Long-time listeners of hip hop music are all too familiar with the phrase “hip hop is dead,” and to hear those words uttered is to be certain that a debate will ensue, often heated.
But in 2017, the “hip hop is dead” debate has largely been laid to rest, a Google search for the phrase turning up little besides a recent Nas interview in which, ironically, a his 2006 album with that very phrase was ‘off the Mark’s.
There is a similar debate among sneaker buyers – particularly the older heads – who feel the game is not nearly as good as it was years ago overall.
As is always the case, there are two ways to view that positiveperception. Ultimately, though, like hip hop, there are surely some things better , and some less satisfying for some.
The weekend ending April 8th saw release strategies from two of the Big Three brands that , in my opinion, was representative the latter.
On Wednesday, April 5 , Nike released seven shoes from both it’s Basketball and Skateboarding lines.
Adidas had a UB, the Easy Mint, which also dropped on the 5th, but actually designated Thursday ,the 6th , as the time to release no less than fifteen (!) shoes. Nike, meanwhile , added two more shoes that day , via the neighborhood x Converse Motorcycle Pack
On Friday, Nike released brought back the Multicolor FK racer 2.0. Adi had four more drops to go with its fifteen from the day before: a 2-pair pack in collaboration with Reigning Champ, and two more signature hoopers.
For those keeping count, this means that thirty-one (many of them limited) pairs of sneakers from two of the Big Three released before the weekend (as if Wednesday and Thursday are now the main shopping days for buyers.) That number, of course, excludes the other brands, some of whom also had midweek drops.
Jordan Brand had but one shoe period to offer – a 13 – and did so on traditional Sneaker Saturday; Reebok’s three shoes rounded out weekend’s drops .
Time will tell, but the second weekend of April 2017 could be remembered as the moment when the sneaker game evolved from being merely oversaturated and over-collaborared, to truly having gone looney.
For 90% of a weekend’s kicks to have released before they Weekend shows that what was once a sparingly-used tactic to unclutter a big release weekend by spreading out the heat over two, maybe three, days has evolved into a hard-to-explain farce.
The sneaker game is certainly not dead, but, like hip hop, it has in many ways evolved into a scarcely recognizable version of its old self , for better or worse.
First things first:
The latest Harden vol. 1 and Dame 3 colorways were among the last adi shoes to drop for the weekend. They were also the least desirable, still available here and here. The women’s Triple White NMD R2 is also still sitting in many sizes.
As readers already know the Three Stripes shot its entire wad midweek.
It began its ‘big weekend’ with the women’s Easy Mint UB colorway . Though long gone from stores , it’s seen very few people chasing pairs into the aftermarket.
In contrast to Wednesday’s single release, adidas gave buyers an avalanche of shoes to buy – fifteen – the very next day. At least one-third of them were guaranteed to be hotly pursued, the rest likely to sell through in short order.
I suppose if a Sneaker News preview page features an adidas shoe with no item number, it means it is a special release that will be almost impossible to cop.
This was quite true for the City Sock Ronin Pack, which vanished (like a ninja) from retail.
The part of the story where the above leads into a discussion of how high the resale prices have climbed for the shoes since then has a twist: the shoes have resold for standard mark-ups, capped at around $250, with the most recent sales just above retail.
‘Twas virtually the same story with the very snazzy Two-Toned R2: it sold out (natch), but buyers have taken a firm stance against paying much more retail for pairs.
The other R2 pack was even less sought after.
Ditto the above.
Ditto the above.
It’s no surprise that the least-hot colorways of the XR1 would still be available in many sizes here, given the overall lack of enthusiasm for this NMD style.
It was surprising to see that the Vapour Pink R1 has actually been the most sought after of not just the other two R1 colorwaysaw, but of every other NMD to drop at the weekend. This is proof that the color is , without a doubt, having a moment.
The reverse – Gray and Pink colorway has sold almost as well, while the Sun Glow has seen scant action in the aftermarket.
An aside: Have buyers gotten wise to adi?
If one had asked sneakerheads which releases would be the biggest and resell for the most , the top guesses would’ve been the City Sock Ronin Pack, the Two Tone R2s, followed by Triple Black XR1 (only because it’s Triple Black). After those, many would probably have thrown in the striped R2s.
Most sneaker buyers wouldn’t have picked the Vapour Pinks. Technically speaking , the Vapour Pink R1s, draped in F**k Nike lore as they are (quick-striking on Air Max Day), and as dope as they are, still seem as if they should not be as significant as the market is they saying are.
The above is true , but only if one account only for silhouette cachet as the reason people buy kicks.
But, if we account for retail price set against silhouette cachet , and we understand that said cachet could be in decline as Adidas’s creativity seems to have reached a plateau, then the performance of the Pink pack R1s makes sense.
I’ve noted my own surprise at seeing price caps of around $200 for the Ronins, R2, and XR1 releases. Such reluctance by most buyers to go above that level is an indication that the hype for adidas is cooling off a bit as buyers become more used to an abundance of adi product releasing at regular intervals. They are thus no longer supporting the $250+ prices resellers logically seek for shoes that retail for close to $200.
That means that what was once a sellers market is turning into a buyers market for all but the most exclusive adi kicks – are NMDs getting played out?
Rhetorical question. All Adidas shoes are at the very least semi-limited, and regularly see strong retail support.
It therefore takes but a few savvy buyers to realize that if the resale market is constricting, then one need merely adjust ones focus to the cheapest NMD colorways. It makes little sense to cop a $180-plus-tax shoe to flip for $210, when one can cop a $130-plus-tax shoe, and have a wide range of acceptable prices to seek at resale. It’s the same reason ‘limited’ PG 1s sell out: budget pricing.
This is the only thing that can explain the topsy turvy resale action for Adidas’s April 6th slate:. It has entered the next phase of its market perception cycle. More on that later in the post.
On Friday , April 7th, adi dropped a two-pair collab with Toronto’s Reigning Champ, featuring a UB and AlphaBounce.
‘Twas a tale of extremes : the UB did what was expected of it…..
……As for the AlphaBounce,well….
….Let Stephan A’s expression tell it.
Those are available right here, proof once again that the adidas resurrection is not as,um, all- encompassing as it was once deemed.
Saturday – for many, the first day of the sneaker weekend – featured the final adidas drop: the Haven Triple Black UB.
These have logically fetched Elite resale prices in moderate volume.
Rewind: Summer, 2015
The weekend of June 27th , 2015 was a big one for sneaker drops.
The biggest release was Turtledove 350, a Yeezy drop at the time when they were strictly raffle-entry- and-a-prayer (or bot) pipe dream for most buyers.
For those who had learned from experience to not hold out too much hope for copping what was then the only significant adi silo, there was plenty of heat from Nike and the Jumpman, including the Shattered Backboard OG 1, the now-forgotten Jordan MTM Pack, the Atlas SB Dunk, Independence Day Nike Basketball Pack, plus numerous dope drops from Nikelab across the resurrected Sock Dart and Vandal silos.
With so much heat releasing at once, it is telling to see the way thr drops were spaced out. Nikelab, per tradition, opened the festivities on Thursday, with the Sock Darts and the Vandal. On Friday, the only shoe to drop was the Nike SB Dunk collab with San Francisco’s Atlas.
Saturday was , logically, the main event, with the Yeezy , Jordan Grails, Nike Hoops pack, and another Nikelab shoe, the Pigalle Dunk. In the background to all of this, Asics and Saucony released a few collabs on Friday and sneaker Saturday. It was such an orderly way to conduct a grail-heavy weekend.
April 5-7th, 2017
Fast-forward almost exactly two years into the future, and Nike is now dropping seven shoes from its Basketball and Skate divisions, plus two more from its Converse subsidiary (both collabs) on a Thursday, then another , seemingly limited shoe, the very next day.
At a glance one may ask “what’s the big deal; why is it not okay for the Swoosh to decide it wants to drop its shoes a bit early if it wants to – who cares?”
Welp, here’s the problem:
The Midweek Nike drop had generally been reserved for limited drops Nike either wanted to not directly clash with other Nike/Jordan shoes due to drop. Otherwise, it was a marketing move to get folks to come out as a warm-up for what was often a big- drop weekend.
It is thus lol funny when one considers that , of all the shoes Nike did release during the April 8th weekend, none were big , important drops. In fact , most of the shoes were shelf warmers , still available weeks after their release. So what was the hurry to try and get folks out and shopping on Thursday and Friday, with a total void (no shoe release) for Saturday? Marketing-wise, this was plain bizarre from Nike.
On the conspiracy theory tip, the Midweek Madness could have been the Swooshe’s way of marketing GRs as if they were somehow to be interpreted as limited edition kicks.
After all, the Summer Pack theme was branding straight from the Nike news feed itself, not a makeshift nickname the blogs gave the brightly-toned shoes. The fact that the pack was dropping just prior playoffs , and included a playoff edition Elite KD 9 (in addition to a surprise Nikelab colorway) surely added to the allure of what are otherwise unfortunately overlooked silos.
Overlooked silos, apart from those PG 1s.
The PG 1 has grabbed buyer’s attention due to the fact that it’s a new silo, relatively cheap, and has been marketed to build hype. This is in addition to it also supposedly being one of the best basketball shoes on the market right now.
As I’ve said before, despite whatever buyers may have thought based on midweek drop date, Summer Pack and Pink KD 9 were actually sitters. The Kobe AD (here) , KD 9 summer (here) and Pink Dust (here), plus the Kyrie 3 (here) are all still available over a week later in damned near every size.
The PG 1 Summer, on the other hand, is also still hanging around, but has clearly sold out of more sizes from stores who stocked it. This can almost surely be attributed to a gamble on the part of many buyers that the shoe was surely limited, and could be flipped-for-profit like some past colorways.
They were wrong, and those who took the plunge for to flip were surely glad to gotten about $40-$50 over box after the shoe, capped at less than $200 with a rapid fall-off . Nike’s ruse was sussed out , like Suarez with Sosa.
Converse Chuck ’70 High
On a zany sneaker weekend, it was fitting for a Nike flipper to come via none other than a duo of Converse Sneakers, in collaboration with Japan’s Neighborhood.
Readers might be hard pressed to recall the last significant Converse All-Star, so here’s a hint: it involved another big name Japanese label.
Releasing in the second week of 2017 , the Mastermind x Converse All-Star was well-received by the market, Mastermind’s eponymous Jolly Roger giving the legendary silo ( already steeped in bad-ass punk rock history) even more edge.
That shoe retailed for over $200,and has maintained resale prices of double that.
The Neighborhood Chucks , budget priced at just a $100 MSRP provided the impetus for buyers to cop the motorcyle-themed shoes into a sell-out on the same Thursday as the NBB Summer Pack.
And just like that, Nike magic had happened again: a pair of Chucks became instantly sneakerhead significant, instantly worth more than double its box price. It was yet another example of a big drop for an otherwise classic but not-for- resale silhouette.
One star ’74
Ditto the other half of the collab, One Star ’74, reselling for similar amounts as the Chuck ’70 , which actually meant the shoe was the more profitable of two (it retailed for $10 less). But again, one should not think that the big release will presage big things for a silo for which many pairs are allowed to wallow the aftermarket at prices half those of the NBHD’s current prices.
As for the multicolor FK Racer, okay, I lied when I said that the midweek releases did not feature any big bring-backs from Nike .
But, when a retro classic is still available in an FSR at it’s (perfect? Or overpriced?) $150 MSRP, is that okay?
Is Nike destroying the legacy of a certified classic? Hmmmmm.
SB blazer Low AC
Mentioning the Brave Blue Jordan 13 Low (the lone Jumpman release for the weekend ) seems such an anticlimax after the craziness the Swoosh and Three Stripes engaged in during the week.
Nevertheless, the Brave Blue 13 Low made its first return in nearly 20 years, and can still be had at retail , as of this writing.
Heat or pass; that’s the Jumpman way baby.
Puma saw fit to drop another duo of of Rihanna’s creepers, adding to the much-discussed Thursday onslaught. The $150 ‘beauts in classic all-Black and White/Black cracked leather fetched a few early birds who parted with the double ($200). Action for these cooled rapidly once the shoes – still available via Bloomingdale’s in a few sizes – released.
It’s hard to knock anything Puma is doing in riding the coattails of its creative director, it just seems that the RiRi Pumas are perfectly-priced slow-burners that are not for the quick-flip.
Like the woman herself, the shoes are too classy for that.
Saturday’s only other sneakers to join the 13 were all from Reebok.
RBK dropped another Instapump collab, a Brown and Cream Camo number with Beams that qualifies at a glance, as one of the best colorways of the year for the silo.
The shoe is MIA.
In addition to that, Sneaker Politics and Humidity combined for a Premium workout Low celebrating the NO’s connection to the shoe.
That is still available here.
Lastly , the Zoku Runner appeared in multicolor,sold out, and saw a few nutjobs willing to pay premium prices for pairs on eBay.