadeinItaly
September 12, 2018

From 2003 to 2006 he dropped hits on the chart and on feet. He linked up with BAPE and dropped his own Roadsta in 2006. Hip hop was officially introduced to BAPE.

(via Flight Club)

Pharrell was killing the game back then. His shoes were everywhere. Kids who didn’t even skate were wearing them. Everyone who could get their hands on BAPE did — it was an era that started with him. He changed street fashion.

It’s not a coincidence that Nike signed Kanye West three years later after Pharrell made all of this noise. The possibilities were made crystal clear through Skatebord P’s success. This is the path that he built.

So, when you’re going after that next Travis Scott Dunk or that next Off White drop, you know who to thank for making that all possible.

Yes, Ye pushed the culture forward. But Pharrell created a movement. And it ain’t stopped yet.

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The new Kobe’s are delayed again

(Photo by Ramiro Pianarosa on Unsplash)

There are a lot of you who were looking forward to finally being able to cop a pair of Kobe’s at retail. But it looks like you’re going to have to wait a bit longer.

The Lakers colorway of the Kobe 5 Protro was set to drop next Wednesday on April 1, but Sole Collector is reporting that Nike is holding off on the release once again.

Here’s a look at them.

@antdavis23’s Nike Kobe 5 Protro in the #NBAAllStar Game! #NBAKicks
February 17, 2020

There are a couple possible reasons for the delay.

  • The first is obviously coronavirus. We talked before about the delays and pushbacks we’d see in production with factories in China being shut down over the virus. Some of those are up and running again, though, so this might not be the case.

  • The second is Nike still might not know what direction they want to go in with Kobe’s line — especially since resellers gobbled it up. Coming up with a strategy for the future of the line is imperative.

None of this is confirmed, but given the time we live in these are certainly plausible.

2020 has really thrown everything for a loop. The sneaker industry has never lost a legend like Kobe with such a prominent line and it’s been so long since the world has seen a moment where everything is shut down the way it is.

At this point, it’s just a waiting game. It’ll drop eventually. And when it does, I bet it’ll go quickly.


Giannis’ new signature shoe is…not great

Giannis Anteotkounmpo is probably who most people consider the next guy in line to hold that “best player in the world” mantle besides LeBron James.

That means he’s going to be the ring bearer for the basketball athletic footwear industry for the foreseeable future. That started this year with the Zoom Freak 1 which was his first signature launch with Nike.

  • It had a solid debut with a solid number of players on the college and pro levels wearing it, per Baller Shoes Database.

Giannis is already on to the next. The Zoom Freak 2 is set to drop this June and, uh, it doesn’t look nearly as good. That’s saying something because it’s not like the bar was incredibly high.

Look at this thing.

Nike Zoom Freak 2. You saw it here first 👀
March 28, 2020

It looks like a facsimile of the Kobe VI plastered on top of the LeBron XIII lows. It’s a clunky and low cut which is never really a good combination for a hoop shoe.

It’s important for Nike to get things right with Antetokounmpo because of his status in the landscape.of his sport now and going forward.

Getring it right with him isn't as easy as it seems.

  • Giannis is ostensibly a big man with guard skills — even more so than LeBron James.

  • On the other side, Zion Williamson is the future of Jordan Brand and he has the same problem.

They’re going to have to build cool performance shoes for two big men who will essentially be their top two priorities for the foreseeable future. It’ll be a tall task, to say the least.

Basketball sneakers aren’t cool anymore and, y’all, if this is what their future looks like? They probably won’t be cool again for a while.


If loving these is wrong I don’t want to be right

Look, man. Sometimes collabs are just too much. They’re wholly unnecessary and random. They’re essentially clickbait in sneaker form.

Folks…I’m sorry to say that I have taken the bait on these. Good Lord I don’t know why but I absolutely love these Ben & Jerry’s Dunks.

Fam. I know. It’s ridiculous. I’m dumb. I’m too savvy to be falling for the trap like this. I know I know I know.

But, y’all. Those lace combinations? That rainbow insole? The drip on the swoosh? THAT COWPRINT!?!?! Nah, man. I’m in on these. Y’all got me. Hook, line and sinker. Judge me all you want, but I love these. I will be copping them (READ: Taking an L on them).

It’ll be worth it when I’m stunting this summer — er, uh, whenever they let us back outside — with an ice cream cone while wearing ice cream kicks.

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What’s droppin’, bruh


That’s a wrap for Monday, folks! Thanks so much for spending your time with me today. I truly, truly appreciate it! Y’all really brighten my weeks, man. Especially in this tough time.

Have a fantastic week, family! Don’t forget to fill out that survey if you haven’t already! I’ll holla at y’all Friday. As always, peace and love. Be easy. Be well. Be kind.

Signing off.

Sykes 💯