In all walks of life there are rules. These rules are meant to create a recognizable structure of integrity within the confines of a subject, place, or area. For example, you have to be at work by a certain time, go on your breaks for a certain length of time, and leave at a certain time. Your clothing attire might even be regulated according to your job’s desired dress code. When you drive there’s speed limits set in place. Anywhere you go there are rules. Now me myself, I hate rules. I hate it when they are baseless and too many. Sometimes rules can be restricting and often attribute to individuals being dull, boring, and in a box. Too much of anything is bad for you, even water (yes water; the healthiest thing on this planet that you could possibly introduce to your body, but probably won’t because Pepsi, Coke, and pretty much anything full of sugar tastes too damn delicious, can be fatal if too much is ingested at one time). Too many rules placed upon a person in one area can burden and inhibit them to the point that they begin to reject them altogether. However, as I’ve gotten older I’ve witnessed the chaos that the lack of rules can create.
As my boy Alin would say “There is order in order” (yes I know, it’s redundantly obvious but for some reason it sounds right when he says it). That brings me to the subject of me and you, your typical sneakerhead. There were never any set list of “rules” to being a sneakerhead. Not that we NEED rules but it’s kind of like the pirates code from the movie “Pirates of the Caribbean”; they’re not really rules, they’re more like guidelines. So I decided to come up with some guidelines of sneaker etiquette.
Sneaker Guideline No. 1: Pink Is For Girls Only
Damn you Cam’ron. Why? No really. Why?! I feel like the waterboy when he found out his own coach, Coach Kline, leaked information about his school grades. It’s that same kind of confused betrayal that I feel every time some guy gets out of his car dressed in all pink looking like a ghetto Bret Hart.
Pink is that one color that’s genetically assigned to girls because of its feminine qualities and some dudes actually think that by sheer bravado they can make it look manly or even ‘gangsta’. That’s like saying I’m going to make this Whopper healthy or I’m going to make a Kardashian talented at something.
IT DOESN’T WORK. IT WON’T HAPPEN. So quit trying. Don’t get me wrong a little bit of pink is ok. Dressing up for Easter in a nice suit or small hints of pink on a shoe are fine. I’m talking about the shoes that look like it came out of “Hello Kitty’s” closet or the shoes a little girl would wear to her first slumber party. Yeah, those kinds of shoes. Pink is for girls…
Sneaker Guideline No. 2: Wash Your Ankles And Socks
You guys have seen our video reviews. You know how near and dear this is to my heart. Bad ankle hygiene has become an epidemic in this country. Mainly, you should already be accustomed to the idea of washing up period, but please pay special and close attention to your ankles and socks. A lot of shoes have white inside sock liners and can become an achilles heel of sorts (‘achilles’ is pronounced A-keel-ease. I recently saw a video of a black college student on “Wheel of Fortune” and for a moment I thought about voting Republican in the next election). Once that white sock liner turns off white or brown that sneaker is done.
Scrub. Exfoliate. Use rubbing alcohol if necessary. Wear clean or new socks. Those are the steps to “P.A.H.”, proper ankle hygiene. I don’t care how icy the bottoms of your sneakers are, if your sock liners look like you spilled gravy on them then you and your shoes deserve whatever shade comes your way. WASH YOUR ANKLES…and your socks.
Sneaker Guideline No. 3: Be Like Mike, Stick Your Tongue Out
Out of any sneaker the ‘Air Jordan’ has the most iconic tongues, but for some reason a lot of people walk around with their pants leg covering it up. You look like a nerd. It’s like you have no idea what you have on your feet.
Air Jordan’s are works of art and you’re covering up the best part. That’s like owning the “Mona Lisa” and hanging a curtain over half the picture. It sounds stupid AND it looks stupid. Mike had his tongue out so it only seems fitting to do the same with shoe that bears his name. Go ahead and try it and tell me it doesn’t look better. Go on I’ll wait… It looks better doesn’t it? See? Told you.
Sneaker Guideline No. 4: Quit Wearing Army Fatigue With Everything
Unless you are an actual soldier playing basketball on a military base somewhere in the world you should not wear army fatigue pants with sneakers. All that does is show everyone that despite your age you still don’t know how to dress yourself. It takes skill and taste to coordinate an outfit. Women love a guy who can dress. It takes no thought at all to throw on some green and brown pants with some black and red shoes. It doesn’t match. Why is this cool? Wearing army fatigue with any random sneaker colorway is tacky. It’s like people literally wake up and throw on the first pieces of clothing that they see in the morning.
If you’re going to wear black or dark colored sneakers then wear dark denim jeans or shorts. If you’re going to wear white or light colored shoes wear light denim jeans or shorts. Depending on the shoe you can switch it up, even throw in some khaki slacks or shorts. Most people dress from the feet up now so to me it should be easier to coordinate an outfit. If you don’t know how to dress find a close female in your life to assist you. They’ll know how to make you look good, especially to other women. But unless you’re currently enlisted in the U.S. military stay away from army fatigue. You’re terrorizing my eyes.
Sneaker Guideline No. 5: Check the Weather. Watch For Water. Mind Your Surroundings
There’s nothing more dope on a sneaker than a translucent outsole or ‘ice’ bottoms. They can literally make or break a shoe. But they are also one of the hardest parts of the shoe to maintain. Now a days they’re coming out with all of these different solutions and cocktails to make your outsoles icy again, but even still there are things you can do to prevent them from ‘yellowing’ as fast. One way is to watch the weather. Check to see if it’s going to rain or snow first before you pick what shoes you’re going to wear. Water accelerates the yellowing or oxidation process. If it’s going to rain that day then you might want to wear sneakers without icy outsoles.
The temperature also plays a part. Cool, damp air can cause yellowing as well. You never want to wear your icy outsoles in the cold or winter. Have some patience, you should have enough shoes to get you through until spring without ruining your ice bottoms. I always laugh when some hot release drops, like the Concord Air Jordan Retro 11, and everyone rocks them that day, that week, that month. Then after they ruin theirs and you wear yours months later they‘re asking you where did you get your shoes. I just look at them and tell them “from the store” (sarcasm never gets old, lol). Even if your outsole isn’t icy and it’s white instead you should still mind your surroundings. Stay away from grass and mud. Even watch out for dirt roads. The dust kicked up from the wind blowing can stain the white stitching on the upper and midsole, especially on the front toe box of the shoe. If you want to prolong the life of your ice bottoms only rock them on dry days with low humidity. If you’re going to be a sneakerhead paying ‘X’ amount of dollars on each sneaker I would think you would want to know this. I personally keep some beaters in my trunk just in case it decides to rain out of the blue. Be aware. Be prepared. Protect your shoe.
Like I said before, these aren’t necessarily ‘rules’ they’re more like guidelines. Hopefully the majority of sneakerheads agree with my assessment. For a while now there seemed to be a bunch of unwritten rules floating around that everyone would arbitrarily pick out like picking out the fruit in trail mix. Maybe writing them down will cause more awareness and dialogue on the subject. This is only part one. There will be more parts to follow. If you have a ‘rule’ or ‘guideline’ that you think we should add to the list let us know in the comment section below or tweet it with the hashtag, #SBDsneakeretiquette, and it might make it to our next installment of “Sneaker Etiquette” here on the website. Sneakerhead out.
Staff Opinion articles reflect that of the author and doesn’t necessarily reflect everyone at Sneaker Bar Detroit.