As a longtime fiend for sportswear in all its forms, I can’t help but suspect that we’re reaching the end of a cycle. A few shoes are still worshipped, while the majority — many of which were breaking the internet 18 months ago — are just gathering dust. Even resellers can’t be arsed with some releases. As a fan, I’m happy to see it — audience apathy forces brands to get interesting. A boom time will leave speculators with worthless piles of the last year’s releases, just as they left people with a stack of colourful retro basketball shoes in 2008. Brands tried to wife the groupies by releasing “sneakerhead”-centric product rather than sticking to their mission statements. There were keyrings and little posters made, plus colourful socks and dainty Instagram toe taps. YouTube celebs “reviewed” products by describing some free shoes from a sportswear retailer to you and then wearing them with weird cuffed chinos. There were big shows where miserable people sold trainers as colossal markups to miserable people who didn’t know why they wanted anything. Some folks made some awful documentaries featuring the same old stories. People actually boasted about wearing their shoes, or buying what they like, as if doing normal things was something to admire. Abysmal features in major press outlets talked about some cult of connoisseurs and featured soundbites from imbeciles. It’s indiscriminate. All this under the banner of a big fake thing called “sneaker culture.”
Let it all burn down, and let’s keep it moving. Sports footwear appreciation isn’t going anywhere soon, but it needs to shed that “sneaker culture” skin and get a reboot. That’s why I respect the elusive Corgishoe (BubbaEla1 on NikeTalk) more than the majority in the industry. Hoarding shoes in the late 1990s 2000s, Corgi ended up with a multi-brand, full size run stash of sleepers that you don’t see too often. Having done a bid, locked up during a peculiar time for the industry, his amassed collection (and Corgi isn’t seeking a certificate, but his collection might have been one of the world biggest) included some sought-after pieces that caused some commotion. Instead of being the shoe game Richie Aprile on his release, Corgi capitalised on the appetite of shoes and side-stepped eBay’s nonsense ruling by selling though a matter-of-fact WordPress that included once-plentiful store exclusive Air Max 90s I’ve never seen anywhere else this decade. He has since switched to Instagram, where he does brisk business and humiliates deadbeats and white boys that say “bruh” or the n-word (inevitably, the three tend to go hand in hand). Rather than being some relic of the bygone era, this dog-loving, Tinder-sliding, calisthenic-practising sports fanatic represents a bullshit-free purity in a world gone mad. Usually he seems to speak with his thumbs (bar a nice GQ appearance and a few Q&As a few years back), but the Don Drew managed to get Corgishoes in front of the webcam for 83-minutes for an episode of The Sitdown, where he spoke candidly on the subject of sneakers. This isn’t a man looking for approval, but I co-sign the majority of what he has to say too.