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What Sneaker Brands May Need Now: The Element Of Surprise

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NPD’s Matt Powell said something very interesting in one of his tweets that send me thinking, it read like this,
Today, sneaker marketers leak pictures of new shoes to bloggers months before the shoes hit retail. I had one Twitter follower tell me, “I’m angry about this shoe. I really want it, but I know I’ll see pictures of it for six months and then I won’t be able to get a pair anyway”
And I️ responded with,
what are you trying to prove? It has been going on for years , so you aren’t saying anything new.
And He responded with,
No. It is much worse now and in a time where surprise would actually help. I see surprise as a winning tactic. Don’t buy the other guy’s shoes cause you don’t know what’s coming
 Then it dawned on me and I realized that he was absolutely  right. We’ve grown so accustomed to seeing pictures of sneakers so early. Two days ago, we were made aware of the return of the Air Jordan 11 concord for the month of November of 2018, and we are a year and half away from the date. So people just don’t care anymore. Blogs  and sneaker sites have taken the excitement of yearning for sneakers  away. And the consequences are catastrophic . Brands are struggling to move their products, sneakers are being introduced at an exponential speed. The consumer is confused and no longer cares about what comes before his/her eyes. So brands are coerced into creating gimmicks around their shoes just to create a thirst for them . Maybe Matt Powell solution is what every brand needs now- the element of surprise, keep the consumer guessing and consequently recapture the passion he/she once had for sneakers.
At least this was my point of view until I called my business partner Chris from ARCH who as usual chuckled and actually gave me a lecture on the topic. He added one more thing that Matt Powell had also mentioned which is scarcity. Let me actually show you the tweet,
We also must return to scarcity as a fundamental principle. Great brands were built in the sports industry by never having enough stock to meet demand. Now, those products are seen in abundance and the cachet is clearly gone.
Matt Powell
Chris Burns’s response to the topic was legendary and he made perfect sense, let me share some of his answers with you and I’ll also invite you to read his entire article.

So why is it that scarcity and surprise is what is needed to fix the sneaker industry?

The idea that sneaker blogs are part of the problem of the fall of the sneaker industry is absurd. It overlooks the fact that we are in a 24 hour news cycle and that isn’t just for politics and business coverage. Media is now a business and Facebook and Social Media platforms have psychological rewards for the constant sharing of information. If sneaker blogs no longer existed tomorrow, sneaker information would be shared on social platforms by the people. Information is accessible and this is not going to change. The idea that surprise would benefit the retail market is kind of true, but does seeing a shoe 100 times from conception to release date decrease the interest in the product? Maybe, but there are countless examples of items/entertainment options that have been leaked that went on to great success. The Jordan 11 Space Jam sold 1 million plus pairs and they were everywhere for months! There are also countless examples of products that were leaked that flopped. There has to be a balance. Too much information has created a shorter attention span. There has to be a constant stream of information made available to satiate and people are never really satisfied so I get what is being said by Powell. The problem isn’t with too much information however. The problem is with the delivery of the information. Sneaker blogs are surface. They really don’t go into great detail on popular sites. People have to search for deeper analysis of sneaker culture. The problem is people don’t browse anymore, so sneaker coverage is relegated to hype and the more popular websites. A shoe can be shown from day one of conception if the creation process is analyzed and detailed.

In other words the brand has the ability to control the narrative, but many brands have passed off educating and delivering information to sneaker blogs and that is the issue. It’s not the picture of the shoe on some sneaker blog six months ahead of schedule; it’s the way the shoe is presented with ZERO storytelling by the brand and by the website. Sneaker companies have dropped the ball and at least Nike realizes it. One look at the website shows that they realize their mistakes.

Chris Burns

So in conclusion I believe the element of surprise will certainly help, at least as it pertains to me because I’ve lost my interest in sneakers. But Chris is absolutely right in the sense that the lack of depth coming from several sneaker sites ( lack of story telling, superficial information about sneakers) has been detrimental to the sneaker community). Chris also talked about scarcity , check the article below, it was very informative.

Scarcity and Surprise Won’t Fix The Sneaker Industry

tayib salami

My Name is Tayib Salami and I'm the founder of Housakicks. The platform is part of a Network made up of 2 websites ( and operated by Tayib Salami who creates content that delivers Eternal Value to the sneaker community and mankind in general . I have spent a lot of time writing projections on sneakers as far as the retail market is concerned. I also educate my audience on ways to identify fake/ replica sneakers. Thenetwork covers a variety of sneaker related topics
tayib salami