If you’ve been involved in the sneaker game these last few years, you’ve heard the term before. An “influencer”. Someone who influences a sneakerhead’s taste and buying preferences.
The sneaker “influencer” has been around in some way, shape, or form ever since Chuck Taylor was pushing Converse shoes back in 1917, but it seems to have gained even more steam recently. With people from all walks of life ranging from the gawd Kanye West all the way to YouTubers like Mr. Foamer Simpson being considered “influencers”, the word seems to have grown a new meaning over the last decade or so.
So we’re going to discuss it. We’re going to talk about what makes someone a sneaker influencer, and if the term is overused. Here’s what I think.
Dictionary.com’s definition of an influencer is as follows:
By this logic, someone like Kanye West is an influencer. People model their sneaker choices (hell, sometimes their whole wardrobe) after him, and his word is revered in the sneaker community. People who’ve never rocked Adidas in their life were thirsting after everything from Y-3 Qasas to the Yeezy 750 Boost after they were given Kanye’s stamp of approval. If that’s not an influencer, I don’t know what is.
However, by this logic, various sneaker YouTubers and sneaker Instagram personalities should not be labeled influencers. Sure, maybe they showed you a dope pair of kicks and you liked it. Sure, maybe you were on the fence about grabbing a certain shoe and when you saw a review of it, you made up your mind and copped.
However, this is not the same. I don’t think people are buying shoes simply because these people tell them they’re fresh or fit well. Although you might value what they have to say, they don’t influence your buying habits.
So let’s put down the term “influencer”, and only use it where it really applies. And always remember, buy what you like. Don’t be swayed too much by other’s opinions.
DISCLAIMER: There is no disrespect intended to any smaller sneaker personalities. This is simply a discussion on the word “influencer” and how it should be used in the sneaker culture.