The Kicks You Wear, Vol. 58 — How not to treat your employees in a pandemic

StockX has to be better

Good morning, folks! Welcome back to the Kicks You Wear! Thank you so much for your time on this glorious Friday morning.

We’re getting closer and closer to 800! I think we’ll hit it in the next week or so! Big shouts to y’all for the support, man. I can’t wait to buy somebody shoes.

By the way, I did a podcast with Alex Kennedy of Hoopshype! We talked about the sneaker industry as it pertains to basketball and its future. It was a great convo. Give it a listen if you have a minute.

With that being said, let’s jump in.

StockX, WYD?…again

(Photo by Erik Mclean on Unsplash)

Talk about digging yourself into a hole with no rope. This pandemic has really done a number on StockX.

Last week, they started charging their customers a 3% “processing” fee. Now, come to find out, they reportedly have their employees operating in totally unsafe work environments, Business Insider’s Shoshy Ciment reports. And some of them have come away with COVID-19.

The details get bad. Really bad.

  • StockX kept its Detroit authentication facility open for an extra day on March 24 despite Michigan’s statewide executive order closing all non-essential businesses.

  • Seven employees in total have tested positive for COVID-19 since then.

  • Two of the employees who have tested positive are confirmed to have worked in authentication centers — one in Detroit and one in New Jersey — despite the company’s new policies aimed at keeping authentication centers safe.

StockX is the sneaker industry’s secondary market leader but they’re really squandering that status. In less than a week, they’ve managed to turn its customers away with mystery fees and they’ve left employees to question the decisions of leadership.

Some StockX employees are legitimately concerned that cofounder Josh Luber and CEO Scott Cutler are prioritizing profit over people. Ciment has more:

"We (Stock-X) are currently part of the problem and not the solution," said a message sent to the company's Slack channel meant for workers to leave questions for Cutler to answer during his briefings, a screenshot of which was viewed by Business Insider. "By having our facilities continue to stay open we are on the wrong side of history."

That is the absolute worst thing an employee can say about management. And whether management believes that to be the case or not, if an employee feels that way then there is a problem. And the evidence, if everything is as alleged, points to that actually being the case.

When everything shut down, we knew the resale market — and StockX as a result — would suffer. And there was nothing to prepare them for this. They’re definitely hurting.

  • They’ve laid off 12% of their workforce and have tried to trim costs just like every other company in America has done.

  • Plus, as Ciment reports, their authentication centers are backed up with product. And that is really the backbone of this company.

With that being said, their decision making throughout this thing has been borderline irresponsible. Forget the processing fees. When you put people’s lives in jeopardy, you’re absolutely crossing a line. When that line is crossed, you can’t go back.

In the bigger picture, this leaves a lot of questions to be asked about StockX’s leadership and some of the decisions they’ve made in recent months. From the processing fee to this to the lack of transparency surrounding the hack at the end of last year. Add all that up and you get a company that people will struggle to trust.

So, sure, StockX is the leader in the secondary market right now. After all this, though? It feels like those days could soon be behind us.

Let me know what you think. Survey time, y’all. Will you continue to use StockX? Let me know by taking this quick survey. We’ll make something out of it.

The numbers are in on Adidas

(Photo by Jia Ye on Unsplash)

Adidas first quarter numbers are back and, as expected, things are not looking too good for the three stripes according to the company’s latest reports.

  • Adidas’ profits are down by 93% after it hit just $70 million in first quarter totals. It projected to hit $285.3 million before things took a turn for the worst.

  • Its sales are also down by 19% with its $5.15 billion total falling shy of the projected $5.26 billion for the quarter.

These numbers aren’t getting better anytime soon. The company is projecting a 40% dip in sales for next quarter, which would double the dip they saw in Q1. More than 70% of its stores are still closed across the globe and there’s no telling when its traffic will return.

  • That e-commerce bubble that we said was going to be a thing? It is. Adidas saw a 35% boost in online sales.

  • But that’s not good enough to offset its losses in foot traffic and brick and mortar spending. They’ve simply lost too much in other areas. It’s impossible to make up the difference.

Adidas won’t be alone here. This is going to become the norm for more companies as they continue to report their numbers as quarters continue to come and go.

There’s no telling when this pandemic will end right now and, even when it does, we don’t know how the consumer will behave. Whatever projections they had? Throw em out the window.

The holy grail of holy grails

We use the term “grail” way too much when it comes to sneakers. In casual conversations, people will ask what your grail is. If you’re like me, you’ll say some obscure Dunk you’ll probably never get or maybe some weird Air Max silhouette from 2005 that you can’t find anymore.

But those aren’t really “grails.” Sure, they’re rare. But a grail? Nah. A grail is something that, in a million years, you’ll never even have a chance to even think about getting.

In honor of episodes 3 & 4 of Michael Jordan’s The Last Dance series, Aaron Goodwin of Goodwin Sports Agency dropped what should actually be considered the “Holy Grail.” One of two pairs of Air Ships made for MJ himself.

Now this, folks, is a grail. This shoe won’t be worn. It is only meant to be marveled at. It is a trophy and what a trophy it is.

This is, maybe, the most legendary shoe in existence. This is the actual shoe that Jordan was “banned” from wearing in the NBA. Nike only made two pairs of these and they were worn by the GOAT himself.

You’ll want to go watch Unbanned on Hulu to learn more about them. It’s definitely worth your time. Then you’ll come back to these and appreciate them even more.

I can’t with this 7-11 Dunk

Now y’all know that whenever I get a chance to cape for the Dunk — literally ANY Dunk — I gladly take the opportunity to do so.

But this? This, I cannot defend. The 7-11 Dunk is a monstrosity and it needs to be sent back wherever it came from.

Honestly, man. We couldn’t do anything better than this? They look like the dude who stands outside the 7-11 on the corner and asks “can you spare a jack?” This is not what I would like to be reminded of when buying a shoe. I’m mad uncomfortable right now.

We couldn’t get busy with some Slurpee flavors? They couldn’t do some sort of candy treatment? They just had to throw the 7-11 logo on the heel? Did they really?

Look, I can barely talk. I love the Ben & Jerry’s Dunk and that’s just about as #HeadAss as this joint. But at least those are colorful! These? These are a dumpster fire.

Keep playing, man. The Dunk will die just as quickly as it came back. These joints ain’t it.


Y’ALL KNOW THE VIBRATIONS. Another week of fire, family.

I kicked us off with these Gyakusou Zoom Flys. And, yes, I flipped the laces.

The homie Jalen jumped in with some clean ass Foamposites. Big shouts to the DMV.

The homie Cealey came through in some incredibly smooth AJ1’s.

The homie Adrian came through decked out in the AJ1 x SB NYC to Paris joints. Man this shoe is creative as hell.

The homie Shawn came through ready for Sunday’s next episode of The Last Dance.

The homie Kirby came in with the Ultra Boost Uncaged and I KNOW this man is hella comfy. Cozy energy >>>

The homie Dandin came through with MORE Gilbert Arenas joints and I’ve never been more jealous as a Wizards fan.

The homie Julian popped out in these Spooky Halloween Kyrie 4’s. This shoe is hard.

Keeping Stock | Sneaker Podcast @keeping_stock
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Michael Sykes, II @MikeDSykes

🚨 KICKS WE WEAR THURSDAYS 🚨 Let's get it! I popped out in the Gyakusou Zoom Fly SPs! Joints is wild comfortable. What y'all wearing today!? #TheKicksWeWear

The homie Mike Golic Jr. came through with the Doernbecher Air Triax ‘96 joints and, fam, this is a perfect shoe.

Our guy Nick popped out in these Yeezy Desert Boots in Salt flavors that are…way better than expected! Next winter, watch out.

And then Greer sent us home in style with the Women’s OG Air Jordan. We stan.

Crushed it, per usual. Good stuff, y’all. Goooooood stuff.

That’s it for Friday, y’all! Thank you so much for sharing a bit of your time with the boy today. I truly, truly appreciate it. Don’t forget to take that survey! Let me know what you’re thinking on StockX.

We’re almost at 800! Somebody is going to get a pair of sneakers soon. Once we hit that mark, I’ve got a couple of special announcements for y’all. You won’t wanna miss it.

Until Monday, family. I’ll talk to you soon. Be safe out here. As always, peace and love. Be easy. Be well. Be kind.

Signing off.

Sykes 💯