January 2020

Pop Culture and the Sneaker Industry

sneakers and pop culture

The ideas, attitudes, beliefs or norms that create a culture are an aspect of convention practised by the majority. It appears our world – a large borderless global village – has made certain cultural things extremely common. As this global culture continued to grow, we needed to qualify it with an adjective that in itself elicits the same meaning. That word is popular.

What’s popular will change from decade to decade, or even by year or month. In the beauty industry, for example, having big but natural breast implants were the biggest trend of the ’90s, whereas dermal fillers are the most popular treatment in the ’00s. 

Popular cultural practices are adopted by the “masses”, or the general public, to depict an idea or behaviour that is widely accepted and esteemed. Adherence to pop culture becomes a kind of obsession, pushing people to be part of the practice by all means.

The sneaker industry is one of the industries that have maintained a strong impact on pop culture for generations. If you go to any home in America, you are likely to find several pairs of sneakers owned by both younger and older folks. The story is similar in Asia, Europe and Africa. 

So what has created this sneaker craze?

A history that links sneakers to celebrities

 It is evident that the young beat the older when it comes to owning and wearing these kicks. Obviously, younger folks are more characterized by identity formation processes (during which models and sportsmen and women are of great interest to them). This makes the celebrity an object of admiration and style inspiration for whole generations at a time. 

As with many other pop cultures, the origins of the sneaker culture are traced back to America in the late 1970s, when the hip hop and the b-boy movements used them to create their identity. The sneaker pop culture, however, became mainstream in 1985, when Nike created the famous Air Jordans for the celebrated basketball champion Michael Jordan. Since then, the culture has spread to every corner of the globe. The most extreme fans are called ‘sneakerheads’; those who are overly passionate about sneakers and will do anything to make an extensive collection of the shoes with every new brand. 

Today, being a ‘sneakerhead’ or a celeb associated with a sneaker brand are key features of pop culture. Exclusive terms are also used to express common meanings of pop culture, as in the case of ‘deadstock’- implying a new shoe that has never been worn, or ‘hype’ to imply sneakers that create a lot of noise and attention prior to the release date. 

The noise by the sneaker culture has obvious effects on the sneaker industry.

Repercussions on the sneaker industry

Media has depicted images of youngsters queuing for long hours to purchase a pair of sneakers that have just been released into the market. Buying raffle tickets to win exclusive brands is also making good business. The manufacturer has no option but to consistently please the customer’s crave. In fact, news by Reportlinker.com at the beginning of June 2019, indicates that the global sneaker industry, which stood at $ 58billion in 2018, will grow by 7% between 2019 and 2024.

What’s trending?

The sneaker culture is thriving. You just need to look around to notice the current trends. The chunky-sole brands are one of the main trends today, with specific brands such as Dad sneaker, Adidas Yeezy 500 (and 700), and the Balenciaga Triple S hitting the streets and sports fields with a boom.

How to Design eye-catching Sportswear

basketball on floor

In the design industry, what people buy is determined by what is pleasing to the eyes. People like going for products that have high aesthetic value. 

A product may be of top-class quality in terms of the materials used in the production. But if the end-product does not look attractive customers are less likely to buy it. 

The same applies when dealing with sportswear for you to make sales your designs must be eye-catching. When designing sportswear, there are several factors that you must put into consideration. Failure to do so may end up with designs that have no potential of attracting buyers. This article highlights a few techniques on how to design eye-catching sportswear.

Always use Brand Logos


womens basketball

If you are keen, you might have noticed that all significant sportswear companies have brand logos with which they can be identified. In most cases, the logo is what sells, and this is only possible after you have created your brand. Ones the brand has been marketed you can come up with your custom-designed logo that defines the brand you are selling. The logo can then be imprinted on the sportswear to make it more attractive and marketable.

Alternatively, if you are creating your own branded logo but have little to no experience in logo design, find a professional who can do it for you.

Play with Colors

Attractive sportswear should have the right blend of colours. This requires that you have some basic knowledge about the colours that are commonly associated with individual sports. The best way to do this is by carrying out extensive research on current colour trends. Some sportswear such as football jerseys may have specific colours depending on the team. Care should also be taken when applying colours as too much of it may bring out unpleasant results.

Be Artistic

Art is very flexible and can easily be incorporated into so many things, including the designs used in sportswear. If applied the right way, artistic designs can give sportswear a decorative touch that can help in baiting potential buyers. The most commonly used art technique is the application of calligraphy when printing various contents. This makes the material to appear less dull and is more likely to get the attention of people. It is important to note that when using calligraphy, the design should not be too complicated for buyers to read.

Know the Sport

This is probably the first thing that should be considered before designing any sportswear. There is an excellent diversity in the field of sports, and each sportswear has its unique design. To know which design to use, you must be familiar with the sport. For example, baseball jerseys may not have the same design as football jerseys. This means that the design must be particular to the type of sport it is related to.

Use Visual Images

Research has shown that people respond more to visual images than words. A good number of sportswear companies are putting this technique into good use by using images that appeal to people’s emotions. The images can be of the equipment that is associated with the sport. This will give the person buying the sportswear an assurance that they are purchasing the right sports gear.

Focus on Texture

The texture of the sportswear also plays a significant role in determining its likelihood to attract people. Several sportswear manufacturers use a mesh texture which makes their products comfortable and breathable. This may include using polyester and nylon fibres that are stretchable. The texture will make the buyer have the feeling that the sportswear they are buying will keep them physically active for longer durations.