There is nothing like the feeling you get when you buy a fresh pair of sneakers. You began to feel a sense of confidence and paranoia at the same time. You better not step on my shoes! Sneaker culture has grown over the past 20 years. Sneakers are not only a fashion statement. For many, it’s a way of life.
Jessenya Wenzel, a Junior at UACHS and Foot locker employee is so dedicated to sneakers that she buys a new pair every week.
“I started working at Foot locker because I’ve always been into sneakers and it was easier to get them” said Wenzel. “Every time I get paid I buy a pair of sneakers even if it’s not the newest release.”
From top to bottom the focus on footwear is such that people believe that what you have on your feet makes or breaks people’s perception of you; But do the sneakers you wear really define you? Some people argue yes, while others say it depends on what you have on.
“The sneakers I wear define me because it shows my personality and everything I am into” said Wenzel.
However, we can agree that sneakers can make or break your outfit. World culture and geography teacher, Brian Brown thinks you should always start with your sneakers when forming an outfit.
“Sneakers is what the fit starts with. You get the sneaker you get a certain color scheme and that’s the fit.” says Brown.
A sneakerhead is described as someone who collects, trades, or admires sneakers as a hobby. Jaymes Nixon, a Junior at UACHS defines a sneakerhead as a sneaker enthusiast.
“My definition of a sneakerhead is someone who stays updated on all sneakers that come out and buys almost every sneaker they like no matter what the brand is,” said Nixon.
Whether you are a sneakerhead or not, sneakers are an important part of being a teenager. In highschool there is a lot of pressure behind what sneakers you wear. Jaymes thinks that people may judge you based on what sneakers you have on.
“If you wear some unattractive sneakers there may be a lot of people on your back. Like for example black air forces. People look at those sneakers like you are up to no good because of the history behind the shoe.” said Nixon.
Many people might say that you can tell a lot about someone based on what sneakers they have on. According to business insiders, “Someone’s age, gender, income, and attachment anxiety can be determined at an above chance level just by looking at their shoes.”
While many teenagers and young adults at UACHS are sneakerheads, there are some teens that will never see the hype behind a simple pair of sneakers. Angel Dilone, Junior at UACHS thinks that there are more important things to buy.
“ To me sneakers aren’t really that important and I don’t care for it. Other things interest me and are more important to buy” says Dilone.
The purpose of sneakers have definitely changed over the years. What was once just an athletic accessory is now a part of the modern aesthetic. According to the New York Times, The distinction between dress and athletic shoes has changed as the gym shoe has outgrown its youth-culture/streetwear and is now a fashion accessory.
“Sneakers are more of a thing for social status because if you’re seen wearing expensive ones you’re considered not broke” said Dilone.
Some people may say that some sneakers aren’t worth their expensive price. A simple pair of Nike sneakers were once $70. Sneakers can now retail over $200. Brown thinks we aren’t necessarily paying for the sneaker but more for the name behind it.
“When brands have a logo that’s what you’re paying for. Sneakers are often made in the same factories. What matters is who’s the designer, the limitation of the sneaker, and logos” said Brown.
Regardless of the cost and who made them no one can deny the influence that sneakers have on our culture. From Nikes to Vans, when you pick out your next outfit which sneakers will you wear?