Sneaker culture is a subculture of hip hop culture, which is also a subculture of black culture. Sneaker culture is not something that has been up and coming, this is a culture that has been around the block. Perhaps, more visibly to a certain demographic being black people than to the rest of the world. However, has the treatment of sneaker culture changed?
Sneaker culture being mainstream
The origin of sneaker culture started as early as the 1970s. However, they become more prominent in the '80s and '90s after being worn by hip hop artists in their music videos, which then influenced black people to pick up on sneaker culture.
However, it did not become global until the end of the '90s. Decades on, the sneaker culture is still going strong. Many people from all sorts of backgrounds are participating in it and it's also intwined with streetwear.
Have resellers ruined sneaker culture?
For as long as sneaker culture has been around, the same is said for resellers. However, they have never been as powerful in their position as they have been now over the last few years. Resellers have gradually become significant functions within the business. Purchasing an excessive number of shoes as soon as they are released to sell them for two or three times the price has really discouraged people from wanting or continuing to partake in the fashions.
Genuine sneakerheads are finding difficulty appreciating the culture without resellers ruining it for them. New releases are often dropped at ridiculous times and if you take your eye off the ball, you risk everything being sold out without getting the opportunity to make a purchase.
Resellers are essentially entrepreneurs which is a profession that is respected and admired, but unfortunately, the greed for money takes precedent.
Are replicas ruining the sneaker culture?
Not every reseller sells authentic sneakers. However, unless you are a passionate, fanatical, wholehearted sneaker connoisseur, nine times out of ten, you are not going to be able to tell the difference.
Wearing Primark sliders that have a design like the adidas sliders is not going to bring you shame. No one is going to care. However, wearing a pair of Air Jordans that you thought were genuinely authentic, but it lacks small details that the majority would not, in reality, pick up on, would be upsetting.
Of course, there are sneakers out there that obviously look inauthentic. But there is also a lot of sneakers out there sold by resellers that look scaringly close to the real thing. So, when customers purchase the inauthentic sneakers that they thought was the real thing, who should we place the blame on? The resellers that trick their customers or the public that shame and humiliate people for not being smart enough to buy the authentic pair of shoes? If peer pressure was not so overwhelming, do you think people would bother that much about wearing replicas?
How people treat replicas highlight how unkind sneaker culture can be. A shoe is just that: a shoe. Is that no longer important anymore? Does a pair of shoes have to be authentic for it to be accepted into society and its members?
Is sneaker culture now pushed as the new face of materialism?
What a lot of people do not understand about sneaker culture is that it is not a hobby, it's a lifestyle. It is not a lifestyle that everyone can obtain which is okay. However, could this supposed lifestyle be considered as a form of materialism? If it was not, maybe resellers would not sell inauthentic sneakers. If it was not, maybe resellers would not multiply the price of the shoes. But they do.
Will sneaker culture continue to thrive, or will it go into decline?
There are a lot of sneakers that are aesthetically pleasing and who does not like a good-looking pair of shoes? However, there are variables to consider in wanting to participate in sneaker culture. Is it worth it? If it is not, will the culture begin to languish? And if it is worth it, at what cost are people going to take to keep up?