The 15 Things We Hate In Sneakers Right Now

Leave it all in 2015, every single one.

Every year our obsession with sneakers brings us closer and closer to the edge. 2015 was no exception. There were ups and downs within "sneaker culture," for lack of a better word, and some downs were a little further down than others. This past year saw its fair share of awful trends, from brands trying to profit from technology owned by other companies to desperate attention-grabs from social media wannabes destroying shoes just for the likes. We know people get offended when they're called out for lame behavior with their shoes. But guess what: It's a new year and there are a few things that need to addressed (and left in the past). Don't get caught doing any of this nonsense in 2016, because these are The 15 Things We Hate in Sneakers Right Now.

Extreme Sneaker Selfies

Image via Complex

Graffiti culture in the 1970s and '80s birthed the idea of striving to get a piece up as high as possible, with graffiti writers outdoing one another to get their tags on the biggest billboards. The same thinking is alive in the sneaker world, and it's spawned sneaker selfies taken hanging out of helicopters and off the tops of the highest buildings, resulting in the ultimate flex and test of fortitude. But things aren't that serious, and some people, specifically in Russia, have been climbing dangerously high buildings just to take a photo for Instagram. Some have died in the process. There haven't been any reports on deaths taking sneaker-specific photos, but the whole idea needs to be put to rest before there are any. Snap a shot of your shoes in your neighborhood on the sidewalk. It's just as cool. Matt Welty


Too Many Collabs on One Silhouette

Image via Complex

Inherently, there is nothing wrong with letting a bunch of different shops and brands and the likes collaborate on the same silhouette. Take, for example, the Reebok Pump Fury, which was done up in 20 different ways for its 20th anniversary in 2014. A futuristic silhouette that STILL seems ahead of its time, the Fury was an excellent starting point to let retailers go wild with different materials and patterns and textures. Each one seemed to be a relatively small run, and most disappeared relatively quickly. It was a quirky way to celebrate a significant anniversary of a significant design. It worked out much better than 2009's similar treatment of the original Reebok Pump, an equally significant, but virtually unwearable shoe. But, let's not get carried away. With collabs finding their way far afield from their original collaborator shops, all collections like this do is flood the market with a particular silhouette, occasionally one that people don't necessarily want one, let alone 20, of. If your treatment of a special design actually makes it less special, you're doing it wrong. RB


Grown Men Crying Over Not Making the Cut

Image via Know Techie

So Complex.com has released one of our many lists and despite having like, so many Instagram followers and the most expertly filtered images of sneakers you've been gifted, you did not make the list. What's the first thing you do? Take to Twitter and rant about why you are so much better than everyone on the list but are always overlooked, right?

Cry me a river. It's become practically expected that once any publication releases a list of individuals in the space that there will be that one guy approaching his absence on said list like Kanye in 2013 during the Zane Lowe interview yelling about leather joggers. First, you are not Kanye. As we've explained in the past, he is an anomaly and you are not. Second, you are an adult. Take your L, quietly. Perhaps you can text a friend? Or your mom? Or just do better. The fastest way to never make is crying about how much you deserve to be on the list. Plenty of people's work speaks for itself. Look into it. Think otherwise? @ ME BRO. Rae Witte


Psuedo Luxury Sneakers

Image via Wish ATL

The mainstream has caught onto the fact that some people like luxurious, minimal sneakers and are willing to pay the price for the look. Perhaps sneaker brands have finally noticed that Common Projects’ business is booming, but as a result we’ve been subjected to the pseudo-luxurification of sneakers and we’re not exactly fans. This gripe isn’t exclusive to higher price points though. Instead, it’s more about brands reaching too far outside their wheelhouse and selling us a product that doesn’t feel authentic.

The titans of the sneaker world must have looked at what fashion brands have done with their minimal, simplistic and high quality sneakers and said “we should do that too.” The only problem is that it feels artificial and forced—a money play to capitalize on our fetish for all things “premium.” It isn’t in the coveted, all-important brand DNA they mention when speaking about design inspiration. Contrary to popular belief, not every brand needs to be a luxury brand. ​—Skylar Bergl


Sneaker Beef on Twitter

Image via Wikipedia

Everyone loves a good fight, but there's a time and place for it all. Twitter, like most of the Internet, is not the place to start feuds, especially about sneakers. It's cool to get into debates from time to time and perhaps tell someone their opinion is trash, but wanting to get into a full-blown scrap because of a tweet is lame. And it's hardly the reason to get into a physical altercation. While these episodes might be entertaining for outsiders, they're completely unnecessary. If you have a real beef with a sneaker person, handle it like these two teens at Sneaker Con last year. Matt Welty


Retailers Acting Like Resellers

Image via Nike Talk

Sneakerheads hate paying a premium and having to jump through unnecessary hoops all for a pair of shoes—which are just a few reasons why they look down on resellers. Lately, however, it seems that retailers have become the new resellers. If you want a chance at limited-edition products, raffles have become a necessary evil to prevent violence and maintain a level of fairness among consumers. It gets out of hand, though, when shoppers are expected to complete a laundry list of social media requirements just for a chance to purchase a pair of sneakers. Whatever happened to just going to a store and getting handed a raffle ticket? But then again, raffles aren’t exempt from shady practices. Even worse than rigged raffles are the ones in which stores require you to make an additional purchase just to participate. Raffles were originally implemented to make sneaker releases easier for shoppers and give everyone a fair chance—but now, even that system is broken. —John Marcelo


Unboxing

Image via Hypebeast

Unboxings occupy one of the weirdest corners of the Internet. In the sneaker world, they serve little to no real purpose other than showing off a new pair of sneakers (free or purchased) that a YouTuber received and some surface-level analysis. The suede or leather is “buttery,” the “quality” (whatever that actually means) is good, there are some extra laces included, and maybe there are a few bits of exposed glue or a nice design detail to put close to the camera. I wasn’t around for the early days of sneaker unboxings, so maybe there was more to it when the craft first started. But now, with the saturation of sneaker YouTubers and the never-ending release calendar, it’s shifted into something closer to elevator music that can play in the background without any deep thoughts. You know it’s a sad state of affairs when Brad Hall existing adds some intrigue to how boring unboxings are. Now, for some reason, YouTubers have started to receive free, typically low quality, clothing and include those “pickups” as a part of their unboxing videos as well. It has to stop somewhere. Leave unboxings in 2015, please. Skylar Bergl


Hating on DJ Khaled

Image via Complex

We’re hoping in 2016, sneaker heads take themselves a lot less seriously. The hate for DJ Khaled has been well-documented when it comes to “old school” sneaker enthusiasts, but over the past year Khaled has become one of the biggest personalities in a mostly monotonous culture. Does Khaled have the same resume as some of the OGs? Probably not. But as our friends at FourPins.com once put it, he’s basically a walking meme whenever he’s in front of the camera. Whether he's hilariously re-naming sneakers or coming up with catchphrases (cough cough, don’t ever play yourself), it’s time to realize Khaled is in on the joke, and to sit back and laugh. Don't forget that Khaled has all of the sneakers that people are looking for nowadays, too, including hits such as "Oregon" Air Jordans and Yeezy Boosts, which is more than some. JLP


Sneaker Packs

Image via Nike

Few things are worse than not being able to afford a pair of sneakers you really want. Whether you struck out on release day and are forced to pay resale prices or they were simply just too expensive, it’s a rough situation. But neither of those are as bad as the idea of sneaker packs. Sneaker packs are basically a way for brands to say, “Do you want this shoe? Well you’ll have to pay more than double the usual price and also take this other, not as good shoe along with it.” People would have lined up around the block for those MTM Air Jordan Is that dropped even if they were $300, but because they were packaged alongside a XX9 and sold together for $700, the shoe came and went without much discussion. One thing about sneakerheads is that they like what they like and don’t want something that's forced upon them. That’s exactly what sneaker packs do. Brands should realize that by now. —​Skylar Bergl


Bringing Back Silhouettes No One Cares About

Image via Finish Line

There are two kinds of retros that people want. The first kind are the ones that people ACTUALLY want, like Air Jordan 1s and Stan Smiths and Chuck Taylors and such. Timeless classics that are always in style and will always (more or less) sell through. The second group is much larger, and are models that people THINK they want, mostly because they can't get them. This encompasses models like the Reebok Shaq Attaq or the Nike Command Force, shoes that seemed to be in high demand right up to when they became available, at which point they sat. And sat. And sat. Sneaker aficionados can be a fickle bunch, and some of us desperately want something only as long as we can't actually get it. Then of course there are the vintage models that no one is clamoring for that brands bring back anyway. Like hey, maybe there's a reason that takedown runner hadn't been seen since the last pair disappeared off a clearance table back in 1991? In 2016, it would be cool if brands left us wanting more instead of rushing to bring back models that no one even wanted the first time. RB


Destroying Shoes Intentionally

Image via Complex

There isn't a bigger flex than giving zero fucks about something most people thirst over. Understandable. It’s become an ongoing trend to destroy highly-coveted sneakers this year and to be honest, it’s tired. We saw Nike Air Mags and Supreme x Jordan Vs dipped in paint in the name of "art." We also witnessed someone drench Yeezy's in liquid nitrogen, freezing them and smash them with a sledgehammer which screams, "I have too much time on my hands." You can't give one good reason why this is a good idea. No one can. Instagram likes? New Twitter followers? A post on Complex.com? Fifteen seconds of Internet fame? You "sneakerheads" intentionally destroying everyone else's favorite footwear have essentially become the thirst-traps of the sneaker industry. Further, most of the sneakers falling victim to these guys desperate for attention from the comment section of your favorite sneaker site have resell values of at least a couple hundred dollars. You might as well light a couple bills on fire and let all your Snapchat followers watch 'em burn. Rae Witte


Customs

Image via Paint or Thread

Taste is subjective, and everyone is entitled to his or her opinion on what they think is a good look. This holds true whether you’re talking about clothes, art or, yes, sneakers. Having said all that, some things are just…bad. The custom sneaker market has had a few highlights (The Shoe Surgeon, Mache, JBF), but for the most part there are a lot of individuals doing too much. Sometimes a “South Beach” colorway just looks better on a LeBron 8. And not every Yeezy colorway looks good on a non-Yeezy sneaker. We’re hoping 2016 is the year those doing top-tier customizing aren’t grouped into those who are painting cartoon characters on a Jordan IV. JLP


Restocks of Shoes That Didn't Sell Out

Image via Nike

Nike’s quarterly restocks used to be everything. They gave customers another shot at coveted sneakers for retail price. And if you still missed out on your first choice, a Nike Sportswear quickstrike or a limited NikeLab release, there were plenty of other styles you had a shot at getting. In 2015, everything changed—prices went up and too many styles were on the market. Sneakers just weren’t selling out as fast as they used to, if at all. In the past, restocks were highly anticipated second chances. Now, restocks consist of sneakers that sat on shelves for weeks to begin with or are still available through other stores. When the term “restock” is simply used as a marketing tactic, it’s not working. Why would sneakerheads bite on a pair of sneakers that they had plenty of chances at purchasing for retail price just weeks before? —John Marcelo


Complaining About Prices

Image via Nike

Nearly everything has gotten more expensive over time; it's called inflation, and it's happened in the footwear industry, too. For various reasons, sneaker prices have hit an all-time high, and shoes that cost $185 a year ago are now being sold for $220. This jump, coupled with New Balances that retail near $400, has led many to believe that sneaker prices are out of control. Here's the half of it: sneakers are going to get pricier as time goes on and brands up their quality, while trying to take a chunk out of the never-ending resale market. It's inevitable. But sneaker collectors have always complained about lack of quality on shoes, and now the brands are giving them what they want, albiet at an added premium. The sneakers aren't selling as quickly, and people can purchase them at retail prices. Is it really so bad after all? Matt Welty


Skechers Ripping Off Every Brand

Image via Four Pins

It’s one thing for a generic, no-name brand to rip off sneaker companies, but when the culprit is a legitimate brand with a successful presence in the U.S., it’s a terrible look. With no shame, Skechers decided to blatantly knock off adidas’ Stan Smith and Pure Boost and Nike’s Flyknit Air Max. Not only did Skechers copy brands, they also manipulated shoppers—a search of “adidas Originals” and “Stan Smith” on Skechers’ website led shoppers to the knockoff version of the classic tennis sneaker that the company sold. Skechers knows exactly what it's been doing and paid the ultimate price after being sued by adidas and Nike. Ironically enough, Skechers even sued Steve Madden for copying a Skechers sneaker design—one that was basically a copycat of the Nike Air Woven. It’s no secret that the footwear industry is filled with knockoff products, but a reputable brand that brings itself down to the same level as a replica producer is just disgraceful. John Marcelo​


Show Comments