With the decade soon coming to an end, I felt the need to reminisce and highlight the major changes in pop culture throughout the past several years, specifically in the shoe and music industry. It is hard to think of a world without music and sneakers nowadays as they have slowly become a part of our lives and cultures.

The Sneaker Game

A decade ago, social media weren’t much of a thing or at least, not as much of as it is now. Platforms such as Facebook and Twitter were already there in the early 2010s, however the widespread use of social media boomed in the middle of the decade, up to a point now where it made sense for almost everyone to have an Instagram or Facebook account. With the increasing popularity and usage of social media, the sneaker game saw an influx of social media influencers. The practice of buying and selling sneakers through these platforms have never been easier, thanks to the technological breakthroughs we had.

The above-mentioned growth of social media eases shoe companies to market to customers. Instead of spending huge sums of money for commercial budgets, companies could just advertise to their target markets through social media platforms. As a consequence, companies are able to allocate this budget to increase the frequency of shoe production and releases.

However, the emergence of resellers affects the sneaker game significantly. People used to traditionally visit manufacturer stores such as Nike and Adidas, whereas now resellers are dominating the secondary market by buying out stocks of newly released sneakers. It has been increasingly difficult to acquire the sneaker one wants as they are almost immediately sold out online even before one has a chance to purchase them. As a result, most hyped sneakers are being resold at a price relatively higher than their retail prices.

Hip-Hop Culture

Not to be forgotten, the sneaker game and hip-hop culture are inevitably linked to one another. In the mid-10s, the hip-hop genre started taking over the music industry due to unexceptionally successful albums, mixtapes and singles from famed artists such as Drake, Kendrick Lamar, Travis Scott, Kanye West and so on. These major artists started collaborating with various shoe brands, which essentially leads to the convergence of fashion towards streetwear. Sneakers such as Kanye’s Yeezys and Travis’ Air Jordans are just ubiquitous, the demand for these shoes are extremely high, resulting to them being resold at prices way above their retail price.

Worth mentioning too is the convergence of fashion powerhouses such as Gucci, Balenciaga, Dior, etc. towards streetwear. These companies are surprisingly able to keep up with the sneaker game with their remarkable sneaker releases such as the Gucci Ace and the Balenciaga Speed Trainers. Having Kim Jones as its creative director, Dior too is able to compete with its own unique Dior Oblique sneakers and its upcoming collaboration with the Jordan Brand on the Air Dior. Surprisingly though, is the fact that these high-end and relatively pricey sneakers are just as popular as the Jordans in the mid-2010s.

Looking back, fashion came a long way from oversized jeans, wallet chains and bandanas to a subtler, more simplistic and minimalistic style a decade later. The sneaker game in the previous decades were just limited to the extent of owning a work shoe and a sneaker for yard work. In the contemporary era, the sneaker game has become part of our pop culture nonetheless.

Words by: Devin
Header Credits: Hypebeast
Source: Complex, Forbes