Has The “True Sneaker Head” Really Become Non-Existent?
Once upon a time, the term “sneaker head” applied to a relatively small group of people who were genuinely interested in the intricacies and uniqueness of certain sneakers. They weren’t just fans of Air Jordans. Or Chuck Taylors. Or anything with the word “Foamposite” in it. They weren’t guys and girls who bought into the hype behind a pair of limited-edition kicks. They were interested in all kinds of sneakers and they liked when people stopped them on the street to ask about a particular sneaker that they were wearing. Those days, however, are long gone. Or, are they?
In a recent article published in a journal called The Trade, James Bond—the co-owner and co-founder of Undefeated—was asked about how the concept of the “sneaker head” has changed in recent years. And, he revealed that he thinks that the “true sneaker head” has basically become extinct. It’s one reason that he had to change the way Undefeated approached a recent deal with Foot Locker that called for them to put together a custom Converse sneaker. He says that, today, sneaker companies have to worry about catering to the masses, rather than the “sneaker heads” out there.
“Our business landscape has changed and the majors are going to move with or without you,” he said. “The ‘sneaker head’ so to speak is no longer a viable business model as the true [sneaker] head has become almost non-existent. You have to learn to appeal to the masses in a creative and tasteful way. Converse has allowed us to do just that with the program we are doing with Foot Locker.”
Obviously, part of Bond’s response was meant to raise awareness for the Foot Locker program. But, it sounds like his point is that companies like Undefeated have to do deals like that one in order to make money, because they can’t necessarily rely on the old business model of catering solely to “sneaker heads” in order to stay afloat. But, it also raises an interesting question: Does that mean that the concept of the “sneaker head” is dead right now? Or, does it mean that it will be dead soon? Only time will tell. But, one thing is clear: The definition of the “sneaker head” has changed greatly in recent times. And, it’s going to continue to change at a pretty rapid pace over the course of the next few years. So, stay tuned.