As an expert Sneakerheadologist, I’m happy to help you classify your manic disorder or learn to read the signs in others. Jump into the world of sneakerheads and their manifest forms via the four main types below.
By the way, if you see yourself in one of the descriptions below, here’s some advice. Since science has found no cure, I prescribe a heavy dose of buy, buy, buy. It’s always worked for me, and I get so many compliments on my footwear that I must be doing something right.
Sneakerhead Type 1: Hip Hop Couture Sneakerhead
The Hip Hop Couture sneakerhead is a man (or woman) in tune with the beat of the street. These sneakerheads have history. There’s probably no fashion item more closely linked to any music genre.
Sneakers and hip hop have heritage together. Some of the historical favorites? Adidas and Air Jordans. Back in the 80s, Run DMC were kicking Adidas hardcore and even dedicated a song to them, 1986’s hit ‘My Adidas.’ Another monumental sneakerhead event of the 80s: Nike revolutionized footwear with the Air Jordans.
Since then tons of stars have gotten in on the sneakerhead game, launching their own lines of streetwear, complete with freaky kicks. The limited edition masterpieces can go for hundreds or thousands of dollars. The most sought-after Wu Tang Dunk Hi’s have gone for as high as $7500. For us mere mortals, you can find some hot Nike Dunks starting from about one-hundreth of that price.
Sneakerhead Type 2: Performance Junkie Sneakerhead
The Performance Junkie is the hypothetical target market for sneakers. They might not be the core market anymore – even if the sneaker companies pretend like they are sometimes – but they are still key to the sneaker business.
Athletes are probably the purest breed of sneakerhead. The Performance Junkie constantly scours the horizon for the next big thing in his sport of choice.
Imagine what the world was like pre-rubber-sole. Now think about the performance engineering of today. We’ve got sneaker labs. Sneakers get the attention that goes into developing a jet engine. Scientists and engineers are constantly searching for that extra inch to the jump, the extra feet in the sprint, more grip, easier pivot, a lightness of being.
Sneakerhead Type 3: Urban Legend Sneakerhead
Sneakerheads cosmopolitan. Many Urban Legends hit the pavements in the cities of the world. Even if they’re not dwelling in the Big City, they’ve got the Big City mindset.
What’s on the feet of these sneakerheads? Alexander McQueen, Diesel, Dsquared2, plus all the small labels that are big on style. Sometimes Urban Legends go for the sneaker specialists, and sometimes they opt for the sneaker lines of top fashion designers. Either way, the Urban Legend is a connoisseur of design. He’s fashionably manly from head to toe, with a hawk eye for foot fashion.
The Urban Legend sneakerhead can talk about sneakers with the passion of an art critic. And he may be willing to pay top dollar for a true work of art. That comes in a box of course.
Sneakerhead Type 4: Joe Friday Sneakerhead
Joe Friday is a sneakerhead by default. He’s the normal, everyday man’s man, and real men wear sneakers.
Maybe he likes to watch sports or he’s got a game of his own that he still plays from time to time, but he’s not competing for titles. He doesn’t need the professional edge to his game that the Performance Junkie absolutely requires.
Joe Friday might not recognize many of the brands loved by the Urban Legend. Yamamoto what? And he might not have a clue who a hip hop star is if he sees one, much less which brand of shoes they’ve had custom made. But he feels at his best in t-shirt, jeans, and his favorite pair of sneakers.
The Joe Friday sneakerhead doesn’t really care about fashion or engineering, but he appreciates a good solid sneaker. Nike, Reebok, New Balance, Asics, Puma, Adidas, etc. He’s a fan of the simple sneaker basics.