Written by Gerald Flores (@ImGeraLd)
Was there a wilder month in sneakers than this February?
Given the sheer number of releases and the quality of said releases, this month may go down in history as the the most exhausting for sneakerheads.
In this new age of rapid-fire product drops, February 2014 was a full-on barrage. (Think Tony Montana on the balcony in the closing scene of Scarface.) Overall, close to 70 new sneakers have launched in the past 28 days. These included four LeBron XI colorways, five variations of the KD VI, and six different Air Jordan retros. Oh yeah, and the Kobe 9 debuted.
In this new age of rapid-fire product drops, February 2014 was a full-on barrage.
Of course, new colorways aren't anything new to the culture and there are a lot of busy periods during the span of the sneaker calendar. One is August, when autumn’s shoes start to hit shelves. Another is December, when Jordan Brand drops its annual Air Jordan XI retro and Nike and adidas unveil their Christmas Day signatures.
But there's also February. There are two key events that fall in the month—Black History Month and the NBA All-Star Game—that brands capitalize on, er celebrate, by dropping an assortment of themed sneakers.
Keeping with the past few years, 2014 saw a Nike “BHM” collection, while both Nike and adidas launched packs centered around the NBA All-Star Game’s host city of New Orleans. But besides the expected general release shoes that sneakerheads go ape over every February, there were other major sneaker stories that made this year different from others.
Two California-based brands came out of the woodwork with Nike collaborations. Just today, Undefeated dropped a pack of Lunar Force 1s. And during the first weekof February, sneakerheads all over the country camped out, ollied their skateboards, and crashed their Internet browsers trying to get a pair of Diamond Supply Co.’s “Diamond” Nike Dunk SB Highs.
But that wasn’t even the craziest shit that happened in sneakers this month. Just 24 hours after the “Diamond” Dunks dropped, Nike pulled a Beyonce and released the “Red October” Air Yeezys 2s out of nowhere. A sneaker that most collectors never thought would see the light of day outside of Kanye West’s feet hit the net on a Sunday afternoon as most people were either in the middle of church, or nursing a hangover (or perhaps both).
To top it all off, the month of February ended with the madness that was “Aunt Pearl” KD VI release. It's rare to see a sneaker release trending worldwide on Twitter, but this month alone it happened on three separate occasions.
And while that we’re on the topic of the Internet, Nike boggled everyone’s mind with the concept of access codes last week. If you’re new to this concept, it’s a policy that Nike created to give select consumers exclusive access to online releases. If you’ve gotten one or understand how these things work, please let us know.
If it wasn’t hard enough to secure a Twitter RSVP and compete with bots to buy a pair of sneakers this month, things just got a little more confusing and frustrating.
However, looking beyond the scope of just what products came out when, adidas made a major move that flew under the radar. The brand picked up Nigo, and further added to its ranks of "cultural talent" that include Rick Owens, Jeremy Scott, Yohji Yamamoto, and Kanye West. The deal could be a very likely sign that Pharrell might join adidas as well. It was also reported that adidas’ top guy in basketball right now, Damian Lillard, (Sorry, D.Rose) may be jumping ship at the end of the season.
All these events that happened in sneakers in February might be a solid representation of where the culture is right now.
All these events that happened in sneakers in February might be a solid representation of where the culture is right now. Do signature sneakers really matter anymore? Kevin Durant’s been on a tear lately, but it’s doubtful that it had anything to do with the “Aunt Pearl” selling out in less than five minutes. It seems that nowadays a sneaker needs to have a mega-celebrity co-sign or hype built up for months in order to sell through in record time.
Regardless, this month-long roller coaster of non-stop sneaker releases is finally over. Sneakerheads can take a short respite from staking out Nike Store’s Twitter handle and start planning how they’ll spend that tax refund.
Or can they? What if the second month of the year is just a sign of what we can expect in August and December? Time will only tell, but one thing is for sure. The game is changing and there are a lot more options for shoppers who can’t pick up every release. And this isn’t necessarily a bad thing.