sneaker collectors, hype

just came across this link, and had to rant.

and it cracked me up!

I for one, being part of the footwear industry would be one to put my hands up to stop the insanity of the “limited edition” sneaker collector collab-colorway-celeb hype. Do sneaker collectors not realize that all those limited dunks in crazy colorways are only limited because they dont have the volume to sell more? if there are over 500 dunk colorways, how much demand can there really be for each one x each size? simple market economics you would think.

Besides which, I must comment on the ridiculousness of the celeb/limited/collab colorway process. Choosing a different color/material makes a 20$ FOB shoe worth 250$ retail? huh? Based on some of the crazy material and color combos now released, I would be an untrained monkey could create something equal.

…and then there’s the retro-love. How easy is it to “be a collector” and follow the latest sneaker drops to cop one more dunk/AF1 colorway? How safe? how about showing some love for new brands, or new technical innovations in contemporary footwear. I would love to see some 'heads pickiing up the latest kicks that actually offer something different that may be a classic someday vs. an easy pick on a 4x retro-ed jordan X.

This, of course, is just my perspective. Asa part of the footwear industry for 5+ years, and a fan of sneakers for may more I can feel the love of the sneaker obessed (I once called every shoe store in Toronto + Nike Canada searching for a pair of Jordan X when they were first released). I have my own collection of my faves (+200 pairs), but I am more interested in the truly innovative and different.

As a designer and creative I am wondering if any other footwear collectors/designers feel the same way. We all know how easy it is to browse through the latest San Fang catalog and pick out some whacked new material. but why?


Those were disgusting. Kind of reminds me about comic books. They suffered from the same fate. I used to collect but once “business” caught a hold of “catering to collectors” gimmick it all became bs. Then nothing but garbage was put out hoping to get the “collectors” dollar and now all of it is worthless. Before special editions were done for special purposes, now it’s just another sales gimmick and the limited stuff isn’t so special anymore.

good looking out on the link, the site was up for a split second a couple months ago and they took it off line for a minute…

i agree that the retro thing has got a little out of hand, it is so funny how the landscape has shifted, but i understand why the connection exists, it gives most a chance to relive, scoop up those pairs you could not have when you were a youngin’ the connection is much easier and you relate instantly, when you see that shoe on the shelves again…

on the other hand it seems to stagnating the push forward for that “new aesthetic” too many “retro inspired” kicks, and what makes it worst is that retro inspired joint is on the shelf right next to the shoe it is inspired by…

another factor that i think has made retro & colorway variations such a strong attraction is that the athletic footwear arena has EXPLODED in the last decade or so, there are SOOO many shoes to pick from and they are seemingly SO specialized, the consumers have internalized that and split it so the familiar retro sneaks are the easy “safe” choice. i think it is easier to see a retro shoe as a “casual” shoe (even though it was once a performace shoe) than it is a new, modern performance shoe with as a casual shoe; not to mention that most people just think that newer shoes do not have that “rock-a-bility” that old school sneaks have…

the limited thing never actual bothered me, partly because i never could afford to buy shoes like that but also having different or “limited” stuff is just apart of the sneaker culture. always has been, always will be…sneaker companies took it up a few notches though…

new brands…i think that is tough because, today it seems like for a product to gain acceptance 2 things play a big role in making into the consciousness of the consumer: availability and a co-sign by a visible person(s). i think people need to see someone wearing it and know where they can get it, before taking a new brand over an established, more familiar one…

Those were disgusting. Kind of reminds me about comic books. They suffered from the same fate. I used to collect but once “business” caught a hold of “catering to collectors” gimmick it all became bs.

and the various trading cards (sporting, gaming, etc.) and most other mass produced collectible items… i believe the difference when it come to footwear, it is a fashion/style product so people will always be willing to pay a premium to whatever the “fashion” is. comics and trading cards are much more niche than footwear and though the popularity of both has wained both still have value to diehards…

Yes, always thought it was silly, but it is that way if you work in the trade isn’t it? I’ts hard to get excited over a $250 shoe when you know it’s made of coated leather and you know how ‘inexclusive’ the production process actually is.

I did collect sneakers for years, then one day I thought ‘this is silly.’ Now it’s just gone crazy, I think I lost interest acouple of years ago when it started getting ridiculous and everything was a Dunk in a limited edition colour. So boring. Then almost everything I’d collected was rereleased anyway. Oh well!

Sneakers degrade, p.u. and eva isn’t meant to last forever, it oxidises, it crumbles, sure you can wrap them in cling film and box them in the dark, but what’s the point of that? At least I wore all of mine, enjoyed them and binned them when they self descructed.

Like the OP, I love anything truly different, but I’m not wild on basketball boots and the last sneaker I bought was the Mark Newson one, aaaages ago, the dunk stuff I just find done to death.

Collecting used to be exciting, I remember bringing a suitcase full of Rifts back from New York in the mid nineties, they were impossible to get in the UK, lots of other stuff, hunting in thrift stores, looking for deadstock, now theres eBay, all these collabs, you can get hold of stuff so easily, all the thrill of the chase has gone and anyone can be a collector if they can afford it. Oh well!

I wonder when its going to end? When will people get bored? Does anyone esle find it all a bit ‘Emperers New Clothes’


im not going to say anything else on this forum untill i’ve actually done some shoe designs.

collabs are not going to end anytime soon…

pure gold:

Just back from Asia and was suprised (OK, not really) at the amount of limited editions that were “unofficially resissued” for sale exclusively at the Shenzhen market :smiley:(ya know the big one attached to the train station at the border…).

How easy it would be to buy and fill a whole sample bag of Bathing Ape’s limited version of the AF1 in eight differernt colorways, Dunks, AF1s and Reeboks in bizzarre colorways…for about $5 a pair, and Ebay them stateside to collectors.

The whole limited edition craze is pure hype, but you know its reached a critical mass when the styles that are being knoocked off the most are the limited editions.

FWIW No, I do not buy branded knockoff anything there.

i am not sure any one is being fooled in this case…people are aware of the “hype” around the limited thing, i do not know that there is some revelation out here that will cause the wall to come crashing down…

it seems like a natural progression/response to the whole ebay/internet thing because what used to be used to only be available regionally is now not so hard to come by so it seems like a logical step up…

it is hard to think it will stay the phenomenon it is now, but the popularity makes some sense to me…

I read this and thought about it then thought some more and more….to make any head or tails of it I looked at through my own eyes and came up with the ramble below…remember i am UK based and not US so my influences may be very different. I found more questions than answers but there you have it…

My relationship with trainers started at an early age on the school playground. The code was simple, have the right trainers and you were socially acceptable. My influence was the powerful brand iconography communicated by the product’s association and identification with global sporting and media celebrities. Having to wear school uniform added to the value of my trainers, providing me with some individuality from the others. Then it was about who won Wimbledon or the World Cup in what brand and model of trainer. Could the shoe provide me with the same sporting capability?

Growing up in Britain in the Eighties entailed life under a nuclear cloud, US cruise missiles, Greenham Common protests, Top of the Pops (a shitty music program that me and my mates all use to watch) filled with apocalyptic songs, nuclear power stations, Z for Zaccaria on the GCSE English Literature reading list, the threat of the then ‘unfriendly’ Soviet Union. The generation of that time had anti-establishment tendencies and used trainers to demonstrate this, against the impending threats. What was then the chosen poison of certain sub pockets has now crossed over to become the chosen flavour of the majority of society in the nineties.

Leisure as opposed to work was the primary driving force of the Ninetees (when I was really consumer driven for footwear). Spiritual reward and peace is more important than the more, more, more, ‘help-yourself-and-take-it-all’ culture of the Eighties and as such, the pursuit of leisure has displaced many age old paradigms. We now have a prime minister who used to play lead guitar in a rock band (still a wanker), and have shifted from a decade of Conservative rule to Labour. Within that period there have been great leaps in technology, such as the internet and mobile communications. There has been a noticeable change in attitudes and society over the period of the two decades, in 1988 Acid House was almost banned by the government (or at least they tried), now it is played on Match of the Day. (a uk soccer show on Saturday night)

Within the decade there have been massive shifts in dress codes, buying patterns and life globally. It can be argued that essentially the formality of dress codes has broken down or blurred to a level where it is no longer possible to denote age or social class. ‘A thirty five year old ad executive probably shares several things in common with an eighteen year old student; a Playstation, a mountain bike, edwin denim and a pair of Air Max 95 for instance, why wear the suit, buy the house and be called Mr XYZ in the workplace.’ Thirty somethings are one of Nike’s biggest markets, but why?

The identity of a person can be discovered by analysing certain forms of signification or symbolism that their trainer carries in it’s own value system, for instance, the graphics on the shoe, the iconography of the manufacturing label, how the trainer is worn in terms of laces tied or untied, tongues in or out.

Many brands state that their products are ‘designed for sportsmen and women and their primary function is to enhance athletic performance. Trend is not important in the design process, form follows function.’ Is this true, do these international corporations really just design their products purely for the athlete, acknowledging any other interpretation as a lucky spin off? Does form really follow function, relegating style to a ‘skin applied’ feature?

I believe that trainers now live a ‘double life’ within society. They are, on one hand perceived to be functionally designed pieces of sporting equipment, incorporating the latest, most technologically advanced materials and scientific experiment. And on the other, they are definitions of our cultural background, clearly indicating something about ourselves. By this I mean, and believe, that a personal profile could be drawn from what type of trainers an individual chooses to wear and how they are worn. An athlete’s performance may be enhanced by the trainer he/she is wearing, enabling more foot support and faster running times, yet somebody walking to the shops in that same shoe symbolises something about what he/she is like or wants to be like. The trainer is able to demonstrate ‘a complex set of codes relating to notions of individuality and exclusivity, fitness, fashion and anti-fashion, peer group pressure, whatever. And amid this milky consumerist soup trainers have taken on more meanings than sliced bread.’ It is these expressions and the need to belong that converts the trainer into not just an object of sporting enhancement, but a label of who we are and where we stand within contemporary culture. The product has acquired new meanings.

Now my perceptions of trainers and reasons for purchasing them have altered. I still look for brand sign value, however it is no longer about the endorser, now it is to do with style. My purchase is influenced by how I can wear the trainer and how I am perceived to be wearing it. I want to be able to wear them to Stamford Bridge on Saturday, yet still be able to walk along the King’s Road. I feel that they associate myself with certain dress codes and forms of culture, conveying and introducing myself to the outer world.

That is kinda of where I have come from and the thing that intersets me in footwear, all be it I come from a very heavy biomechanical approach now when designing, the skin application of aesthtics is a very powerful, exciting hand in hand step. As for the re-runs, 300 releases etc…it is getting a little worn especially as it so common now. As a world we have shrunk, Mc Donalds is on every corner and I can buy at Foot Patrol what someone can buy at A-Life in New york or what you can buy on the top of mount everest via the www.

If we could get back to the 80’s that would be great, but the past always looks better. Which reminds me of what really intrigued me as a kid- Football fans of the Eighties would wear different styles of brand symbolising their belonging too and support of a certain club. On matchday this would lead to travelling fans being identified, even if they were not wearing football colours. The trainer took on an iconic role in this period, forming a very distinct language that expressed membership without the use of a team badge. ‘You could spot us a mile off when down in London on matchdays - indeed my mate’s non scallying brother (scally is someone from LIverpool in England) was amazed when they were sussed out on the tube by Chelsea lads while on their way to Stamford Bridge. “How did they know we were Everton?” - “Adidas Samba,” was a simple two word answer.’ (Shawn Smith, Sneakers, Size isn’t Everything) The trainers branded the individual with their own form of iconography and graphic languages which identified and promoted an overall belonging to the team. The shoes were also used as a form of intimidation and warning at the time when football violence was at its most prolific. Supporters of one club could be identified and broken down into subpockets of organised coteries of violence. Trainers became such a part of of football fan uniform, that people would travel abroad in search of rarer styles of the designated team brand. This was true of the Eighties yet is no longer the case today, now it is hard to denote a specific club supporter purely by footwear. They are still worn in stadia, yet the team association through particular styles and brand has dramatically blurred. Relationship to other sub circles is illustrated instead, mainly because the violence on terraces in the Eighties has been dramatically restrained, (more due to ecstacy tablets than the police) making it safer to wear club colours and replica shirts.

I think the clear way forwards now is customisation, yet customistaion needs to be able to make money. At the moment it is a made to stock, non profit marketting exercise that creates some consumer confusion. The scary thing is that when you talk to so called industry leaders in footwear culture, they all say errr…there will be more re runs, colour ways, collabs etc etc. Maybe I will start buying tan Italian shoes to wear with Japanese Denim instead to revert back to what was the inspiring thing about footwear in the 80’s. Maybe we should all go back to the school playground to see what the buzz is and become the next agents of social change

Bespoke had some unique and insightful comments on how he came to know trainers and where the industry might go in the future. I’m also sick of the repetitive copycat nature of the reissues, limited runs, 24 in the world, nike dunks in every posiible color combo and then some. I also do not get the collaboration thing at all. I supposse for some artist or hanger on picking a colorway and having your name/brand/IQ stitched on a backstay is a big deal but for anyone in the industry, doing a colorway is something relgated to a design intern. That is just not shoe design! (its a small but important cog in the wheel of course) I have been a corporate designer for 10 years and have had many clients in my consulting over the past year. I just havent seen anything unique out there so I decided to launch my own brand as a few of you who know me might be aware. Samples are being made, retailers met with, lawyers hired and so far things are proceeding at a good pace. I’ll let everyone here and on the other sites know when DAHA footwear is ready for prime time…until then…happy holidays everyone…


in the meantime, lets get you another graffiti font…