Let’s say you want to get a little more respect at school, get your Instagram likes up, and eventually want to have some sneaker company give you a lifetime supply of kicks—but you’re not the son of a very significant music producer from the 1960s or related to a Kardashian. Basically, you want to be sneaker famous. But it’s also likely you don’t have a ton of money to blow on this new endeavor. If you did, you wouldn’t need advice. Just blow through a bunch of pairs of Jordans and Yeezys and stunt on the world. Fame is easy in the sneaker world if you have money. So let’s say you’re on a budget. And let’s say it’s $400. That’s not an insignificant amount of money, but if this is something you’re serious about, it’s time to put up the Benjis to prove it.
If you’re trying to get famous off of your sneakers, you probably don’t care about integrity either. You want to exploit trends for your own social, and, possibly, monetary gains. You probably don’t even like sneakers except for the ones you hear about on your Facebook and you want a piece of that action. If so, this is for you.
You would think that the first piece of advice would to be to cop sneakers like Yeezys or some Bred Jordan 1s, but you’d be wrong. I see you, Yung Hypebeast. Don’t be blinded by the hype. Hype will break necks on the street, but it’s not efficient in terms of dollars-to-results. If you want to get noticed you’ve got to come in from the side, stretch every cent, and conform to expectations. This is not about being successful at life, this is about being successful on the sneaker Internet. Don’t get them confused. They’re very different.
If you’re starting from scratch and it’s your goal to become a “sneakerhead” with just a few hundred dollars, start with the affordable classics. Your new shopping list is: a pair of Nike Air Force 1 Highs in white ($100), Nike Air Tech Challenge IIs in “Lava” ($108), a pair of adidas Superstars ($80), and some Vans Sk8 His ($60). These are amazingly diverse sneakers that will fit with whatever clothing style you already rock, and already carry respect. Also, you don’t have to waste your precious time learning about their history because no one’s going to ask you about them.
Jordans bring with them all their historical baggage, and collaborative runners demand some working knowledge of each brand. But not this list. These classics have broad enough appeal that you’ll simply get respect without actually needing to take anything seriously. Now, you won’t survive conversations with a passionate sneakerhead beyond “Yo those are dope,” if you don’t know your history. If you don’t want to be caught ignorant, keep everything online. If you copped those four pairs (and there was no tax and shipping was free), you’ve got $152 in your budget left over and we’re going to use that on the Internet. Because it’s 2016, and Internet fame is the only fame that matters.
Go to your Instagram. If you’re reading this post and actually taking notes I can tell you right now that your Instagram is straight garbage. Delete all of it. Yes, delete the picture of you with your ex-girlfriend from last summer. Delete the picture of you in the Barneys dressing room wearing that dope leather jacket you couldn’t afford. Delete the picture of your Thanksgiving plate that looks like Jon Voight at the end of Anaconda. Delete it all. And then begin again. This time you’re going to take dope photos.
The first two steps to owning Instagram are interrelated. You have 1.) take dope photos that are 2.) reposted by aggregate accounts. So, don’t do one without the other. Check out aggregate accounts like @minimalmovement, @outfitfromabove, or some other one—there are honestly eight new ones a day. The people behind these check their own made up hashtags and the rest of them (like #wdywt, #soletoday, #womft, #complexkicks) to repost to their followers. Check to see what they tend to repost and then take photos like that. Get a friend with a digital camera if you can, but an iPhone could work. Get on YouTube and learn how to use Photoshop (or Lightroom if you’re lazy and don’t care about details), and download them. Your first month with those programs is free, so that’s very within our budget.
You’re going to want to post around noon or 10 p.m. when people are zoning out and looking at their phones. Tag all those aggregate accounts, include as many hashtags as you aren’t embarrassed to include, and wait. If your posts don’t get picked up by the accounts, don’t worry. Delete them and post them again the next day. Maybe they didn’t see it. Or maybe it sucks and you suck and they’re never going to post it and they hate you, but other people look at those tags too and you might get some extra attention. You should go through the tags yourself, like everything you can, and comment on people who have more followers than you do. If they like your stuff back, it will show up as a suggested post to all their followers. Know the system, and use it to your advantage. (Don't forget to post the image on Twitter with a link to the Instagram post and tag everyone you've ever heard of. But you'll probably be ignored. Twitter is harder than Instagram.)
You don’t want to look like a complete n00b, so you’re going to have to buy a couple followers. You can get 2,500 followers for $20, or 5k for $30! Somewhere in there is enough that people won’t write you off. The problem with buying followers is you’ve got to maintain a certain level of likes per post. If you have 5k followers but are getting five likes per post, it’s going to be obvious you’re the huge faker that you are. So, you’ve got to buy some likes as well. You want to get your like rate to be between 4% and 10%. So, say you have 5k followers, if you’re getting less than 200 likes per post, you’re going to seem fake. $7 will get you 200 likes each on five posts. $37 on five posts: you’re making progress. With that you’ll have another $15 in your pocket to get 200 likes on ten more posts. Take the remaining dollar to McDonald’s and get an Apple Pie. You earned it.
Sneakerheads who have been around are going to say, “This list of sneakers is horrible. Buying likes and followers is awful, don’t condone that.” They’re right. But most people are wrong most of the time, and if you want to be wrong too: now you know how.