The creps that launched a thousand...instagram stories?
Though many of you (particularly my Instagram followers) will be sick of hearing about the Nike Air Max OG 95s by now, I certainly am not. And to the rare few who hate on this timeless, 22-year-old sneaker, I have one thing to say, or rather, three: "Kiss. My. Airs." Yes. It has happened. Titi Finlay, the girl whose stomach acid once boiled at the speculation of spending more than £40 on an item of clothing or footwear, has purchased her first ever pair of 'hype' trainers and, almost overnight, become a 'Sneakerhead'. Almost.
What is a Sneakerhead, you might ask? Well, if you're aged 13-27, I need not explain - you're all on Instagram. But for those who don't spend a minimum of one hour per day scrolling through the aforementioned platform's bottomless (or bottom-ful? There are a lot of bottoms on the 'gram) pit of sunsets, scantily-clad women and sneakers, an air of confusion may still surround the term as it encircles your mind. You could type 'What is a Sneakerhead?' into Google, and be given the following explanation: 'A sports shoe enthusiast.' But a Sneakerhead is so, so much more than that and I think the following is quite a good example of what I mean by this...
Last year, I bought my boyfriend a pair of limited edition tan leather Nike Air Force Ones. They cost around £120 and caused me a great deal of stress to obtain. He has worn them one and a half times in the space of a year. (He once wore them only for the duration of a 20 minute train journey from Putney to Waterloo and then, in the middle of Platform 17, suddenly stopped and whipped a pair of 'spare' trainers from his backpack, delicately placing his precious new sneakers back into the safety of the bag, to remain unworn for another six months.) When he does wear them, he walks as though there is a small, evil dwarf behind him, poking a spier up his bottom and driving him barefooted across a plain of broken glass. This is not due to an issue of discomfort, or blistering of the ankles - no, apparently this walking style is 'necessary to prevent creasing of the leather toe'. To me its just an utter embarrassment, and when I see them sitting in his wardrobe, boxed, pristine and untouched, I feel nothing but regret (and longing for the Realisation Par wrap dress I could've bought myself with that money). But to Lewis, this is completely normal and, in fact, fundamental to the upkeep of the (albeit unworn) shoe. That, my friends, is a Sneakerhead.
You see, the way Sneakerheads treat trainers is akin to the way a jeweller might treat a precious gem. To them, they are fragile, rare, valuable and can be easily tainted when exposed to the elements. They are to be protected, rarely worn outdoors and kept in their original box where they can be left alone to grow in value - and dust mite colonies. These days, sneakers and streetwear are collector's items, taken just as seriously as 1980s Star Wars figurines.
I personally find it rather amusing that I use the Supreme/Coleman folding chair I got Lewis for his 21st as a place to fling my dirty clothes. If he'd had it his way, it would have remained in the packaging as dead-stock (a term resellers use to describe an item which has never left its original packaging, and is therefore more valuable). But I remain opposed to this logic - why buy an item if you can't enjoy it? Or throw your dirty pants on it?
You might detect an undertone of cynicism in my writing, and you'd be correct. It has taken me almost 4 years to understand the concept of spending hundreds of pounds on pairs of shoes that you either cannot wear, or must go out of your way to keep pristine for the sole-purpose of street cred. (A sneaker looses its hype as soon as it looks too 'worn' - ironic, for a shoe.)
So, how did I go from Sneaker-hater to Sneaker-head? Well, It might have something to do with my unhealthy obsession with Danish fashion bloggers, who are the pioneers of pairing clumpy sneakers with high fashion, check out Thora Valdimars. Alternatively, it could've been spurred on by my new favourite (ok, its the only one I watch) Youtube channel: Round Two, The Show, which is essentially reality TV for hypebeasts and hipsters, based around the day-to-day of an LA store that buy, trade and re-sell rare vintage and streetwear pieces to the likes of A$AP Rocky and Lil Yachty. A couple of episodes in, I was hooked. Watching some of the coolest boys in LA create a completely unique and sustainable fashion movement (with a soundtrack including hits by Chubb Rock and K.C. & the Sunshine Band) it's hard not to be.
In addition to my newfound appreciation for sneakers and streetwear, I've realised that you truly do pay for what you get. The feeling that I got when unboxing my new 95s was just far superior to the unboxing of my usual ASOS £20 white flatforms. I slipped my feet into them and for the first time in my fashion career, I actually felt really cool. The feeling of wearing quality footwear is incomparable. And what's more, they have completely transformed my wardrobe - which is the sign of a truly worthwhile investment. I'm probably going to over-wear them, and they're white, so its inevitable that ruin will come to them at some stage. But for now, I'm relishing in the pretence that I am a fully-fledged Hypebeast and Sneakerhead. Or maybe not, if this article from Complex is anything to go by. (I'm guilty of the last three).
The road to sneaker-hedonism, for me, has been long, confusing, and hard to come to terms with. But now, as a reformed sneaker-sinner, I'm actually (a little too) excited to build my own collection of hype creps. Next on the horizon? A pair of Nike's Classic Cortez 🤘.