Sneaker culture is far removed from the niche interest that it was just a few years ago. Seeing someone walking around wearing Adidas Yeezys or Off-White x Nike sneakers is a much more common occurrence than ever before. With that being said, would you expect to see your local pastor wearing a pair of "Red Octobers" to preach the Sunday sermon? The sight is much more common than people might think.
A 29-year old going by the name Tyler Jones has dedicated an entire Instagram account, aptly titled @Preachersnsneakers, to showing off well-known preachers in highly sought after sneakers and designer clothing. Operating for less than a month, the page has already amassed almost 110,000 followers intrigued by the premise of these church leaders wearing the most hyped-up sneakers on the market.
"I was watching a YouTube video of a Christian band I like and noticed that he was wearing some brown Yeezy Boost 750s," said Jones. "I knew the resale on those and was curious about how he was rocking such expensive sneakers. Then, I went on a deep dive on YouTube and noticed a lot of other church leaders wearing some serious heat."
The account's formula is fairly simple. Each post features a photo of a pastor in a pair of rare sneakers alongside the StockX listing of the product. Jones opts to include the item's resale over retail price to better indicate its current value.
Jones said his intention behind creating the account was purely for comedic purposes. While some followers are in on the joke, commenting about the "tithe to drip ratio" or referring to pastors as the "Virgil Mary," others have taken the photos of these preachers in expensive goods a little more seriously. Many are questioning the morals involved with these megachurch pastors flaunting these items.
"I think a lot of people that go to church and give to their churches expect some level of conservatism out of their pastors because it feels like anything else would be misusing the funds the church is giving them," Jones told Complex. "Initially, I couldn’t see a way that these pastors could justify wearing such valuable clothing. As I have processed the growth of this account, however, it has caused me to examine my own life and how I spend my money because it’s not much different. Ultimately, their heart behind why they wear certain things is between them and God."
Others are not as understanding of the practice. While Jones says there is a lot of healthy discussion that takes place in the comments section between both sides, he is doing his best to delete "anything clearly hateful or toxic" from the space. With a ton of new eyes shifting over to the Instagram account daily, Jones maintains that his only goal is to promote some fun and responsible conversations.
"I am definitely not the authority on what Christians should or should not spend their money on. I have quickly come to realize that everyone's situation is different and without knowing the heart behind why people wear what they wear, it’s impossible to judge."