Would Today’s Sneaker Culture Exist Without MJ?
As I was arranging my wall of kicks this past weekend and saw all my J’s, Foams, Air Max’s, Saucony’s nicely stacked in order on top of each other. I asked myself; would the sneakerheads, blogs and sneaker culture of today exist if Michael Jordan and Nike did not form an incredibly iconic sneaker brand?
In my opinion athlete signature shoe deals, sneaker collecting, reselling, blogging and sneaker fashion have become a billion dollar industry as a direct result of Michael Jordan. People will always continue to buy, sell and collect kicks despite Jordan Brand. But I think the frenzy behind the sneaker game would be much more chill than it is today. Brands like Nike, Adidas and Under Armour etc. would probably not be making as big an effort to find the next signature athlete or drop dozens of new/retro kicks each year knowing they will almost instantly sell out, especially Nike. Think about it sneaker fam; would kicks have crazy resale prices if the sneaker was just called a Nike this or Adidas that, as opposed to an “Air Jordan”, “Yeezy”, “LeBron” or “D-Rose”? I doubt it. In fact the retro game would not be nearly as intense if it weren’t for Jordan and Nike. Foamposite Ones, my favorite sneaker line by Nike for example, would probably not have the success and sustainability if Penny didn’t demand that it become his signature sneaker back in ’97 (fyi: rumor has it that the Foamposites were originally supposed to be Pippen’s signature shoe.)
Prior to Jordans and retro’ing of J’s, sneakers were a one and done phenomenon. Finding DS kicks to wear would be so much harder now because if you didn’t get the shoes on release date or few the months thereafter, you were pretty much out of luck. Us sneaker enthusiasts wouldn’t have the opportunity to get a sneaker that we missed out on or loved as kids. And we would be stuck with worn out kicks that bob the plumber is selling on EBay, Kixify, or Instagram.
In conclusion, as much as there are aspects of the sneaker game we have grown to hate (insane resale prices, instant sellouts, sneakers bots, unfortunate violent events etc.); we have to give it up to MJ and Nike for making sneakers a permanent, staple in our culture. Do you agree or do you think the sneaker game would still have its allure, economic, and social success it has today? Let us know down below. And next time you pick a pair of kicks, make sure you give a big shout out to his Airness for making the sneaker game as enjoyable, popular and nerve wrecking as it is today.