The Kicks You Wear, Vol. 77 — The Haves and the Have Nots

Class x Sneakers is a weird combo.

Mornin’, folks! Welcome back to the Kicks You Wear. Thank you for rocking with me on this glorious Friday. I hope your week was spectacular!

This Le Cinq entry from Elizabeth Semmelhack, the Creative Director and Senior Curator of Toronto's Bata Shoe Museum, is my favorite piece of content from this week. Her thoughts on gender and sneakers are super fascinating. BTW, the Bata Shoe Museum is open again.

Alright, let’s dive right into it.


The aftermarket just won’t go away

(Photo by Pepi Stojanovski on Unsplash)

When the World Health Organization first announced COVID-19 as a global pandemic, the sneaker industry was expected to collapse. And, honestly, it did.

One thing that has managed to survive, though, is the sneaker industry’s multi-billion dollar aftermarket. Somehow, someway, it’s still thriving.

StockX — the aftermarket leader — dropped its mid-year 2020 financial report, and the numbers from within it are absolutely mind boggling.

By the numbers:

  • StockX had it’s biggest two biggest months in sales for the year in May and June.

  • 18 of their best 20 sales days occurred in the second quarter.

  • The platform’s top 500 shoes saw a 6% increase in price on average with 300 of them seeing some sort of jump after an initial 4% price drop in March when the pandemic started.

With everything that is going on in the world, one would think that the opposite would occur here. The simple principles of supply and demand says it would, right? With people staying home and a double digit unemployment rate looming, it made sense to assume folks would stop spending cash on unessential things such as sneakers.

So that begs the question, who is actually still buying sneakers? In the aftermarket, no less. And how?

Let’s start with the last question. The how. It’s simple Everything is online.

  • StockX, GOAT and other aftermarket spaces operate primarily through the internet, so there was never any foot traffic revenue to lose.

  • The only thing that would be done in person is authentication. And they’ve run into some snafus behind that, but they’ve managed to come out on the other end relatively unscathed.

That first question gets more complicated. The who. This is the most important part. A lot of us assumed that when people lost their jobs, spending on sneakers would die down. Particularly in the aftermarket.

But the people spending money aren’t the same people who have been negatively impacted by coronavirus. The people still spending on the aftermarket are still, mostly, financially secure.

Lets just take a look back at StockX's data. Most of the users on the platform are Gen Z males 24 years old and under — though, the number of 45+ users increased by 30% in the quarter.

Basically, most of them are young. They’re rich. They’ve got money to blow and nothing else to do. Why not buy some Off-Whites?

Sneakers are about access now. And there are generally two ways to get it — you either bot or you have lots of cash on hand to spend above retail on the aftermarket, as we discussed a few weeks ago.

Those people with the cash are the same people who are triggering the secondary market’s growth in the middle of a pandemic. Not the folks who've been laid off.

It’s a case of the haves and the have nots. It’s weird to see. Today, class separates sneaker lovers. To have a certain shoe means you either got lucky or you had the money to spend potentially thousands of dollars on a limited edition release. And, for a lot of people, that's just not possible right now.

For a select few? They're able to do that and then some. That’s why those numbers are steadily growing. The concentration of wealth is holding up an entire growth industry right now.

Huh. What do ya know. Those early stock market comparisons were spot on.


Black at Nike’s blackout

(Photo by Scott Umstattd on Unsplash)

It was just on Monday that we talked about the Black at Nike Instagram account and the horror stories employees of color revealed to the world revealing racism at the company.

By Wednesday night the account was completely scrubbed from Instagram without a trace. None of the posts survived.

Just before it was deleted, it published an Instagram story saying the Women and Nike and LGBT at Nike accounts were also mysteriously removed, saying “in case this account also vanishes, remember…”

Extremely cryptic. The account was removed just as stories about it were beginning to gain traction. It was highlighted by multiple media outlets, including Footwear News, in the days prior to its deletion.

Oddly enough, it was removed just hours after the account owner spoke in an anonymous interview with Nice Kicks about its goals.

“Many have been suffering in silence, alone. Many have been laid off due to retaliation. Many feel like they should just shut up and work, in fear of not being able to thrive in the corporate system. This account is to finally give these people a voice and to share their stories.”

We have no clue what happened to the account or why it was deleted. Nike told Footwear News that they weren’t involved in the deletion. Instagram also told Input Magazine that they didn’t delete it. Something is definitely amiss here.

Either way it’s a shame that these employees are being silenced. Hopefully, soon, the truth of what happens is revealed.


Lupe Fiaso x Virgil Abloh…?

The relationship between Hip Hop culture and sneakers is one that will forever be inseparable. Hip Hop culture birthed sneaker culture. It made it into a thing.

There are times when artists make songs that perfectly capture that ethos into their art. Lupe Fiasco did that and then some with his new single, “SHOES” featuring Virgil Abloh.

Take a listen here.

This song is long as hell — over six minutes. And, initially, I didn’t want to listen to it because of that. But I hit play and was captivated for every single second of it.

Lupe tricks us, man. He’s an absolute master lyricist and a brilliant song writer. The verses he lays are about the joy of a sneaker release he’s at. He’s about to cop up on something he’s been eyeing for a while at a pop up.

But on the bridge, Virgil Abloh is talking through his process of creating a sneaker. At least that’s what we think.

Eventually, by the end of the track, Abloh reveals that he’s describing the shoes Ahmaud Arbery was murdered in. It’s heavy. It’s also absolutely brilliant and puts this game we all love into perspective.

It's definitely worth a listen if you have some time today.

Shoutout Lupe. Glad he’s back rapping again.


STAY AT HOME

It’s always dope to see sneaker culture bringing people together to do actual good in the world. Especially in this time we’re living in.

That’s why it’s so dope to see the movement behind Drü Barros’ Air ThirtyTwo Stay At Home Dunk. The shoe is excellent, first of all. And is exactly what a Dunk should look like.

SB Dunk "Stay Home" - Special Box Auction is OPEN 🥳
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Go to the special box page on airthirtytwo.com for links to @thehyp.co, details, rules, etc.
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Normal box event is at almost $21,000 and still has a WEEK left 👀
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Ready to raise some more $$$ for @givedirectly! Let's GO! 🚀
July 16, 2020

Only two pairs exist and all proceeds are going to GiveDirectly’s COVID-19 relief fund, which is absolutely the best part.

Thehyp is hosting the bid for one. It’s already up to $6,969 (NICE). The best part is, though, that all proceeds from the winning bid are

You can still get in on both pairs.

  • For the special box pair, thehyp is currently hosting a social bid on their site. As of Thursday afternoon, the bid is already up to $6,969 (NICE). The bidding window ends on July 22.

  • For the regular box pair, they’ll be thrown into a raffle. Every $10 donation from a single e-mail counts as a raffle ticket for that person. Basically, if you do 20 $10 donations, that’s 20 entries. If you donate $200, that’s just one entry.

Let’s get it poppin, y’all. Stay at home for charity.


#TheKicksWeWear

Y’ALL ALREADY KNOW THE VIBES. The Kicks We Wear is here! Let’s get right to it.

First, the homie Young Choi came through hot in the Regency Purple AJ 34 lows.

Then the homie Chim hit us with a clean ass pair of the Safari Prestos. These joints look brand new.

The homie Storm came out in some AJ1 lows and I swear she’s about to get me to buy some right now.

The homie Sumeet came through in the Ronnie Fieg Pippens with some HARD socks.

The homie Adrian popped out with some killer 4D Adidas joints. Bruh is balling. Lmao.

The homie Jasmine pulled out the Nasty Yellow Zoom Flys for a walk. LOVE this shoe.

My guy Dandin went out to get the mail in some SB’s lmao.

The Sport Connoisseur popped out in some fresh foams with gum bottoms. Any and everything Foamposite >>>

The homie Kela showed off in the core black 350 v2s. These joints still sitting pretty all these years later.

The Shawns popped out in the Space Hippies and I gotta get me some.

Then the homie Jimmy sent us home in the Overreact ISPA’s and, I gotta say, I’m feeling like I need a pair. SHEESH.

Nah, man. Y'all are 🔥🔥🔥. Good Lord.


That’s all for Friday, family! You could’ve been anywhere in the world today but you’re here reading this. Thanks for rocking with me today. Truly appreciate y’all.

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

Signing off.

Sykes 💯