The Kicks You Wear, Vol. 55 — Happy 4/20
Exploring sneaker culture's attachment to the unofficial holiday
|Mike D. Sykes, II||Apr 20|| 2|
Good morning, folks! Welcome back to the Kicks You Wear! Thanks for spending a bit of your Monday morning with me today. Let’s have a great week.
I’d like to give a quick shoutout to all of the folks at SB Nation who were furloughed on Friday. That was the first spot to ever give me a real shot and there are still so many folks still working there who I know and love. My heart goes out to y’all. Hire them if you’re hiring.
In lighter news, we cracked 700 y’all! We’re just 100 subs away from somebody getting some kicks from your boy. Look alive!
Alright, let’s dig in.
Celebrating the Loud sneakers
Weed culture is on the come up. Marijuana is being legalized both medicinally and recreationally around the U.S. That’s why sneaker culture’s embrace of weed has felt as blatant as ever over the last decade — starting particularly with Nike SB.
This year’s 4/20 sneaker(s) feel like some of the most blatant homages to the unofficially official stoner holiday yet. The premier 4/20 sneaker being released today is the reverse Skunk — a retroed twist on 2010’s original Skunk joint.
These are just the tip of the iceberg, though. Nike SB originally planned on dropping the Strawberry Cough Dunk, which is an actual strain of weed. Made for a pretty dope shoe, too. The drop, unfortunately, ended up being delayed.
Weed themed shoes aren’t a new thing for Nike SB. They started dropping weed dunks in 2004 with the OG Hemp pack. Over the years they’ve really leaned in.
They’ve had some real hits. 2010’s Skunk Dunk is widely regarded as the GOAT. The very next year they followed up with the Cheech and Chongs.
From 2018 to 2020 they’ve really been snapping. We’ve seen the White Widows, Walk The Dogs and were supposed to get the Strawberry Coughs — all named after strains of tree. The Skunk Dunk retro is a good replacement.
Nike has probably leaned in a bit more than everyone else over the years, but they’re not the only players in the game. Other brands have jumped in, too.
And, obviously, when talking about OG skater brands like Vans and Huf there are a ton of overtures to weed culture that aren’t hard to see at all.
This doesn’t really seem like much on the surface, but it’s always a good thing to see the stigma of marijuana fading away year after year like this.
Weed has often been weaponized and used against marginalized communities — particularly with black folk. That weaponization has resulted in sometimes massive and often unfair prison sentences for a lot of people.
Don’t get it twisted. Ain’t no pair of shoes changing that. It takes a lot more than that to make a difference. But they do normalize the subject of weed — they make it light. A pair of shoes is a conversation starter. Especially when they look like that. All in all, that’s a good thing.
The Air Yeezy ain’t never being retro’d
Kanye West has a knack for setting the sneaker world ablaze. It happened again earlier this week in an interview with GQ’s Will Welch. You should check out the full interview if you’ve got time — it’s pretty interesting.
The wildest tidbit that came out of it as far as sneakers go was West saying if Nike wanted to retro the Air Yeezy 1 and 2, they could absolutely do that.
Okay here’s another one: Can Nike retro the original Air Yeezy 1 and Air Yeezy 2 sneakers? And if they made a move toward rereleasing them, what would you do?
West: Man, I’m with everything.
What do you mean? You could be okay with that?
West: Man, anything that the kids want and the people want. People should be able to have what they want.
I hate to be the one to burst bubbles but if you had hope for this actually happening you should drop it right now. Of course, that sounds great. But this is absolutely never going to happen for a couple reasons.
Reason #1: Nike won’t let it happen because West is the biggest name in the sneaker industry and working for their biggest competitor.
Retro’ing the Air Yeezys does more for his name and his brand than it does for Nike, which ultimately is not a win.
It also effectively kills the resale value of the Air Yeezy II Red Octobers, which is the most valuable shoe in the secondary market right now. And depressing that value hurts the hype Nike built.
Reason #2: Adidas also won’t let it happen because they’ve got their own Yeezy product to sell and Nike’s Yeezys would get in the way of that.
That’s their name now — not Nike’s. Any Yeezy product with a swoosh on it is a problem. This move would be a Kanye boost, not an Adidas one. There’s a big difference.
Does Kanye want this to happen? Probably. But not for the reasons he’s saying. All of that “the people” stuff? That’s just talk.
At the end of the day, the Air Yeezy is still his most popular product all these years later. Rereleasing these would give him another spotlight, which is never bad thing.
But the reality is that there are too many competing interests here for it to ever happen. So as a result, we’ll probably never see this.
Give Sabrina Ionescu a signature shoe right now
If you haven’t heard about Sabrina Ionescu yet, you will soon. She’s about the be the face of women’s basketball for years to come.
She became the number one overall pick for the New York Liberty in the WNBA draft over the weekend.
Last season, she was the best college basketball player in the country last year at Oregon and broke the NCAA’s career triple double record with 26.
She signed a deal with Nike shortly after being picked by the Liberty. She was initially debating between the swoosh, Puma and Under Armour leading up to the draft, but ultimately chose Nike.
They announced the signing with a “what’s next” tweet.
It’s no secret that Nike, and frankly every other sneaker company, have dropped the ball when it comes to supporting women’s basketball and female athletes as a whole. Especially in the 21st century.
When the WNBA first popped on to the scene in the 90’s, a slew of hoopers got their own signature kicks. Sheryl Swoopes, Lisa Leslie, Chamique Holdsclaw and Rebecca Lobo were a few.
Today? Not a single player in the WNBA has a signature shoe. Not one. Seriously.
Ionescu is the perfect player to reverse that trend. She’s an absolute star both on and off the court. She’s got a big personality and, very obviously, she can hoop with the best of them. She’s got the goods.
It seems like a signature shoe might be part of the plan for Nike, according to a report from Oregon Live.
Terms weren’t disclosed. But one insider told me the compensation package from Nike is the biggest in women’s professional basketball history. The source said, “It puts Sabrina on another planet.”
It’s good to see that they hold her in high regard relative to what they’ve done in the past, but hopefully it’s on a level that props her up the same way a Zion Williamson or a Luka Doncic would be propped up for Jordan Brand in their respective lanes.
Basketball, as a sport, needs that. The people need that. Badly. Hopefully, they allow her to blossom.
The dopest boat shoes I’ve ever seen
And, no, I’m not talking about Sperrys. I’m talking about these special edition Nice Kicks x Reebok Questions. These joints look absolutely incredible. Hat tip to the homie Brody Logan for getting me hip.
Not going to lie to y’all. Allen Iverson’s history as a fisherman is news to me. Looking back, it makes total sense — what else are you going to do out Hampton, after all?
These are dope, though. I haven’t been fishing in years, but if I can get my hands on these AND that tackle box? Guess what I’m finna do. Fish, that’s what.
Anyway, when we get more information on a release date for these I got you covered. Stay tuned.
What’s droppin’, bruh
Nike SB High “Reverse Skunk” (10 a.m., y’all. Remember!) — Monday, April 20
Adidas Nizza Lo RF — Monday, April 20
Extra Butter x adidas SC Premiere “Cableknit” — Tuesday, April 21
Levis x New Balance 1300 — Friday, April 24
Adidas Yeezy 700 “Phosphor” — Friday, April 24
Thanks for spending a bit of time with your boy this morning! I hope you enjoyed it! See you on Friday!
Remember, tell a friend to tell another friend about the Kicks You Wear. We’re well on the way to 800, folks! Get in here now! Join the fun!
As always, peace and love. Be easy. Be well. Be kind.