When you hear the term sneakerhead or sneaker community, something such as shoes, brands, or etc. usually comes to mind. Let me show you, from my experience, what exactly it is to be a sneakerhead.
The definition of sneakerhead is a person who collects, trades, and admires sneaker shoes in the form of a hobby. A lot of these people spend time studying certain categories or the history of sneakers. They also invest a great deal of money to obtain those shoes.
Firstly, let’s talk about the history of the sneaker community. It has been around since brands began to associate athletes with particular shoe styles. In the 1970’s, the best New York City street ballers had the coolest and rarest shoes, which were supplied by the brands. Serious collecting started with the first Jordan shoe, banned by the NBA. Other brands entered the act by signing players and creating special shoes just for them. Later, when Nike began re-issuing “retro” Jordan’s, new and old collectors sought to start or fill in collections. From then, sneaker collecting was off to the races, which created a big community for these popular shoes that is still continuing now.
Secondly, I was introduced to this concept by a friend. I started falling in love with it though there were negative aspects that came with the positive. Some of the positive aspects are that you can obtain a lot of cool looking shoes, trade them with others, or you could even resell them for a higher price due to the demand of the market. This is caused by companies, such as Nike or Adidas, who stock special shoes in limited quantities. This is why when they put certain shoes on a website, a lot of people want them. On the other hand, the negative aspects of the community is that some people who resell the shoes, called scalpers, want to cheat the system by buying bots and softwares that can buy a huge amount of shoes automatically when they drop in the market website. This causes many to be upset, myself included, because they can’t buy the type of shoes they want at retail price, causing them to buy them at a higher resale price. This causes unnecessary chaos in the sneaker community.
Thirdly, to buy limited supply shoes at retail price, you have to be fast and fully prepared for it. For instance, if Nike releases an Air Jordan 1 Travis Scott on SNKRS (an app) at seven o’ clock, I have to wake up early before that and wait until the right time to claim them. Sadly, the chances of getting a pair is pretty low, maybe like 20-25%. There is a lot of competition to beat; I have to compete with others and even robots. Rarely, I get lucky and successfully obtain some of them. It’s like fishing but with shoes. Sometimes you can get a lot of “fishes” and there are other times that you can’t get any.
In conclusion, being a sneakerhead or being in the sneaker community is a cool experience. It’s a deeply committed community of collectors and aficionados. They do not represent a major portion of sneaker sales, but they do create a lot of hype around shoes. It’s a frustrating and tiring business because you have to spend a lot of energy waiting and researching, but it can be good for brand equity for the younger people and those who love collecting shoes as a hobby.
Ethan Nyugen, Staff Writer
Ethan Nyugen is currently an alumni of the Rock Academy