Wear or Beware

Do you rock your kicks or keep ‘em box-fresh forever? Truly, this is the sneakerhead’s dilemma. There are really three issues here – do you:
1) Buy ‘em and wear ‘em?
2) Buy ‘em and put ‘em on ice for months/years/who-knows-when?
3) Buy doubles – one to rock and the one to put on ice?

There are cats that stand firm on their side of the line drawn in the sand, each convinced the other is dead-wrong – and they’re right – it just depends on what you value in a shoe. Of course, if you’re in category three (buy doubles), then you likely got enough money for this whole thing not to be an issue. Or you’re spending rent on Jordan XI triple-doubles (in which case, your dedication is both humbling and bizarre). Let’s break it down….

Buy ‘em, Wear ‘em – Pro’s

First, it’s obvious, but most people wear things they buy to wear. And some shoes look better the more you wear ‘em. Chuck Taylors make sense scuffed and worn. Same goes for Dunks, but not for AF1s, strangely enough. Dunks, due to a slightly simpler design and eye-catching two-tone colorways, can handle more day-to-day wear-and-tear with less proportionate value-reduction.

As we all know, the right kicks on your feet can make your corresponding outfit bulletproof. A nice pair of Js on just makes you feel better, no doubt. And dope kicks can also salvage otherwise dicey gear selection. But you can’t get that if you don’t rock the kicks you bought. And you can’t floss shoes if they in the box (showing pictures of your shoes online is not flossing – it’s mouthwash). Whoever snapped a digital neck?

Buy ‘em, Wear ‘em – Con’s

Some kicks look best box-fresh. As soon as you start rockin’ ‘em, it’s all downhill. And I can feel this – a joint creased where you flex to walk can never be uncreased. Leather whut’s scuffed can’t be unscuffed. Even if you’re pulling the sneakerhead “walk-don’t-run, no-foot-flexin’” hypochondriac kind of sneaker-wearing, there will be physical evidence left on the shoe, no matter how minute. And it all adds up.

Some truly appreciate kicks as a design object, art that transcends functionality. In that case, a sneaker is a sculpture to placed on a pedestal and admired from afar. Wearing them ain’t an option.

So where do I stand? I got a foot in both camps. I buy kicks to rock, straight up – ‘cept it’s not really that straightforward. After all, I don’t wear a shoe constantly til it’s crying for mercy – they just enter the rotation. And if you’ve accumulated enough kicks, you can buy a pair of shoes now and keep ‘em on ice for three years, THEN pull ‘em out. I wear whut I buy, it’s just a question of “when”. The reason is simple: I prefer to wear shit when other cats ain’t. When a sneaker release is (justifiably) popular, I can afford to have the patience to wait til cats have rocked ‘em to death and buried ‘em, or peeps have just forgot about ‘em.

But not everyone likes to wait, nor can everyone in the game afford doubles. I got a few DS doubles: LBJ IIs, LBJ IIIs, air max ’95s and J IIs. But even keeping box-fresh doubles presents a dilemma: when, if ever, do you wear them?

If I die before rocking any of my box-fresh joints, ain’t that a burn on me? There comes a point where you must decide whether it’s important to have a beyond-crisp, never-worn joint THAT YOU’LL NEVER WEAR, or whether the whole point in having a shoe is wearing it. Even the dopest of shoes is still half-empty without a foot in ‘em.

I say, Rock ‘em if you got ‘em. But I’m sure there are some box-fresh hoarders out there with compelling motivation. Break it down for all of us here – you might just change somebody’s mind….

Rick Kang

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