Sneaker Culture

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Since the day Michael Jordan took to the court in a pair of “Air Jordan’s” the athletic apparel world changed. The world’s perpetual sneaker community has become a large part of American pop culture, business and lifestyle over the years of athletic promotion and expanding sneaker market.

Sneaker brands often credited with being the most popular amongst young adults and adults alike in America are among the likes of Nike, Jordan, Adidas as well as numerous others. The industry proves to be booming as the annual revenue continues to reach remarkable levels with it taking in $30.6 billion according to GQ. Through many different means of advertising and athletic promotion, sneaker companies have been able to skyrocket in terms of economic success.

Popular athletes involved with the sneaker industry are usually professional basketball players that “rock” their name-brand sneakers on the court. When asked about his influences when purchasing sneakers, junior Louis Nicolosi said, “Obviously Jordan and I buy a lot of LeBrons.”

Both Michael Jordan and LeBron James are involved with Nike and act as major images for their sneaker advertisement. The Washington Post states, “ And, perhaps thanks to years of Jordan ads, basketball has become irrevocably linked to what shoe the star is wearing when he makes his jump shot.” Undoubtedly, it is known that athletes lead the way for the success in the sneaker industry.

Aside from being part of mainstream pop culture, sneakers have also taken to the consumer business level. Reselling is a popular means of enterprise amongst “sneakerheads”. Shoes often go for above retail value when they are released therefore sneaker enthusiasts frequently take advantage of this and purchase sneakers for the sake of reselling. It’s become much more prevalent in recent years with the value of sneakers steadily increasing. “Yeah I do it all the time, that’s all I do now” says Louis. Some popular sneakers known to go for ridiculous resale prices include Kanye West’s “Yeezy” collection with Nike and Adidas. The resale price of a pair of Yeezys could reach up to $5,000.

Although it may seem that the sneaker culture has its various ups, the inevitable downside comes in a severe way. Many attempts at robbery have resulted in the death of various individuals over the years. One example would be a teen from Ohio who tried to steal a pair of Jordan’s and was shot and killed in the process. Another shooting happened in Atlanta in 2013. A man tried to hold up people waiting in line for the release of a pair of LeBron James shoes. However one of the people in the crowd took action and fatally shot the would be robber. These kind of events frighten members of the sneaker community and prevent them from wearing certain kinds of sneakers outside. “Quote”

The importance of having having a strong sneaker collection is especially noted with people that camp outside of stores. Whenever a special release is coming to stores such as Foot Locker or Champs, sometimes raffles and ticket orders have to be implemented into the release to maintain a kind of order when the shoe drops. In New York, the extremity of the situation calls into play the NYPD. Several times the New York Police Department has had to cancel the release of popular shoes in order to maintain public safety. One such event happened in 2013 with the launch of the Supreme x Nike Air Foamposite shoes. The Supreme store was shut down and even used mace to control the huge crowd. The popular streetwear website Complex even developed a guide to camping out for sneakers as it has become a very common occurrence in recent years.