Who's World Is It? The Sneakerhead...It's Yours, It's Yours.
Or Trainerhead, depending on what kind of passport you are carrying
My people. I greet you o.
I just celebrated surviving another turn around the sun about a week and change ago, and the fun part of it was how much more alive and urgent I feel these days. It’s like:
“Bobo…you should stop wasting time o! Time wey you no get, you’re wasting.” Time that you don’t have, eh, Chidi?
And so I have to move. Can’t be waiting for permission or alignment or for the perfect scenario or situation. The big get. No. I need to ramp up on the curiosity and action side…I saw this great line about “Curiosity helps you get good at being lucky.” I mean, my sister. That one hit me and is still hitting me as I sit here. So you are telling me that the lessened luck that I have had this year could be because my curiosity and action level was not on par? That I got lazy?
In the mind-bending book, “Designing Your Life”, the authors say when you design your life well, it will seem everyone is conspiring to help you.” This means the flip is if it seems no one wants to help you or folks are not answering your calls or not quite rolling with you the way you want, then your life is badly designed.
Kai. Times two.
So I am doing a good amount of designing o. As in, stuff will change. Has to. Can’t sit on my laurels, or wait for things or people to come to me. Talk stuff into oblivion, no action. We tried that, and honestly, it has been less than impressive. I can do much much better.
Now, one place I have completely redesigned is my footwear. As they like to say these days, I am a sneakerhead. A kicks man. As a GenXer, this is and has always been our thing. From get-go. Being a sneakerhead is a badge I wear proudly, not some trendy thing that everyone is jumping on because TikTok says so. Been wearing sneaks since my late teens in NYC, and I wear them well. Shoot, they wear me well.
As in, I look good in my sneaks. Some thoughts:
Sneakers make sense for me as they serve both a functional and emotional role for me (I can see my MBAs and product people rolling their eyes. It’s ok, I love you too). Functionally, they take the pressure off my janky knees and ankles that have twisted and sprained more than I can count from a prior life of soccer and basketball. From a social and personal standpoint, they have become part of my brand. Just like my glasses. My outfits have to fit my sneaks, not the other way around. I look good in them. They…complete…me.
Ha-ha. The audacity, Chidi.
Please leave me to audacitate, abeg.
I don’t think I’ve worn koi-koi shoes to any event in the last seven or eight years. Koi-koi? As in shoes that make that “koi-koi” noise when you walk. Yes, shoes with heels. I am talking weddings, conferences, big Oga meetings, church. Even when I wear hardcore trado (African traditional wear), no koi-koi. I roll with my Nike Dunks or Adidas Superstars, and honestly, I have seen a Minister or CEO or two in their koi-kois eyeballing my kicks. With approval.
Like that one time, I interviewed Honorable Joseph Cudjoe, Ghana’s Minister of Public Enterprises during a a session in Accra, rocking my custom Black Stars Air Force Ones. Chale, he approved o.
One thing that I love about being a sneakerhead is seeing women join in the movement with full force. It is a beautiful thing, to see all varieties of gear-ups that ladies are rocking with cool sneakers footnoting them. Women make sneakers look good on another level. Fellas, buy your women some mid or high top Jordans…your life will change. Authentic o. Not those China or Aba made fakes. Don’t thank me…I do take Visa or Mastercard.
It is no coincidence that you’ll see many parents outdoing their kids when it comes to kicks. More than likely the parent was part of the hip-hop generation, that grew up musically in the 80s and 90s, when there was an authenticity and freshness to the culture. It’s funny folks act like Jordans, Puma Classics, or Stan Smiths are a recent thing, these are sneaker brands that actually originated in the 70s and 80s. Air Force 1s, the ubiquitous shoe in every sneakerhead’s arsenal, were created in 1982. So, there’s some serious cultural and historical context here too.
I don’t know, this might be a hallucinatory thing on my part, but I feel like my credibility with young people when I teach or workshop has a lot to do with my kicks. There’s a comfort level there—Chidi’s already accessible and approachable, but he also rocks some hardcore kicks? Ah, he must know what he’s talking about. Please, I’ll take it where I can get it o with the youngins. You can stay there with your koi-koi shoes, that's why these youngbloods are side-eying you with extreme prejudice.
Also, my cousin is a podiatrist. After the horror stories she has told me about all the jacked-up lower appendages she has to deal with…Pumas over red soled koi-kois it is.
What about the new joints like On, Hoka, Brooks, Allbirds, and the like? Well, those shoes seem to be more functional, for runners. Me…I don’t run o. Where am I running to? And there’s just something…not as cool about their looks. I’m just saying. Not hating on them, just not my vibe. I have a pair of Ons that are badass. And I have always loved Asics and New Balance, they are not newbies, they’ve been around and got some good stuff. But there’s a way these new shoes have these bulky bottoms that make you look like you are about to do a spacewalk on Mars. I have my pride, abeg.
Alright. That’s me for today. Until next.