This is not an article that will reveal all things you didn’t know about modern sneakers; frankly, it’s all out there. From Converse to Nike’s, Adidas to Puma, Vans to Reebok, you name it, the details are apparent. Becoming the status symbol of urban culture, sneakers take up as much space in our closets as our simple white tee’s; and honestly, they look better. This era is the home to the Disney World of sneakers.
Footwear’s infiltration of the sartorial industry is uncanny. When have you seen Karl Lagerfeld supporting Superstars? Never. But check the runway pictures of the last couple of seasons, and everyone from Chanel to Isabel Marant, to Christian Louboutin to Miu Miu has sneakers strolling up and down the runway. It has surpassed the needs of sportsmen; it’s no longer about finding the most comfortable pair of sneakers, it’s also about looking damn fine wearing them.
It all started with Jordan; not in a sense that he is creator of the sneaker frenzy, but in a sense that people wanted to look like Jordan. And they could; just buy a pair of Jordan’s, and look like Jordan. (Should we say Jordan, again? Jordan.) The cultural impact of Jordan sneakers go above and beyond a sport, creating a new era where people could afford buying things that their idols are wearing without taking out a loan from the bank.
Then came the penetration to the world of Hip Hop, thanks to DMC’s “My Adidas.” Everyone from Nas to Jay-Z to Kanye West had the latest kicks, and they caused a large following for fans into territories that were then unknown. Before we knew it, footwear became a work of art.
Having many sneakers doesn’t cut it anymore, you have to have the drive to own the upcoming release, and know every detail about it; when it was made, where it was made, who it was made by, how rare it is to find, and the quickest way to get your hands on it. Waiting in long lines in excruciating degrees to a sneakerhead is what they call an average Monday. And the prices? Think somewhere between $250 to $30.000.
Due to an inconceivable demand, sneakers are getting more expensive. (Though if think about it, the amount of money you spend on leather boots that you wear for 3 years then throw away vs your go-to shoes for both daily and night outings having a spot in your closet for 10 plus years. Sneakers are definitely tie breakers.) One could call it: celebrating the best in life – items you don’t need but want. Remember how much you wanted the 5-inch platform Spice Girls shoes? It’s pretty similar to that, except you don’t have to trick your mom into buying them for you anymore, you wait in line, for 4 days, if necessary.
Istanbul’s sneaker scene might have followed from a few steps behind, however it is having no difficulties catching up. Stores like Shopi go has overnight lines for the newest pair-of-you-name-it, sneakerheads have shoes that they’ve somehow imported (if not, flown out to buy them) from who knows where, and the overall knowledge of this important culture has risen tremendously.
Next time you wander around town, take a look at what people around you have on their feet. After all, if you’re wearing sneakers, the world might just revolve around you…
Did you know? Sneakers are called sneakers because you can “sneak around” easily due to the rubber soles.
Now let’s hear a few words from a few people who know a thing or two about sneakers.
Alper Uzel, Director at Shopi go
How do you think the sneaker trend grew in Istanbul?
The sneaker culture lives with both music and fashion. Neighborhoods like Teşvikiye, Cihangir, Karaköy and Moda have progressed, and those are the places that carry music and fashion to the streets. Newly opened cafes, shops and galleries helped increase the sneaker trend recognizably.
Sneakers are worn for their design as much as their comfort. However what make them more appealing are their rare models. What is the attraction behind these designs that are produced in small numbers?
Back in the day, they would design a model and it would progress with time. It would take a couple of years for a newer model to come out. Nowadays, brands have a lot of special product launches every year. These launches feature a lot of unique models. What attracts people the most is when the sneakers are produced in a limited number, and ones that are designed as a result of a collaboration with a special name.
Along with sports, hip hop culture has a lot of affect on sneaker trends, as you pointed it out. Who grabs your attention the most in that sense?
Kanye West, who I think plays a huge role in the growth of the sneaker trend, as well as Jay-Z, who always wears special designs. One shouldn’t forget Rihanna either, after her successful recent collaboration with Puma.
What kind of demand is there for special sneaker launches?
According to a research GQ magazine has done last year, 1200 people in the US die every year during sneaker launches due to the brawls that take place. Although it’s extreme, the result shows the crazy demand towards sneakers. We’ve done many big launches as Shopi go in Turkey in the last couple of years. We get huge crowds getting in line from 11:00pm carrying their sleeping-bags, and since there are no priorities, we also have celebrities in lines, which shows the high demand towards this industry.
What do you pay attention to when picking the sneakers to carry at Shopi go? What do the sneakerheads like in Istanbul?
We bring special collaborations that aren’t available in Turkey of brands like Nike, Adidas and Puma due to our relationship with them. It’s important for us that our customers don’t see the sneakers they buy from Shopi go on everyone’s feet. Because they want to feel special with the sneakers they are wearing. Sneakerheads in Istanbul follow the trends worldwide closely. What they pay attention to the most are collaborations with special names and models that are produced in small numbers.
Which models are you looking forward to the most for next year?
Nike’s Air Jordan series that get renewed every year is one of the designs that I am really looking forward to of course. The High Level Runner model that Rick Owens has designed for Adidas is another model I am curiously awaiting. Along with these, I think the sneakers in Yohji Yamamoto’s Y-3 collection for Adidas should be followed on every season.
Selcan Öziş, Sneakerhead
What is the best response to “I can’t believe you spent this much money on your sneakers!”?
I don’t want them to get dirty and wear off immediately!
Lastik ayakkabıyı herhangi başka bir ayakkabıya tercih etmenin sebepleri?
Aşırı rahatlıklarının dışında, spor geçmişimden gelen bir alışkanlık. Ayrıca her biri, her rengi tek tek insanı başka bir moda sokuyor.
Reason why you prefer sneakers to any other shoes?
Apart from the fact that they are incredibly comfortable, it’s a habit from my sports background. Plus each pair and colour puts one in a different mood.
The sneaker model you are desperate to own?
The white, marble-patterned Picadilly sneaker from the collaboration of No Name x Onze Mètres Carrés.
Your favourite top 3 sneakers from your collection? The ones you’re proud of the most?
My favourite sneakers are the dirty white Golden Goose, the pale pink Rİhanna Fenty Puma, and of course the lazer cut triangle-detailed Nike Air Force1. The ones that I’m proud of the most are Y-3 Kohna sneakers, which seems weird to everyone.
What does being a “Sneakerhead” mean to you?
It’s an instinctual thing that comes from my childhood. However there is one incident where I went through a bad illness when I was 12 years old and lost a lot of weight, and my father had left Air Jordans by my bedside so that I would eat.