The term Sneakerhead is ubiquitous with Michael Jordan and the Air Jordan line. This was one of the first major pushes for branded footwear in the leisure market and was quickly reinforced not only by athletes but by a brewing hip hop subculture.

Hip hop spread the aspiration of owning this branded footwear to the masses. We continue seeing this today with Puma x Rihanna, Adidas x Pharrell Williams, Adidas x Yeezy, etc.

The sheer volume of artists, stars, and social media personalities has made the space more competitive over the years. It used to be a novelty to see an athlete with a new sneaker line, now it seems like shoe lines are a dime a dozen with the Kim Kardashians and Justin Biebers of the world.

What's missing from these new brands are that they aren't establishing 'collectibles' as part of their culture. This used to be the aspect of branded lines that made them sticky with consumers and gave the line staying power. With the volume of footwear competition in the market, a hyped social media presence and an aggressive marketing budget is being used in its stead.

What is rarely discussed with these newer branded lines are the material qualities (unless they're marketed as 'tech' driven for sportswear), and how the materials are sourced.

Brandon Cohn