It's 8:01 a.m. (EST) and you missed out on the latest and greatest at Nike.com. What are you going to do? Go on Twitter and vent your frustration or laugh it off? Are you going to smile because there's always the next thing? Or will you sigh a breath of relief because now you can use that money you would have spent on sneakers on something more meaningful like say, rent?
Last Friday, sneaker celebrity Jacques Slade released the music video for "Get Lucky (Nike)", a hit parody of Daft Punk's summertime anthem. The video features Slade and various sneaker bloggers and personalities (including myself) having fun and singing along to the catchy tune. For any other pursuit, it would be normal - almost expected, really - for somebody to do a parody of a popular song like "Get Lucky". But in the sneaker community, the video is an outlier in a world of performance reviews, boring unboxings and exposes both real ("those shoes are fake because you got them early and I'm too smart to fall for it") and imagined ("those shoes are fake because you got them early and I'm jealous").
The video is a stark reminder of the one thing - fun - that's missing in the sneaker game. In the past few years it has evolved from a niche hobby for the most hardcore of fans to being on the cusp of mainstream. Thanks to the prevalence of sneaker blogs and social media, what is being worn, who is wearing it and why it "matters" has never been more "important". The chase to be first for the sake of getting the most retweets, likes and sneakerhead nods is so critical to people these days and as a result, the number of opportunistic resellers - and the various methods they employ to get the sneakers first - who are preying on these attention seekers has also grown. That's why when a highly anticipated pair of kicks drop, most of the responses we see on social media is hurt feelings and people complaining about a system that's out to get them.
Occasionally the big sneaker blogs out there will try to capture the hilarious moments that come from these releases and try to find the humor in all of this, but they are often met with negativity and scorn from the community because they feel that others are having a laugh at their expense. What they fail to realize is that while it's not always fun miss out on a pair, the only way to get over it is to laugh at the situation and explore other ways to get it, like waiting for a restock, which happens so often these days save for the most exclusive of releases.
For all the attention being paid to 90s sneakers and culture, the one thing we all failed to take from that era was the fun. It's not just sneakerheads that are taking things too seriously though. Look at the ads from that time and you'll see Bugs Bunny saving the world with Michael Jordan, Charles Barkley fighting Godzilla and countless other ads of goofiness. There was even a series of commercials by Nike that featured a fictional "Fun Police" that was out to bring smiles back into a game that took itself way too seriously. Sound familiar?
Save for a pair of puppets and a kid that thinks butterflies can sing, we've really been deprived in the "fun" department from our favorite sneaker companies. Sure, Kobe Bryant's "Success for the Successful" and Kevin Durant's "#SummerIsSerious" are funny in their own way, but they're more wink and nods rather than overtly comedic. Sometimes we need those commercials that are immediately relatable and laugh out loud funny rather than trying to make people look for the joke. It's why Dr. Drain's YouTube video view count has cracked 5 million views and KD's more subliminal spots have yet to hit a million.
But it's better late than never and with folks like Jacques Slade and satirists like SN'EADS creator Tyree Dillihay, there are people out there who see the humor in the sneaker game. It might be messed up and it needs fixing, but who says we can't smile while we're trying to get lucky?