Sneaker-head culture emerges at Northwest

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A student shows off his nice kicks. Sneakerhead culture is a prominent part of Northwest.

Shoe culture, also known as sneakerhead culture, is a prominent feature at Northwest. Many students walk around with bright and colorful sneakers, proudly displaying each shoe’s individual ‘personality’. But what is sneaker culture? Where did it originate from, and why is it so important to the youth of today?

“(Students participate in shoe culture) to be involved in the community or with other people in the community,” freshman William Aydogdu said.

Sneakerhead culture has been around since the 1980s, which was when it first started as a part of the blossoming hip-hop/b-boy culture of New York City. The sneaker craze started to gain more traction in 1985 when the first Air Jordans were released. There was such a severe demand for them, that stores couldn’t keep up. They became a symbol of status, and there were actually shootings over sneakers during the 1990s. The popularity of Jordans created a backlash among the small community of previously existing sneakerheads, and they soon started going great lengths to acquire unique kicks to stand out. 

“I wear Adidas the most, but I like Nike shoes,” freshman Trey Tuggle said. “I bought Uggs and everything, a lot of people are wearing those now.”

In 1983, the internet took off and has since made it easier for sneakerheads to share their culture, connect with other enthusiasts, and buy or trade shoes. Sneakers and pop culture have been intertwined ever since. 

“(I buy) whichever ones I like and think would be the most comfortable, and then whichever shoes that would match with outfits I have,” Tuggle said.

At Northwest, shoe culture is more about self-expression and community than status. People often connect through sneakerhead culture, and friends often discuss the latest shoe style trends. Northwest students aren’t obsessed, but they do care about fashion, whether it be about expression or following the latest look.

“I would say it’s more of a way to bring people together,” junior Marquis Reed said.