Up until now you had to be an athlete, celebrity, or another brand–with ties to fashion and sneakers–in order to put your name on a sneaker collaboration. But times have changed, and brands, at least as of now, Saucony, realize that you don’t have to be any of those things to still be considered a brand influencer. Sneaker culture has grown to unbelievable levels in the last 10 years, giving fame and exposure to facets of the culture that no one could foresee. One of those facets is YouTube. Everyone has watched a YouTube sneaker review. You can’t help but run into them on YouTube. I’ve looked up shit that has nothing to do with sneakers, only to have a sneaker review video suggested as something I watch next. It’s hard to escape it. It’s the new wave. Now everyone and their mother wants to create a YouTube channel, vlogging and recording sneaker review videos.

Affectionately called “ShoeTubers”, they’ve become the new brand influencers. Nowadays kids view the YouTube screen in the same light as they do the television screen and the movie screen. Case and point, Sneaker Con. Go to a Sneaker Con and watch the reaction these guys get. It’s insane. Whether you like it or not, these guys have a following.

Most didn’t get into it for the notoriety. At least in the beginning. For them it was a way to express themselves about something they enjoyed. Sneakers. Over time they’ve been able to capitalize on their YouTube channels and brand themselves. Becoming entrepreneurs in the process. They in some way added an extra lane on the sneaker culture freeway. There’s a lot of debate about how wrong or right it is. Who’s real and who’s fake. But that’s another debate for another time. For now, this is a moment to take a step back to take into how far sneaker culture has come. For any sneakerhead, getting to create and collaborate on your own sneaker is probably the biggest honor one could receive in sneaker culture. It’s like the Nobel Peace Prize for sneakerheads. It’s one thing to iD a shoe. It’s another to have a prominent brand acknowledge you, work with you to develop said shoe, and then put your name on it. Never before did anyone think that was possible. These guys started off like the rest of us. They’ve just been fortunate enough, and blessed, to have their hard work pay off and receive this opportunity. This is not a moment to hate. This is a moment to congratulate them, as we would want others to do if we were in their position.

That brings us to Saucony. This is forward thinking on their part. Surprisingly, no one has thought to do something like this yet. Quite honestly, I would’ve bet my money on one of the larger sneaker brands to put this collaboration together. But if we all sit back and think about, Saucony has been lowkey putting out some heat for a minute. No they don’t get the same level of hype attached to their upcoming release dates as say an @!r J*rd#n or a Y%%zy, but its heat nonetheless. They’ve been keeping their ear to the ground. (If only they listen to my constant bitching about the lack of size 15s, this would be a win-win. But I digress). Unlike other brands, they’re not trying to dictate what should move you. They’re listening to and watching what moves us. And that’s the inherent difference. This pack is a game changer. It symbolizes that on some level they see us as more than just a consumer of their product and that they’re willing to acknowledge and reward the individuals who create their own lanes in sneaker culture. And that maybe, just maybe, any one of us can go on to receive our sneaker “Nobel Peace Prize” one day.

Officially dubbed the Saucony Originals “Originators Only” Collection, it will release in two parts. The first of which will release on this Friday, August 11, at 12pm EST. The collaborating ShoeTubers in this first half are: @SneakerShouts, @YoAnty, @TylerJBlake, @TonyD2Wild, and @SneakerheadintheBay. The remainder of this pack will release on Friday, August 25, at 12pm EST, and will feature collaborations from: @Bull1trc, @MrFoamerSimpson, @RealDJDelz, @HesKicks, and @EddieWinKicks. Both drops will only be available exclusively on Saucony.com. Each shoe will retail for $120. The size run is in men’s and will range from a size 8-14. Oh, by the way, these will be limited. (oh now you want them. Lol). Each sneaker in the collection is limited to 100 pairs available.