Walking around your city streets lately and been seeing something odd? People with sneakers made of leopard or camo prints, with bears and gorillas on them? Maybe even shackles?? The latest fad in the kick game seems to be absolute absurdity. Recently the hypebeasts and sneakerheads of this world have been flipping their lids over what seems to be the wackiest stage for sneaks yet. What happened to nostalgia? What happened to the simplistic clean look? What happened to being fresh? Kids coming up now don’t have the newest Adidas Orginials to look forward to, or the new drop of the Puma two-tone suedes; not even a release of a new Uptowns (AF1s). Now they’re getting amped on the weirdest kicks that have ever been put on the market. With this influx of full-out prints of paisley, camo, and leopard, to accessories and stuffed animals on sneakers, it seems that shoe designers are losing their marbles as well as all hope to create a pair of new fly, clean, and fresh looking kicks.
The first to question in this crisis is the Adidas brand. The same brand that Run DMC put on the map back in the golden era, and the same that has been making a cultural impact since they hit in 1986 with “My Adidas.” With all the cultural history of the three stripes, one would think they would be the last to step out of line and join in on the creation of corny kicks, but it seems that they have been the ones pushing the envelope of the new sensation. These kicks (above), designed by Jeremy Scott, resemble a toddler’s slippers more than a fresh sneaker. With its furry texture and its awkwardly placed teddy bear head, I wonder how anyone could honestly put these shoes on and hit the streets feeling confident about themselves. These shoes belong in a child’s room let alone a shoe boutique where they are selling for $220.
This sneaker by Bape is an example of the recent flood of camo in the fashion industry. A$AP Rocky’s deceleration of ”I’m camo down to my boxers,” has seemed to set off a tidal wave of overly gaudy camo print everything, even down to the shoe. I could only guess the purpose of this trend is so one can stay well camouflaged in their urban environment, or maybe it’s a metaphor for being a “street soldier.” Either way, the popularity of this camo needs to stop, before we have thousands of kids walking separately through the city in their camo, causing the feeling of a homeland attack by some hipster-fashionista Coup d’état.
Following the fad of all-over-print shoes, the Gourmet sneaker company dropped this in-your-face leopard print sneaker earlier this year. While the shape and design of the actual shoe is pretty clean a resembles a New Balance, they covered it in this obnoxious design to follow the trends of late. Shoes like these couldn’t have been made for any other reason then to be gaudy and flashy. For those who want a simple, clean, nice sneaker, this is not for you, but rather for those who want to stand out of the crowd (and not in a good way). I also wonder how long it will take for Peta to get involved.
Adidas claims that these new kicks are “So hot you [will need to] lock your kicks to your ankles.” The campaign slogan as well as the shoe itself have been causing a stir in the media, and have been commented on by high-profile people from David Stern to Jesse Jackson, even making an appearance on The Colbert Report. Whether you think these shoes are fashionable or not I think the real question should be focused on if there’s a negative racial component to the shoe. Many have scrutinized the kicks while questioning Adidas’ thinking behind the idea. Jesse Jackson even proclaimed the shoe was a “gross insult.” As well as being a “gross insult” the actual shoe design is plain gross. With its purple and yellow color combination, child like velcro strap, and of course its unthinkable plastic ankle locks; this kick that was recently pulled because of its racial undertones, is just another example of the nose dive that the shoe industry is taking in terms of quality and style.
Like Bobby Dylan once said, “The times they are changing.” From music, to movies, and now the shoe game, outlets from all over have taken a harsh hit in the quality of their material. While they’re are still some classy kicks being released like the re-vamp of the Vans Classics and other drops, the industry seems to be taking a turn towards gaudy, loud, and overall wacky shoes. Companies and outlets seem to be jacking each others styles with prints such as the camo or paisley, and this swagger jacking mentality is going to lead to lack of originality and creativity. Kids, beware of how lame these new trendy kicks actually are, and please stay aware of the whack.