Here’s Why Sneaker Leaks Are Not Helpful, Just Annoying - Cape Kickz
It seems that leaks are everywhere these days.
Political scandals are defined by them. Leaks to the media fueled Watergate and led to the downfall of Richard Nixon. Today, the divisive Wikileaks has brought new meaning to the term while inside details of Donald Trump’s administration leak to the public.
The entertainment and technology industries have been similarly affected. Studio executives try their hardest to prevent new movies or TV episodes from reaching people before their proper release only to—in the recent case of Game of Thrones—have half the season leak ahead of time. Tech giants like Apple are always on the lookout as well, especially before a new iPhone is set to release, even while employees often let out confidential details or prototypes.
But in the past few years, sneaker culture has experienced its own rising tide of leaks. Consumers are seeing entire product lines long before they hit shelves and for brand executives as well as the larger sneaker community, that is a major problem.
Sneaker brands are notoriously obsessive about the details and scheduling of product rollout. Factory lead times necessitate long-term planning, but in an age where a smartphone photo taken in the warehouse, stockroom or factory can wind up on social media, it’s harder than ever for brands to keep control and crack down on the spread of misinformation.
This is especially troublesome in the case of high profile collaborations. Consider Virgil Abloh’s recent partnership with Nike or Kanye West’s ongoing work with adidas. Whether on the feet of someone in their inner circle or an Instagram account hidden behind a veil of anonymity, we routinely see products nearly a year before they hit shelves. The first inkling we had of a collaboration between Abloh and Nike came all the way back in November 2016, with a colorway that didn’t even end up in the final collection, but still set the stage for the inevitable project.
You may not have remembered those original samples, but you definitely remember how the hype built for the release over the span of many months, with more and more photos hitting social media. The same goes for any number of Yeezy colorways that never come out or how the first images of the ACRONYM x Nike Air Force One pack hit the internet and set off a divisive conversation nearly a year before they actually hit shelves. These days, hype is currency and key build anticipation. But it can also drag out a moment—leading to a payoff that doesn’t quite match the excitement.
Not only is it hard to keep release date information under wraps, but popular figures on Instagram have also ridden their connections and leaks to a high profile, acting as reliable sources to the larger sneaker community—whether or not their information is even accurate. Accounts like Sneaker Prophet, Gucci Paul and Yeezy Mafia have amassed followings for their knowledge of release dates and colorways. Yeezy Mafia in particular has become so successful that the account has produced its own line of merch designed in the vein of the Yeezys that has helped make its name and has been sourced by reputable industry outlets like Footwear News.