“The next half hour was the same old thing, My mother buying me clothes from 1963. And then she lost her mind and did the ultimate. I asked for Adidas and she bought me Zips.” DJ Jazzy Jeff and The Fresh Prince. Oldest of old school tracks yet. This was getting heavy rotation on Yo! MTV Raps even before “The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air” was a thing. Come to think of it, some of you reading this may not even relate Will Smith with rap music other than maybe “Men in Black” or “Miami” (which is now probably considered old school as well).
I usually go with the lyrics to the chorus for my articles, but I forgot there was a verse about sneakers. This was too good to pass up, especially since Zips will come up again in a future column. Also, just wanted to make clear that the lyrics are nothing against my mom’s stylistic shopping choices. Both my parents were pretty good about letting me pick out my own gear, although my choices usually came with an eye roll, a “kids actually wear that??” type of remark, or a good ribbing (old man lingo alert!). The struggle was real my friends.
As for the idea for this article, it seemed appropriate at my current place in life. My wife and I recently sold our place and moved in with her parents (technically, mom and step-dad) which will be followed up by a move in with MY parents (role reversal, dad and step-mom) in a few months. A “retro” living situation if you will. Add to that, along the same time line, it will be the two year anniversary of becoming a dad. So lots of parent related stuff happening.
The other reason for this topic came from reactions to my first two articles, which were very well received by friends and family (thanks for the support everyone!). After my first article, I got this comment from my Dad – “Hey E, good article….. Have to admit I don’t know a lot that you’re talking about…. But I’m sure there are a lot of people that do…Congrats!!!!” My second reaction after reading this comment (the first was “Wow, my dad is getting this Facebook thing down, well done!”) was a chuckle accompanied by the thought “Silly dad, you just don’t get it!” Side note: yes, I actually used the word silly, I have a toddler, that is now a top five most used word in my vocabulary along with toot toots and peep peep (she throws in an extra “p” for some reason). Don’t judge.
After my second article was posted, I got similar comments from my mom and my wife (the latter is a failure on my part, bad sneaker husband. Gots to learn her better). Over the next few days, I started to realize there is a lot more I don’t understand about sneaker culture than I would like to admit. And as the years go by and my daughter gets older, I am quickly going to transition from the writer of this article to the subject of this article. So that’s awesome.
As I have mentioned before, I consider myself an Old Sole. I come from an era when retro’s weren’t a thing and wondered if there would ever be a day I could get my hands on a pair of kicks that came and went (Jordan XI IE lows come to mind). And because of my time spent in the game, there is a chance my list of things I don’t understand won’t resonate with most of you. I am probably going to sound like an old man yelling at you to get off my lawn. I’m cool with that. So let’s get to a few of the sneaker things that I just don’t understand…
Collaborations. I GET the idea behind them. Two brands get together in hopes of boosting each other’s rep while getting richer. But I don’t understand the hype. The idea of a Kendrick Lamar/Reebok or Drake/Jordan collab isn’t going go make me insane with excitement like when we gave my daughter too many jelly beans. Especially when the price is jacked up. Honestly, even the Eminem, Carhartt, Jordan collab didn’t do anything for me. And I LOVE the IV’s. Slim Shady is one of my all time favorite artists. But it doesn’t make me want to pay more or stand in line for them.
Another one is the skinny jogger pant thing. Again, I can comprehend the reasoning behind this in regards to sneaker fashion. Tight, thick cuffs at the bottom keep the pants from drooping down over one’s sneakers, making it possible for the world to check out your dopeness. I am okay with this, even though it’s a little goofy looking (I type this hoping no one finds photographic evidence of when rocking the tight rolled jeans back in the day). What I don’t understand? Why do the rest of the pants have to be just as tight?? I really don’t feel comfortable knowing that when wearing these, I can tell the exact amount of change you have in your pocket. One positive outcome from this? Anyone who rocks these will be in for some good laughs in about 20 years when looking back. Trust me, I was one of the millions of kids in the 90’s that rocked JNCO’s (I will say that I drew the line at a 32″ opening, though). If you don’t know what they are, look ’em up. Then laugh as hard as you want. I still do.
Lastly, Yeezy’s. I don’t understand or get anything about these. They are incredibly ugly. Look like a slipper/moccasin hybrid gone horribly wrong. Also, they are WAAAAAAY too expensive. If I was going to spend that much on a pair of sneakers, I would probably get anything else that didn’t look like garbage. And I could probably buy multiple pairs. Not to mention, the dude with his name on them (Kanye West of those not in “the know”) is as much a douche as he is a genius. So yea. Just don’t get the Yeezy hype. Would be great if someone could make this stop.
So there it is, a few of the things I don’t understand about sneaker culture. How many of you did I lose? Any one on the same page? Anyone?? Hmmm. As always, thoughts and feedback are welcomed. Until next time, keep ’em fresh!