Much Ado about Retros



Depending on whom you ask, retro sneakers are either Heaven sent or straight from Hell. For collectors, retro sneakers depreciate the value of original models and rare limited edition releases. Sneaker purists who celebrate the elements of original designs become enraged when retros are released with modified features. Similar to the automotive industry, sneaker culture has a community of enthusiasts who purchase sneakers because of nostalgia. For them, retros provide a connection to memories imbued with childhood folly and marketing schemes.

Sneaker companies however, recognize the earning potential in discontinued models. Newer generations of consumers that have not been exposed to the retro models essentially fall in love for the first time. Sneaker companies then receive new money for old products. At this juncture, companies are presented with a unique opportunity to capitalize on marketing and design mistakes made the first time a sneaker was released.

There is a positive side to this type of marketing. Improved technological designs allow current athletes to wear older sneakers while in competition. Companies then release team color editions of the updated models for consumers, along with versions that are exclusive to professional athletes. Many consumers purchase goods based solely on celebrity connections. Sneakerheads are definitely no different. Why else would companies compete over top athletes?

Much of the controversy surrounding retro sneakers stems from a creativity and design standpoint. So much revenue is being generated from retro releases that the muse that gives birth to new design is not being stimulated. All of this raises a new question: What will be the must have retro sneaker of tomorrow?