Written by Matt Welty (@matthewjwelty)
Before I run the risk of sounding like an old, disgruntled sneakerhead who's telling people how to run their social media lives, hear me out: I'm not against people posting pictures of their sneakers on Instagram, but some people need to chill out with how ridiculous and attention-seeking they make their #sneakerhead, #WDYWT, #instakicks, and #igsneakercommunity photos. Please.
If someone wants to beat their sneakers, do it the old-fashioned way: By actually wearing them over time and not trying to destroy them in one fell swoop.
As of late, sneakerheads have gone from simply capturing what's on their feet and posting it on Instagram to trying to take the most extreme sneaker photos of all time.
If you haven't been paying attention, it's becoming common for sneakerheads to throw on a desirable sneaker and completely trash it (or at least make it look that way) by stomping in a puddle of mud, standing in a flowing stream of water, or wearing the sneakers as the waves crash in at the beach. And it all needs to stop.
No amount of Jason Markk applied to a pair of LeBrons that have been waded through a murky river will wash off the shame the wearer has after they've posted it. This trend, which seems like a "fuck you" to anyone who cares about keeping their sneakers clean and pristine, is just as pathetic and lame as people who gingerly walk around in their Air Jordans or limited sneakers and dust them off nightly.
Going foot-first into a puddle with heat on screams "I want attention" just as much as a girl taking a photo of herself in a bikini with the caption "Can't wait until summer" in the middle of February in order to instantly get 30 social media "likes." (Not that there's anything wrong with that.)
We've long championed the mantra: "Wear your kicks," but putting on a pair of sneakers—that the wearer, presumably, went through leaps and hurdles to obtain—only to intentionally ruin them is something we can't co-sign. If someone wants to beat their sneakers, do it the old-fashioned way: By actually wearing them over time and not trying to destroy them in one fell swoop.
If someone wanted to show that sneakers were just sneakers, they'd buy them, wear them, and not take pictures of them in the process. Or, if these so-called "'Gram Flexers" wanted to prove how much they don't hold sneakers to an unreachable level, they'd take Instagram flicks of themselves doing normal things in their coveted kicks. You know? Documenting life, which was what Instagram was intended for in the first place. Instead, they chose to abuse their sneakers and shoot high-quality photos of the process.
But the core of this issue is people taking these insane photos to roll in the likes or grasp a bit of sneakerhead fame. There are plenty of worthwhile ways for people to get accolades within the sneaker community: They can donate their sneakers to a charity, help their friends obtain their grails, or start a blog that contributes to the ongoing conversation about sneakers.
Intentionally ruining sneakers is a race to the bottom to get pictures shared and posted across the Internet. Yes, we're guilty of posting these photos as well, but it's a knee jerk reaction to how absurd they are. If you truly didn't care about your sneakers, why would you be taking a picture of them in the first place?
It's stunting on a level that makes someone a dick, and is in effect not much different than throwing out a half-eaten burger in front of someone who's starving. Hopefully, though, some of these people will look into the puddle they're stepping in and reflect on how stupid their picture is before they snap it.