Sneaker collecting is a world of opinions. Is the redesigned “Dunk Pro” an improvement on quality? Has the skate world as a whole benefited from Nike’s move into the industry? Rock them or stock them? What is a hypebeast?
The one constant that comes to mind is things change. Anybody who has been around long enough should be able to agree on that. It is an ever-evolving world we live in and the sneaker collecting community is no exception. But have things changed for the better?
In 2002 Nike SB released fifteen pairs of dunks and three pairs of URLs, eighteen pairs in total. I, along with many of my fellow contemporaries, consider these shoes to be the epitome of quality and the beginning of the golden age for sneaker collecting.
A local shops inventory of Nike SB footwear
In 2012, a decade later, Nike SB released over 200 pairs of shoes. A single month’s releases consisted of more pairs than the entire orange box collection. Why? Because Nike does not see a single cent from reselling. Amplifying production, reducing production costs, and flooding the market with continuous releases has effectively marginalized third party resellers and turned Nike into resellers themselves.
The repercussions of these moves hit close to home for anybody that was around in the pre-Nike days. Many core skate shops have had to shut their doors due to mounting bills owed to Nike and a stock of shoes that sat on sales racks for months on end. Other companies, like Huf, took the “fuck it, we’ll do it ourselves” approach. Whether any of this was intentional or not is a matter of debate, but what cannot be disputed is that an industry pioneered by individualism now rests in the hands of a few multi-million dollar corporations.
Perhaps the most jarring aspect of this change is that it has been reflected within the sneaker community itself. No longer is demand driven by individual taste, but by collective input. Posting pictures for the approval of all the followers has become one of the most prominent aspects of sneaker collecting. Being a follower used to be an insult, but now followers are accumulated with more appreciation than the actual shoes.
The community we have here at NSB is no anomaly to the laws of change. The future of NSB, or rather Stashed Boxes, will continue to evolve, not only for the longevity of the site but for the quality of experience each member has. Sneaker collecting is at the core of many of our hearts. It is a passion that remains foreign to most but binds us few. It is that same passion that makes our community greater than the sum of its parts. As T.S. Eliot once wrote,
Sneakers have not changed, the people have.