The Kicks You Wear, Vol. 64 — All of that for a scoop?

Do a kick flip if you want the chunky dunkys

Good morning, folks! Welcome back to the Kicks You Wear! Shoutout to you for making it through this work week. Hopefully, it was a good one.

Big shouts to my guys over at the Award Tour podcast. I hopped on as their first guest to talk about the Last Dance and MJ’s place in sneaker culture. Listen here!

Alright, time to dig in.


Asking for a lot to prove very little

(Photo by chuttersnap on Unsplash)

I don’t know about y’all, but chasing these Chunky Dunky raffles all week long has me straight up exhausted.

Not only were there way too many of them, but it felt like they every single one came with 20 different requirements that you had to pass before you even qualified to enter the raffle.

  • Some required you to be local, which is totally understandable. Skate shops, just like other small businesses, will always prioritize folks who are likely to come back.

  • Some required you to fill out ridiculously detailed Google forms, follow them on every social platform and sign up for their newsletter. Again, fine. Spread your brand. I’m good with that.

But then there were the others. The ones that required you to prove how loyal you were to that skate shop or how down you were with Nike SB, Dunks and, uh, *checks notes* Ben & Jerry’s? Yup, Ben & Jerry’s.

Shops were legitimately asking people for pictures old receipts or old SB’s to prove that they’d purchased from the store before. And that’s only the tip of the iceberg.

Some shops were asking people to do skate tricks on video. Some were asking for people to complete worksheets. My favorite one came from NOTE skate shop in Manchester. They basically said“surprise me, fam.” ¯\_(ツ)_/¯

This is the kind of stuff that makes you want to just quit. It’s already difficult enough to just get the shoe as is with the hype surrounding it. And now I have to literally invent a new skate trick to even qualify to enter the raffle? Please.

Here’s the thing about them making us jump through all of these hoops and hurdles to get these shoes in particular.

  • The idea that we have to prove ourselves for an SB, generally speaking, is asinine. It’s like asking someone to dunk for a pair of Jordans.

  • Plus, this shoe is just a corporate cash grab — the antithesis of what the skate culture these shops are trying to protect was built on. These are no better than the 7-Eleven Dunks. People just happen to think it looks better. Skaters aren't even going to rock with these joints.

  • These obstacles also do no work in assuring that people who want to resell them will get their hands on them, by the way. Which totally defeats the purpose.

This is really just biting your nose off to spite your face. They should be welcoming new customers from across the globe as they try to cop one of the most hyped shoes of the year.

Instead? They’re tossing aside potential customers on a nationwide scale just to prove how down they really are. And that’s unfortunate.

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The Sole Collector app has finally arrived

(Photo by Clem Onojeghuo on Unsplash)

Complex and sneaker culture, for better or worse, have been synonymous for years. Now the two are finally married in one place. Back in November news broke that Complex was creating its own sneaker marketplace.

Well, that marketplace is finally here. Complex launched the Sole Collector marketplace on Tuesday and it’s exactly what we thought it was going to be.

  • Sole Collector has been turned into an all-in-one sneaker marketplace where users can compare sneaker prices on the secondary market through the app and get the same sneaker content they’re used to.

  • Its database currently has nearly 40,000 pairs that you users can find and compare prices on.

  • It also compares prices from GOAT, StockX, Stadium Goods and Flight Club all at once.

The Sole Collector app ends up being less of a direct competitor in the aftermarket and more of a tool that buyers and sellers can use to compare the market on a wider scale across different platforms. And that’s incredibly useful in finding the best deals.

The more interesting part might be the continuation of the content arm of the site.

  • Currently, they have their watch, read and listen sections containing podcasts, videos and writing content.

  • But I wonder about most is what that evolves into. Do we ever see app users create their own content (i.e. a sneaker story situation)? We’ve seen it on a few other platforms and, with Complex’s audience, that could hit hard.

There is one caveat. Right now, this is only available in Apple’s app store. So Android users (like myself) have to wait before we get the full experience.

Either way, this is a great tool. It’s definitely something to keep an eye on in the sneaker world. If this takes off? I bet we see some other sites follow suit.


There’s an outlier?

By and large, companies of all kinds have mostly failed to stay afloat during this time where coronavirus has taken control of everything.

The sneaker industry, in particular, has been hit hard — especially at the top. But there have been a couple of outliers who are actually doing well, NPD Group’s Matt Powell told Footwear News.

Hoka One One and On, two companies focused on running, are on the up and up. Research from the NPD Group indicates that the two actually saw “strong increases” in April while other brands have continued to fall flat.

“For the most part, athletic brands that were outperforming the market before the pandemic continued to do so, and those that underperformed did not improve. Two standout brands in April were Hoka One One and On Running, both of which had strong increases despite the steep declines within the overall market,” The NPD Group senior sports industry adviser Matt Powell said via email. “These running shoe brands also helped the performance category to fare better than the industry — a story we haven’t been able to tell in quite some time.”

There weren’t numbers backing those increases up, so we have to take that with a grain of salt. But there was data on the industry’s decline included.

  • April reached $1.2 billion in sales, which is a 56% decline versus the same period in 2019, according to NPD Group data from Footwear News.

  • Sales for the 12 months ending April 2020 dropped 8% year to year.

It’s a wait and see game for the rest of the industry, but it’s an overall positive for Hoka and On to see positive movement here as two specialization companies. As more people become active and stay at home orders fade away, things could begin to turn around for the rest of the industry. We'll have to wait and see.

All I ask is that all of you stay safe and responsible out there.


Want not need

I wanted to share the dopest thing I’d seen all week here with y’all.

Count The Ding's Nitzan Bluvstein started a relief fund called “Want not Need” to support the at-risk communities during our COVID-19 crisis.

There’s a whole thread and you should absolutely check it out, but the premise basically is that we spend a ton of money on things every day that we don’t really need.

Think about all the things you were buying pre-COVID. Sneakers, coffee, cheeseburgers, whatever. You’re not spending it now. That $5, $10 and $15 adds up into something meaningful. You can take it and put it toward a good cause. Its dope as hell. And here’s more on the goals and where the money goes.

Big shouts to my guy T.J. McBride for sending this my way. I’m finna take some of the money I was going to spend on the Brazils (UGH) and shoot it here.

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#TheKicksWeWear

Y’ALL KNOW THE VIBES. The Kicks We Wear. Coming at ya neck.

The homie Breeze kicked us off with these Glow in the Dark KD 6’s.

Then the homie Chad Jones came through in the Shadow 10’s. Man, these are CRISP, y’all.

My guy Moh came through in a pair of HEATER 997’s. Good Lord.

Big shouts to The Sports Connoisseur for coming through in the Concords. KILLING IT.

Big shouts to PG County! We rep in Jordan 1’s. PG stand up, family!

The homie Jalen came through in the 17’s and, I gotta say, Wizards Jordan era Jordans? They’re actually great.

The homie Adrian came through in the Reigning Champ x Adidas Ultra Boost ATR and our guy is just showing off at this point.

The homie J Block came through in the Skepta 97’s and MAN these are so good.

Then the homie Nick sends us home with the KITH Pink Toe 1700’s. GOOD GOD these are beautiful.

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That’ll do it for Friday! Thank y’all so much for rocking with your boy. Have an amazing, amazing weekend. Tell your friends about The Kicks You Wear!

Until Monday, folks. Y’all know what it is. As always, peace and love. Be easy. Be well. Be kind.

Signing off.

Sykes 💯