The Kicks You Wear, Vol. 53 — The Croc finally has a competitor

So Yeezy is really doing this, huh?

Good morning, folks! Happy Monday. Welcome back to the Kicks You Wear. I hope you had a fantastic Easter weekend. We’re still well on the way to 800 subs, so let's keep the energy going. Free shoes soon come. Let your friends know! Tell a friend to tell another friend to subscribe to KYW.

Today’s shoutout goes to this dog who could almost certainly be a first round pick in the NFL draft. Somebody get my Eagles on the phone, man. This pooch could help.

Anyway, man, let’s get into it before I start complaining about Nelson Agholor again.

The next step in Yeezy disruption

(Photo by Axel Antas-Bergkvist on Unsplash)

For years now, Crocs have long dominated as a leader in the cozy clog/slipper category. We’ll see how much longer that dominance lasts, though.

Yeezy will soon invade the Croc space. Pictures of the Yeezy Foam Runner leaked late last year, revealing Kanye West’s first real foray into the “cozy” space. When we first saw it, we roasted it for how absolutely ridiculous it looked.

We did that for good reason — they are spectacularly ugly. Look at them. They are hideous. Imagine if a Yeezy 700 v3 was actually a lizard and it shed its skin. The Yeezy Foam Runners is what that skin would look like.

Yet, still, Yeezy is going all-in on them. Several new colorways of the joint have leaked on Instagram already.

They hate me for being different 👨‍🍳😞
March 22, 2020

Roasting this shoe is extremely easy because of the way it looks. That won'tchange. But, from a non-stylistic standpoint? This creation is brilliant. Not becaude of design, but rather because of the role it'll play.

Kanye West wants Yeezy to be more than just exclusive sneakers. He’s always promised a down to earth, accessible product (the irony is palpable, btw). He wants it to be an everyday, everywhere brand. What does that sound like? You guessed it — Crocs. You can wear them anywhere with whatever. It always works.

Crocs have been the go-to in cozy wear nearly two decades now. Whenever you see a similar shoe, you call it a Croc. It’s sort of like the “Band-Aid,” except for it’s a comfortable shoe and not a bandage. People are even (still) calling the Foam Runner the “Yeezy Croc.

Yeezy wants to be a competitor to Crocs in this space like they have been in the lifestyle space for Jordan and Nike. They want to take the space that has, for so long, been dominated by one singular brand and turn it into a competition.

Obviously, it’ll be an uphill battle. But it’s definitely a battle worth fighting.

  • I wrote a bit about Crocs before and how I despise them. But I also wrote about how dominant they were as a footwear staple — especially with Gen Z.

  • Teens love them. They jumped from 19th to 7th in last year’s Taking Stock With Teens survey and revenues were up by 24% last year.

There hasn’t been any real competition for the leader so far and its product is immensely popular. That means it’s the perfect space for disruption, if you ask me.

It seems like West feels the same way. Will Yeezy make a dent? We’ll see.


Gender norms are shifting

(Photo by Steve Johnson on Unsplash)

The need for more unisex shoes in the sneaker market has never been more apparent. Not just because, obviously, more than just men are into sneakers, but also because the norms around gender are evolving.

There’s a drastic reimagining of gender coming, Lisa Kenny of the Harvard Business Review writes, and brands aren’t preparing for it.

More than 12% of millennials identify as transgender or gender non-conforming, she writes, and most millennials believe that gender isn’t a binary concept. That moves forward even further when you discuss Gen Z’s perspective.

Compared to millennials, Gen Z’s views on gender are even more advanced. In the U.S., 56% know someone who uses a gender neutral pronoun and 59% believe forms should include options other than “man” and “woman.” Globally, 25% of Gen Zers expect to change their gender identity at least once during their lifetime.

That’s the future of America. They’re the folks who will have America's purchasing power in the coming years. They set the trends. They are the standard. As their beliefs evolve and advance, so too must the beliefs of the companies looking for their dollars.

Today's modern consumer is belief driven. They want their brands to support causes they believe in. When they don't, they're more reluctant to spend their money with them.

Brands are absolutely going to have to adjust to this.

  • The obvious thing that needs to change in the sneaker industry is sizing. Again, why are the shoes and clothes we wear gendered at all? It doesn’t do anything but limit what underrepresented groups of people can buy.

  • But the less obvious thing here is that these companies need to be prepared to hire these same folks to help them make the proper changes and conform to modern thought. And that’s the biggest thing here.

Will they do that? Only time will tell. Companies have been better about creating unisex options for consumers, but on the hiring front there’s still a ton of work that needs to be done.

J Balvin’s wild (and dope) ass Jordan is delayed

(Via Sole Collector)

Welp. We’ve got yet another coronavirus casualty on the Jordan side of things. Remember the J Balvin collaboration with Jordan Brand that was supposed to drop? It’s been delayed.

Balvin wore it during his set of the Super Bowl halftime performance and people were going crazy over it.

From the look of it, it was probably supposed to drop this summer. Now, it’s pushed back to November, according to a report from Sole Collector.

The coronavirus has pushed a ton of Jordan releases back. The list just keeps getting longer and longer.

And now we can add J Balvin’s AJ1. It stinks to see this getting pushed back, but at least we’ll still (probably?) get it this year. Y’all should expect a lot more of this coming down the line. We’re not quite out of the woods yet.

So I finally bought some shoes…

Well, I made a silent pack with myself to do my very, very, very best to spend my money responsibly so long as we’re quarantined.

I did good for a while, y’all. But then, I saw this tweet about a sale from Sunika and I had to do it. It was just $38! I had to do it.

While I guess it was technically not an irresponsible purchase because of the sale, I’m still feeling a bit of guilt. I probably shouldn’t, though? I don’t know.

My situation got me thinking a bit, though. I’m wondering how many of y’all out there are like me and trying not to spend money on non-essentials.

So I whipped up a quick survey that you can take right here if you want. Just click this link. Let me know how you’ve been navigating this quarantine when it comes to sneakers or anything else related.

If we get enough response, I'll share some of the insights here in the newsletter.


What’s droppin’, bruh

That’s a wrap, y’all! Thanks so much for rolling with your boy and giving me some time today. I appreciate it.

Remember, if you’d like to participate in a survey for Friday’s story, do that here! And tell your friends to subscribe so we can get to 800!

As always, peace and love. Be easy. Be well. Be kind.

Signing off.

Sykes 💯