Words // Brett Golliff
Brett Golliff is an independent sneaker writer and this piece is his personal opinion on sneaker culture.
I absolutely hate the way current media talks about footwear.
Simply put, I think sneaker blogging has been bad for all people involved—the brands, consumers, writers that are producing it, and the culture overall. I have been blogging for five years now on various sites, as well as for my own site. Telling the story behind product and how it came into existence is what inspires me. I love breaking down and sharing what makes a product really function.
You see, I’m a former footwear designer, and currently an automotive designer by day. I spend my spare time creating original content that thoroughly investigates why sneakers are good for the athlete, how it helps them excel at their sport, and most importantly—how those features relate to the consumer.
But I can’t justify doing it anymore.
Simply put, I don’t know if it matters to readers today. I don’t feel that sneaker writers care about content that actually speaks to the stories and technologies the brands are creating in an original way.
Maybe it’s because I’m a designer that I feel the need to create original content for everything I do. I can’t just copy and paste a press release from the brand and put it on my site. Why would I do that? Why would anyone do that? Why would the reader want that? That doesn’t do anything for anyone other than to give you information that is obvious. “This product releases on such and such a date for this price.” WOW! Release information is important, but when sites that pull in huge audiences without working for that audience don’t put an original spin on the product, it’s disgusting and disheartening to me. It has no voice or opinion as to why it belongs on that site. It makes every one of these damn sites the exact same and because of that, it makes every new site and aspiring writer think it’s ok to just regurgitate what’s already been said.
Go look at other industries and how they breakdown products and you will see how competing media spin their own stories on a new product to speak to their specific audience. But for whatever reason, footwear readers don’t demand that, so the information we all get is exactly the same from site to site.
Take yourself out of being a part of sneaker culture for one moment and realize that this is a business first and foremost. Nike, Under Armour, Adidas, they’re all here to sell sneakers and how do they do that? They cater product to you the consumer. If you don’t ask for anything new, don't be upset when you get the same thing every season. Because in their eyes, they’re creating to the trends you are setting. And don’t think your voice doesn’t matter because it does.
Brands have a responsibility as well. Information about new technologies are not getting the love they deserve because it’s catered to the wrong audience. Right now, products are placed into the hands of the people that have the most followers and the channels with the most viewers. I get it, more eyes = more awareness.
But, just because they have amassed a huge following doesn’t make them an expert. The message is being lost. As much as you want curated stories about your product, so does your consumer. Just pick the right curators.
Otherwise your consumer will never leave this instant gratification purchasing motto they are currently in. They may grow each brand’s followers and sales, but in the end they just equal another product. Another product that doesn’t take the industry anywhere new and just crowds the market and over saturates the mind.
Nothing is special or unique anymore because in a week, it is irrelevant to the next release. As a designer that is the most disheartening thing. If you don’t grow then what is the purpose? I receive a lot of emails asking me to review young designers new designs and you know what more than half of them are? New takes on the Air Mag. The Air Mag was awesome in 1989 when it premiered in Back to The Future II. It was a vision for 2015 that was likely created in roughly 1987 when generating the art direction for the movie. But it is almost 2015 now, so what is coming 26 years from now? Nothing if we don’t start expecting more and asking for more.