The Kicks You Wear, Vol. 54 — Figuring out the new normal

Plot twist: Ain't no normal

Gooood morning, folks! Welcome back to the Kicks You Wear! Thanks so much for giving me a bit of your time on this beautiful…er…is it Friday? Yeah, this beautiful Friday.

Today’s shoutout goes to my former Axios colleague Dan Primack and his Pro Rata subscribers who did the Lord’s work this week by raising $150,000 for frontline medical workers in NYC through their Peleton ride. Subscribe to Pro Rata and support my guy.

Tell your friends to subscribe to The Kicks You Wear. We’re at 655 subscribers now — 800 is right there. And that’s when the fun starts! So come on, y’all! Let’s get it.

Y’all bout ready? Here we go.


How we’re all weathering the storm

(Photo by Jason Dent on Unsplash)

So on Monday I told y’all that I bought my first pair of shoes since being quarantined. It felt a bit surreal.

There’s no doubt in my mind that if the country weren’t in the state it’s in, I’d have spent far more on sneakers than I have to this point. I was saving money for “just in case” purposes with coronavirus looming. It’s just hard to know what to expect.

So I was curious about how everyone else was navigating things. To get a grasp on it, I sent out a survey to see if /how much other people’s patterns have changed. 40 of you responded (THANK YOU <3).

Turns out your behaviors have changed — a lot.

  • 55% of you have bought sneakers at some point over the last month since being quarantined, which really surprised me.

  • But only 47.5% of you felt comfortable buying sneakers in the current state of things.

  • Only 7 of you said your spending habits would go back to normal after things are cleared, whenever that may be.

  • A whopping 61% of you said you’ve spent the most money on essentials that include either food or bills. And most of you have limited spending in other areas.

These changes are only natural. This survey was created off the cuff, so it’s not perfect. And the sample, relative to America, is minute. But it does demonstrate the natural change many people are experiencing right now.

People are focused on essential things. Buying food for their families, paying bills, paying rent. Things like sneakers or clothes and other non-necessities aren’t concerns anymore.

We also don’t know when those things will be concerns again. People have no idea when they’ll be able to comfortably afford discretionary expenses again.

And that brings me to my next point. Everyone wants to get back to normal. They want people to go out and work. They want people to go out and spend money. There are already talks about “reopening” the economy as the country tries to ease out of these extreme circumstances.

But the truth is we won’t have a “normal” for a while. The economy’s power source is the hands of the consumer and, for them, normal is a long ways away.

  • Nest eggs built over years are currently being sapped. Companies are folding. Workers are being laid off and furloughed. They’ve got to be careful every step of the way.

  • Even once this thing passes, from a health standpoint, people will have been cooped up in the house for months with limited social interaction. Trepidation will only come naturally.

Whenever things do reopen, it’ll feel so raw. So new. There’s no wave of a magic wand or any magical solution that solves all this. And we shouldn’t expect there to be.

The best thing we can do right now is take our time, save our money and — most importantly — stay healthy. The more we do that, the closer to “normal” we get. If that’s even a thing that exists anymore.

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StockX, WYD?

(Photo by NeONBRAND on Unsplash)

StockX is the leader when it comes to the secondary sneaker market right now. The platform is easily the best secondary market resource available right now. It’s not really close.

That might not matter anymore for some people who were absolutely thrown for a loop yesterday when the company e-mailed its users notifying them of a new 3% processing fee on all sales. Here’s how it works:

  • The processing fee will kick in an extra 3% charge on the final purchase price of an item starting on April 22.

  • The fee is capped at $29.95 in USD. So it can never go over that amount, even if it ends up being less than 3%.

  • If you placed a big on an item before April 22, the fee doesn’t apply. But if you place a bid after? You get the fee.

Naturally, people were not happy about this. Not just because it’s a new fee they have to pay for sneakers, but because it’s being imposed in the midst of a global pandemic. Just look at the replies to this tweet.

I reached out to StockX get more context on the current situation and figure out what the new processing fee would be used for, but didn’t get much more detail.

As our marketplace continues to grow, so do our investments in the platform and the costs required to improve the level of service to StockX customers worldwide. StockX customers are, and always will be, the heart and soul of our company -- this update was put in place to best serve and support the high-touch customer experience…

This is a hard pill to swallow for people both buying and selling shoes — especially during these tough times. It makes it much more difficult to stomach a purchase when you have standard shipping and sales taxes.

The timing of this is just not great. And it’s unclear whether it was something planned or if it’s just to cover costs from losses due to COVID-19.

Either way, it’s a bad look. The competition was clearly ready for it, though.

WELP. ¯\_(ツ)_/¯


Tony Hawk x Vans

It’d be pretty wild for most people if they were still able to skate at 50-something years old. It’d be even wilder if they were so good at skating that they could earn endorsement deals at 50-something years old.

Tony Hawk is not most people. What is wild to us is common for him. Yes, he’s still skating at 51 years old and, yes, he just signed a new deal with Vans returning him to where it all started.

Welcome to the @VansSkate family, @TonyHawk 🏁
April 13, 2020

This isn’t unfamiliar territory for our favorite Birdman. He signed a deal with Lakai a couple years back and his history with Airwalk is well documented. He also made a real run with his own Hawk brand sneakers before Vans moved into the “affordable” space and cleared it off shelves.

It’s dope to see Hawk back in Vans, though. It was the first skater he ever had — he famously tells the story about having to wear them with ankle weights to get high top support.

He was sponsored by Vans, previously, in the late 80’s. And in that iconic Animal Chin picture where the Bones Brigade was doing handplants? Hawk was wearing vans.

It’s a return to the beginning for him and that’s what makes this so cool. And they’re already doing a bunch of cool community stuff in light of COVID-19 through their partnership. Hopefully, there’s a lot more to come.


If Tiger King were sneakers

Don’t roast me, y’all. But I still haven’t watched Tiger King and I probably won’t. I just kind of missed the boat on this one. I do get the general premise, though, and understand the jokes.

So when I saw Sneaker Freaker customized some classic Nikes using Tiger King characters as inspiration I cackled. This is absolutely hilarious. But…honestly? These joints are good! Like, who created these!?

ESPECIALLY these Joe Exotic Air Max 1’s.

Not gonna hold you. Joe Exotic is pretty wild — but I’d still rock these. Can’t lie to y’all. Them Carole Baskin joints are pretty solid, too, to be quite honest.

Somebody make these real. Because I want them.


#TheKicksWeWear

Y’all already know what time it is! The Kicks We Wear, coming at you. Y’all killed it this week, per usual.

First, big shouts to Sumeet and Tash (aka the flyest couple out) for bringing the Jordan heat. The couple that rocks J’s together stays together. It’s an ancient proverb.

The homie Greer brought the Jordan heat too, per usual, with the Game Royals.

The homie Adrian shared his AJ4 art with us. Like, seriously. This picture is art. National Portrait Gallery type shit.

Ruben gave us the Multi-Color AJ1 low on Easter. Bless em.

The homie Chris (who made a Le Cinq appearance this week!) came through with the Jordan Delta SP’s and, you know, they’re actually clean!

The homie JB popped out in the Black Marble Gel Lyte III’s and, boy, these are dope!

OF COURSE Mags still has her foot on our necks. She hit us with the Melody Ehsani Cherry joints this week.

The homie Alex pulled out the Purple Lobsters and I’m convinced this is one of the most beautiful dunks I’ve ever seen.

Our guy Brody hit us with the Tweed Air Max 1’s. So classy.

Then Justin sent us home with the best work I’ve seen yet on the black denim Jordan 4. He SMOKED these, y’all.

Brilliant, y’all. Just brilliant. Pat yourselves on the back.

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That’s a wrap, y’all! Thank you for chilling with me this morning. I hope you have an absolutely amazing weekend.

Don’t forget to tell your friends to subscribe to The Kicks You Wear. We’re almost at 800 subs, and when we get there we’ll have our first of many giveaways. Let’s get it, y’all.

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

Signing off.

Sykes 💯