Sneakerheads are hypebeasts. Before you take offense, let me remind you that pointing the finger at someone means you have four fingers pointing at yourself (or however that saying goes). I am just as much a sneakerhead and a hypebeast as it gets. I've learned to embrace both of those titles. A few things I have a hard time controlling my "Buy It Now" impulses with include sneakers with black and orange coloring, anything reflective, any food that has Sriracha on it or in it, and any of the ridiculous accessories that Neighborhood Japan makes. Yes, even the NBHD home gardening line that is currently releasing at retailers is on my wish list, despite the fact that I live in a condo with very little space on my balcony.
Combine those consumer impulses with gimmicky products, and I can justify just about any Amazon purchase you can imagine and then some. Most of the time, gimmicks are left for infomercials and functional products that are so specific in nature that if we bought them all, we'd all need to live in mansions just to have room for them. Don't get me wrong, I think Vince Offer and Billy Mays (RIP) are some of the most entertaining pitch men of all time and who doesn't need OxiClean, ShamWow, or a SlapChop? Even if i didn't want need the products these guys are shilling, I'd still want to see them make the magic they create. Besides, who else will casually slip a completely appropriate "You're gonna love my nuts" comment into their content without any hesitation? Whatever the next must-have, as seen on TV product is that some genius comes up with, I'm going to need it. What I don't need are these gimmicky and gadgety things to be incorporated into sneaker designs.
When I first saw the "Hologram" Jordan 1 Low on the Private Selection account, it reminded me of the Hologram Tupac from Coachella, that to this day, still feels completely wrong. Secondly, I thought it had to be fake. Fakes have been a problem in sneakers for years. Whether you look at the beginnings of some of the most popular sneaker blogs back in the day, the tons of YouTubers dedicated to "reps," or even Lil Boosie buying fakes on his Instagram stories a while back, counterfeits are so much a part of the game that they will always be a part of sneaker culture whether we like it or not.
That got me thinking about all the other things that have been added to sneaker designs recently that would have been a red flag in the past. The removable bag from the heel of the Utility Jordan 1, the bag that affixes to the laces of the adidas Superturf Adventure, and interchangeable pieces from Acronym's latest Nike collab, all come to mind. To some extent, those things are cool, and more importantly, they are functional in very rare use cases. I'm all for pushing the limits of the comfort zone especially when it comes to sneakers, even if aesthetically, it has no appeal to me. The freedom of the designers is what keeps us moving forward as an industry.
In a lot of ways, even Air Jordans have been loaded with gimmicks since the very beginning but in many instances, the concept evolved into funtional designs in future sneakers. Imagine skate shoes without stash pockets? Where would you ever keep your stash? In all fairness, some of the gimmicky things have become a grey area that blurs the line between gimmick and great marketing, much like products like the SlapChop. Do we need it? No. Can we be convinced that we do? Absolutely. But wait, there's more!
With every non-functional addition we see added to new releases, like these holograms on the side of the Air Jordan 1 Low, I can't help but wonder where the line is drawn, or if there ever will be one. In my mind, every pair purchased with a "functional" gimmick is a vote for technology moving forward, and every purchase of a shoe like the "Hologram" AJ1 is one step away from it. I know it's not that simple. To me, though, it's that slight bit of function or convenience that tips the scales just enough to make it okay for me to be buying shoes that are really not much different than the ones I already have. Now, who can make me a custom pair with a SlapChop built into it, so I can become even lazier? Imagine being able to slice and dice with a tap of your foot? I'm sold already.
CHECK OUT SOME OF OUR MOST POPULAR STORIES
A Brief History Of Kanye West Sneakers Before Yeezy
The Story Behind The Supreme x Nike SB Dunk Line Is Crazy
12 Throne-Worthy YEEZY Releases Dropping Spring 2022
Love It Or Hate It: The Impact of Virgil Abloh's Off-White
For all general inquiries, please contact us at email@example.com