Discover more from Shoemetrics
When is 'enough' enough?
And why does P.J. Tucker look so sad?
I saw a pic earlier today of P.J. Tucker in a pair of Encore Eminem IV’s and I spent a little too long on the pictures.
Normally, I really don’t care about what anybody - let alone a celebrity - is wearing, but as I was looking at these pics I couldn’t help but wonder…’why does he look so sad?’
Earlier in the day I posted two pics…one was a pic of Check Check’s most ‘faked’ shoes of the week (which I always find interesting), and another was of a factory in China showing endless pairs of Travis Scott 1 bootlegs…
The caption was short…I was basically pointing out how I found it interesting that the TS1 High’s came out more than two years ago, yet they were number 2 on Check Checks most faked shoes of the week…24.4% of the legit check submissions were that of the TS1 High.
What makes that interesting?
From what I hear, there were roughly 20,000 pairs of these shoes created and sold through Nike and their retailers worldwide…and they released back in April of 2019. So…I was asking…if Nike produced 10x the estimate of TS1’s - would the demand still be where it’s at? Would they STILL be making batch after batch of replicas of this shoe?
Although the question surrounding the TS1 production numbers is an interesting one that generated a lot of interesting comments, it has very little to do with what I wanted to ask today. The reason I bring it up is that the conversation (in the comments of that post) went to some interesting places…60 comments before I jumped in on one. And nearly 30 comments on a subthread that a handful of my favorites were really going in on - @rotooki, @sankofafw, @sneakersjlm - and then @digglahhh jumped in and said that if he saw someone wearing a TS1 just walking down the street, no matter who it is, his default assumption is that the dude is wearing a pair of fakes. He’s said this before, but the magnitude of this comment hadn’t really hit me as hard as it did on this particular post. And I did actually laugh out loud when I read it because it really hit a very valid never-talked-about point. I responded with: “dudes buy authentics to impress other dudes who now, at this point, are assuming that they’re fakes anyway. This does bring up a really interesting question - who do you buy shoes for?” Meaning - do you buy shoes for yourself or do you buy shoes for the approval (or envy) of others? What is the purpose behind your consumption? I didn’t go much further than that, but the point I was trying to make… who cares for a shoe more? The ‘sneakerhead’ that buys a shoe but can’t show it off to anyone, or a ‘sneakerhead’ who buys a shoe ONLY to show it off to everyone?
And that *obviously* brings me back to P.J. Tucker. I once made a pretty inflammatory post about P.J. Tucker...about how I really didn’t care about what he wore and I was rebuked pretty heavily…a lot of people in the comments pointed out that P.J. Tucker is actually a shoe guy (not just a guy with a lot of money bullying his way into the hobby). It got me to reconsider my position slightly, as I got to see that he isn’t as much of a vulture as a guy with too much disposable income.
Fifty thousand dollars for a pair of shoes (that may as well not even exist)…to be worn one time in the ‘tunnel’ (the TUNNEL)…what is the goal, here? Is it to stunt as hard as possible? Is it to get the blogs and (people like me) talking? Is it to fulfill a long-lost childhood dream? Is it to pay homage to the rapper? Maybe I have no right to ask. My judgment surely makes no difference to anyone but myself. But to make a shallow assumption - it appears that he wore that pair of shoes solely to show off in the tunnel. And if that assumption is true, does it even matter?
I heard today that P.J. Tuckers collection is around 5,000 pairs - even more than Imelda Marcos - and, although that sounds impressive on the surface…thinking of owning that many pairs of shoes makes me a little anxious. He could literally wear a different pair of shoes every day for the next 13 years and never rock the same pair twice.
And…really…to a lesser extent…I’m guilty. I think I could rock a different pair every day for a year and not wear the same pair twice. And that is just absurd.
On one level, I despise what P.J. Tucker is doing. But on another…I see that I’m guilty of the same thing. And maybe neither of us are ‘guilty’ of anything of consequence, but we are definitely participating in a culture that pushes logic-less consumption. It’s easy for me to sit here and point at this dude and say ‘what the hell is wrong with him?’ yet I’m doing a slightly different version of the same thing.
When I worked on Wall Street, one of the things I hated was the dress code. I could never wear my sneakers except on ‘casual fridays’, and even then we were encouraged to wear ‘muted’ sneakers. Every once in a while, during the week, I could get away with a pair of black Prada America’s Cup or some Puma Racers or something that looked dressy, but it was mostly formal shoes. So everything I was buying was just gathering dust in my closet. So when I worked at startups a few years later, I took advantage of the situation and I felt free. And when I worked as a teacher I was actually able to build rapport with students because of what I wore. But what happens when the cameras are off and you’re stuck at home because there’s a pandemic and you can’t go out and you don’t go out and you don’t really get much time to interact with others?
Am I wearing shoes for myself? Or am I wearing them for my students? Am I wearing them for the connections I’m able to build through a common interest? Or am I wearing them ‘just because I like them’? It’s a complicated question. And I’m sure everyone has their reasons. And nobody’s reasons actually make all that much sense.
I look at the boxes and boxes and boxes full of shoes I own and it makes me feel bad. It makes me feel like a glutton. It makes me feel like I have no self-control. And how selfish I must be. I’ve been to Latin America and Southeast Asia and East Africa and everywhere I went - many people don’t even own a single pair of shoes. And it really makes me feel like an asshole. Even though the pandemic has at least got me outside in nature quite a bit more, I’ve had more time to reflect: I’ve certainly been wearing my shoes for their intended purpose - I’ve been wearing running shoes for running and acg’s for all conditions and ballin shoes for ballin and beaters for beatin’, but it’s really shown me how durable these shoes actually are. I’ve been putting a lot of them through hell - probably thousands of miles on a single pair of fivefingers - and they’re still alive and well. I could probably, pretty easily, go the rest of my life without ever purchasing another pair of shoes and my feet would be fine.
So what is it? What is the psychology behind getting just ‘one more pair?’ What is it that makes P.J. Tucker scoop up every goddam pair in the world and what is it that makes me virtually unable to pass up a deal, knowing full well that I only have two feet? When is ‘enough’ actually enough?