Joe Rogan Trolls Sneakerheads, Ends Up Liking Panda Dunks

Rogan has a history of joking about hypebeasts and sneakerheads, but has started to get into sneakers himself.

Joe Rogan Wearing Nike Dunks
Joe Rogan in the “Panda” Nike Dunk Low. Via Rogan
Joe Rogan Wearing Nike Dunks

I highly doubt that Joe Rogan is a sneakerhead in any form or fashion. But that’s not why people watch his show. The comedian turned podcaster and UFC commentator is a modern day renaissance man of sorts, but shoe collector hasn’t been added to his list of descriptors. That doesn’t stop Rogan from occasionally commenting on sneakers and hype culture and even wearing a cool sneaker here and there. For many, Rogan is a love-him-or-hate-him personality, causing controversy at every turn, whether justified or not. So it makes sense that him wearing the Nike “Panda” Dunks this week, the most divisive sneaker ever, is a topic for discussion.

Rogan wore the Panda Dunks during episode #2136 of the Joe Rogan Experience, which was an archaeology debate he hosted between Graham Hancock and Flint Dibble. The sneakers weren’t visible during the episode, but he posted a picture of himself wearing them to Instagram on Tuesday. Being a somewhat-regular viewer of his podcast, I had to post the picture on Twitter, it being an intersection of my worlds. The comments were mixed. Some people opined that they don’t know why the shoe is hated on. Others commented about how tight he tied his sneakers. Some wondered if this was the moment the “Panda” Dunk sneaker finally died.

I don’t think the last one is the case. The sneaker has been worn by plenty of people with even less interest in sneakers than Rogan. And that’s totally OK. It’s the most general release of GR, somewhat cool sneakers. It was meant to be, and someone isn’t lame for wearing Pandas. Wearing them may not make them instantly cool. But plenty of uncool people have worn some of the coolest sneakers of all time, and it didn’t instantly transform them the second they laced them up.

When it comes to Panda Dunks, I’m at the point where it’s live and let live. If you want to wear them, knock yourself out. It still doesn’t stop it from being a little funny seeing Rogan sport a pair.

It’s not the first time he’s worn a notable pair of hype sneakers, though. In the past he’s worn Air Max 97s while hosting Dave Portnoy. Or even laced up rarer things such as the Clot x Fragment x Nike Dunks to watch Sean Strickland beat Israel Adesanya in September 2023. And even simpler white SB Dunks, too. Rogan’s worn 70s Chuck Taylors to hang with Jelly Roll in May 2023. But most fitting is his love for the Nike Air Monarch, in the classic white and blue, that he’s worn absolutely choked out alongside the likes of The Rock.

To those who watch the show, it’s no surprise that Rogan has had a brush with sneaker culture. His producer, “Young” Jamie Vernon, is an actual sneakerhead and has peppered sneaker topics into his show over the years. Remember, Rogan talks about everything, so for sneakers to come up a handful of times over thousands of episodes isn’t the biggest shocker.

In the past, he’s made comments about Yeezys. In January 2018, Vernon got Rogan a pair of Adidas Yeezy 350v2s during an episode with comedian Tom Papa.

“What level of outrage would there be if I wore these to run the mountains?” Rogan asked. “It’s weird how they have this military number style thing on the side like it’s some kind of fucking Korean missile.”

A few months later, with Papa reappearing as a guest, Rogan admitted he hadn’t worn the Yeezys yet.

“I judge people when I see them with Yeezys on,” Rogan said. “I’ve considered running through a creek and filming it. Because people love these things so much. But I don’t want to run in them. I like running in shoes that you’re actually supposed to be running in.” 

“They’re dumb,” he added later. “If you’re mad at me for what I’d do with a pair of sneakers, then you’re a fucking idiot. You need to get your shit together.”

View this video on YouTube

Rogan getting a pair of Adidas Yeezy Boosts.

In October 2020, Rogan ended up having Kanye West as a guest on his show. During the episode, West revealed that he wanted Foam Runners to cost $20.

In January 2020, in an episode with Michael Malice, Rogan joked about his kids wanting Off-White x Nike sneakers and how dumb he thought the tag on them was. "What's up with the sneakers that kids are wearing that have a fucking green tag on 'em?" Rogan wondered. "Off-White? That's what it is. I was buying a pair of Nikes for my kid, and they were like, 'Oh, those are Off-White.' I was like, 'What's up with this green thing?' [They said], 'Oh, you leave that on.' [I said], 'Fuck you, I'm not leaving this stupid plastic tag on. No, you don't leave that on.' And these are huge. They're cumbersome, they look dumb. They wear them on their shoe, it's part of the thing. The person was trying to explain it to me, 'It's part of the brand.'"

Rogan went on to say he’d prefer to cut them off with a knife and joked that the sneakers were a conspiracy planned by the Russian, Chinese, or Iranian government to make American children dumb.

Vernon introduced Rogan to the Supreme hype culture and the absurdity of some of the brand’s items, like the Supreme brick and crowbar. In an October 2017 episode with Joey Diaz, Vernon told Rogan that people would wait three or four days in line for such Supreme items. 

“For what?” Rogan asked. “People wait in line for bricks? Fucking kids today. This is what happens when kids don’t go outside and play sports and they just stay at home and play video games.”

View this video on YouTube

Rogan reacts to Supreme.

It’s funny to see Rogan go from staunch hype culture critic to dabbling in it himself. But it doesn’t make him a hypocrite. They’re just shoes and he hangs out with sneaker guys like Vernon and Brendan Schaub. And, to my knowledge, he’s not trying to pull the wool over the world’s eyes to make people believe he’s a sneakerhead. He’s just a dad in his 50s wearing things he likes. Even if it runs up against the grain of things he’s shot down in the past.