The Kicks You Wear, Vol. 74 — Democratizing Yeezy is a good thing

Nah, I'm not talking about that tweet.

Good morning, folks! Welcome back to the Kicks You Wear! Thank you for spending a bit of time with me this morning, as always. Appreciate your love.

Because of a mixup I had on Friday, I never got a chance to do our drawing. That’s my fault, y’all. So instead it’ll happen today at 5 p.m. ET. Sorry for the mix up and best of luck tonight!

With that out of the way, let’s dive right in.

More Yeezy, no problem

(Photo by Daen van Beers on Unsplash)

Exclusivity is what made Yeezy take off in 2016. The brand carried shortened supply of every sneaker model and apparel piece they had. The gear would literally sell out in seconds.

That’s all done now. That time feels like an eternity ago. Kanye West’s latest venture with Gap is just the latest example of him steering Yeezy down a more democratized path as a brand.

This had always been West’s goal, as we discussed last week. The initial hype phase was him planting stakes. Now, the tent pole is up. Yeezy is spreading, and that’s positive movement for the brand.

But there are folks who are worried that this philosophy of Yeezy everywhere is diluting the brand’s product. Danny Parisi over at Glossy has more.

While many average consumers rejoiced at how easy it became to get a pair of Yeezys, which normally entered the resale market at over $1,000, some in the sneakerhead communities predicted that it marked the end of Yeezys as a highly hyped sneaker. So much of sneaker culture is built around exclusivity that the fact that West and Adidas had released a popular shoe that sold well was seen as a bad thing for the brand’s long-term hype.

On the surface, this thought makes total sense. The exclusivity factor is what built the brand up. When production increases, that rarity goes away. And when that rarity goes away, resale value drops.

Resale is about “cool.” When resale drops, so does one's standing in the culture. At least that's the general belief.

But that's not the case here. Yes, we’ve seen a well-documented decline on Yeezy resale value over the years — particularly when it comes to the 350 v2, where West has dropped dozens on dozens of different colorways over the years.

But at the same time, this isn’t something that should concern West and Yeezy at all. The narrative that they’ve lost a step or their “cool” factor is misguided.

  • They’ve had no trouble moving other sneaker models, as our friend Justin Gage documented months ago. Pairs are still moving well over retail.

Instead, West is proving that we’ve been looking at this thing the wrong way the entire time. It isn’t exclusivity that makes sneakers or a brand cool. That’s not the only way to create demand.

It’s clearly possible to play both sides. You can establish a place in the hyped space while also having gear that is more generally available.

And, look, this isn’t some novel concept. Nike does this. Jordan Brand does this. It’s exactly how they became what they became. Now, it’s Yeezy and Adidas.

So, in short, if you’re still out here looking to resell some Yeezy stuff, you’re fine. You’ll still be able to cash out on some poor, poor soul.

Kicking ass and changing names

(Photo by Jon Tyson on Unsplash)

For years, people have been begging for the football team in Washington, D.C. to change its name from Redskins — a racial slur aimed at Native Americans — to literally anything else.

Team owner Dan Snyder has refused to do so for decades. That is, until last week.

  • The team announced that it’d be undergoing a “thorough review” of the name as pressure continued to mount for a change.

  • An exact timetable wasn’t given for the change, but The Athletic’s Rhiannon Walker reports it could happen by 2021 at the latest, if not sooner.

Now, in the team statement the organization said they decided to move in this direction for a review as a result of the “recent events in our country and feedback from our community.”

Don’t you believe that for a second. This is happening because they had their pockets rung. Pepsi, Nike, and FedEx (who has naming rights on the team’s stadium) all threatened to pull their sponsor dollars from the organization if they didn’t make a change.

Nike, in particular, pulled the team’s gear off of their website and said it wouldn’t return until the name is changed. That’s a real big deal.

It’s been a long time coming. The team has had this name for nearly a century now — since 1933. It’s a shame that it took a Black man being murdered by police on camera and companies threatening to pull their sponsorships for this to happen, but it happened.

This matters. Why? Because gestures like this reverberate. Shortly after, the Cleveland Indians announced they were changing their name, too.

Nah, this stuff isn’t going to end racism. Any assertions or discussions about that are silly. It’s not exactly what we’ve been asking for. But it’s progress. And any little bit, you take that as a W.

Running BYKE?

Every week it feels like we’re talking about how industries are falling because of coronavirus.

One is on the comeback, though. Performance gear — particularly running — is back en vogue, per Footwear News. Sales for running shoes have been on the up and up for five straight weeks. That’s positive, generally speaking, but in this time? It’s massive.

Running has become a staple for people as gyms remain closed and they try to find ways to stay fit. Performance gear is benefitting from that.

  • Overall, performance running shoe sales have jumped by 30% year over year, according to data from the NPD Group.

  • In particular, Brooks, Hoka One One and On have had massive growth for the past five weeks.

This makes sense, but it’s weird to see. As athleisure gear became more popular, performance gear died down. Now, because of COVID-19, that’s starting to flip.

In the big picture, we don't know if this will continue once coronavirus begins to fade and things start to open back up. If I had to guess? I'd say it won't.

But that’s not even remotely in our foreseeable future right now, unfortunately for us.

I guess at least it’s working out for someone.

You had a .17% chance to cop the Dior AJ1

So many folks were pressed to get a chance to go buy a pair of Dior Jordan 1’s. But, unfortunately, you had almost no shot at buying these.

Like, literally. You BARELY had a chance.

Dior announced that they had 5 million entries to cop a pair of shoes with only 8,500 pairs actually available to the public. Quick mafs have already been done courtesy The Undefeated’s Aaron Dodson and Google.

Listen, if you tried to grab these, you played yourself. Congrats, family. I still love you tho.

There’s always next time! But, also, probably not.

What’s droppin’, bruh

That’s a wrap for Monday! Thank y’all for rocking with me today. I really, really appreciate your time, as always.

Drawing today! I promise we’re getting it done this time. I’m buying somebody some kicks! Stay on the lookout!

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

Signing off.

Sykes 💯